“If it weren’t for fear, I wouldn’t have to teach you a damn thing” – Keith Johnstone (2007)

I teach improvisation skills (improv) to individuals, teams and organisations. I also teach improv as a performing art to actors, comedians, writers and individuals in a 4 Level structured program. From an academic perspective, I like to think that Improv is my Pedagogy.

To some people, the act of improvising is; speaking off the cuff; making decisions under pressure; building effective teams in poor performing areas; speaking to influence. These areas are where a person can feel very much out of their comfort zone or even associate with fear and anxiety. My passion as a trainer is guiding students through the process for them to first overcome their fear and go on to potentially master the area he/she wishes to develop further. People choose to undertake this type of training for different reasons. E.G. To increase confidence; to be able to present with impact; to improve creativity.

My format for my training and courses undertakes a non-traditional classroom based approach. Classes are practical and applied, with people learning by doing where people are taught through individual and group based exercises.

As with Kolbe’s Learning cycle (2014), it is recognised that we all learn in different ways. With this training, people have opportunities to learn by doing, observing, reflecting and thinking throughout the classes. Formative and peer feedback is used throughout every class.

As a trainer in this area, it’s very important that empathy and a positive, supportive environment is created in order to have a fertile ground for the learning and development to take place. Understanding of emotional intelligence aids the learning process (Goleman 1996).

The effects on students can be profound and the immediate reactions gathered from the students after completion of a course always amazes me. Some have even gone as far as saying that it has changed their life. As a trainer, this is the best evaluation possible.

References

Goleman, D. (1996) Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ, Bloomsbury Publishing: London.

Johnstone, K. (2007) Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre, A&C Black.

Kolb, D.A. (2014) Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development, 2nd ed. FT Press.