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Saturday, May 13 • 11:30am - 1:00pm
Improvisation Studies in Pedagogy

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Moderated by Drew Chappell, Ph.D.:

  • “Exploring the Impact of Creative, Improvisational Teaching Strategies on University Teachers’ Sense of Self-Efficacy.” Assistant Professor and Director of Drama for Schools, The University of Texas at Austin.

    • Abstract: Research into post-secondary teaching and learning contexts suggest a strong correlation between classroom climate and the quality of students’ learning. Key factors that can positively impact classroom climate include a student’s sense of belonging (Andermann, 2003); their personal connections to the course content and materials (Buksist and Saville, 2001); as well as, the relationship between students and between student and teacher (Crosnoe et al, 2004). According to a recent report from the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities (2011), arts integration, and specifically drama/theatre, has been shown to be a powerful way for teachers to improve the learning culture in classrooms across all areas of the K-12th grade curriculum. What happens, then, when creative, improvisational teaching approaches are applied to post-secondary learning environments? During the fall of 2016, six faculty members—from American Studies, Visual Art/Design, Classics, Education, and Theatre—participated in eight hours of professional learning, and facilitated at least two new lessons that incorporated elements of improvisation into their instructional practice.  Researchers documented the faculty members’ experience in the study, through individual and group interviews and a pre/post assessment on teacher self-efficacy. Research states that when teachers have confidence in their ability to improve student learning, they are in fact better at doing so (Tschannen-Moran & Johnson, 2011). This paper describes the impact of the creative, improvisational teaching strategies on a university teacher’s reported sense of self-efficacy. Discussion will also consider how creative, improvisational teaching approaches impacted the teachers’ perception of their “ideal” university classroom culture in a variety of ways.


  • “Perro de la Calle: Youth Agency in Improvisation.” Moriah Flagler, MFA Candidate, Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities, The University of Texas at Austin.

    • Abstract: Teacher-coaches for youth improvisation ensembles have a distinct opportunity to create a unique space for young people to exercise their leadership, collaboration, and peer coaching skills. By crafting a process in which youth become the experts, we recognize them as the artists, citizens, and community assets that they are. In this case study, I reflect on my experience forming an improvisational theatre troupe with adolescents in rural Costa Rica. I examine how my pedagogical choices and positionality led to heightened youth agency throughout the rehearsal and performance process, resulting in sustained youth leadership where project attrition is a prevalent issue.


  • “Theatre Improvisation, Citizenship Education, and Democracy.”Professor and Socio-Pedagogical Coordinator at São Paulo Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology.

    • Abstract: The presentation explores how theatrical improvisation can be a tool in citizenship and political education based on improv principles of collective creation and cooperation. We are going to present the relations between democracy principles and improvisation principles, showing how some improvisation exercises can be used for this purpose and, also, we are going to report how our experience was while executing these exercises.

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Saturday May 13, 2017 11:30am - 1:00pm
Chapman Argyros Forum 208

Attendees (4)