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July 2015 | Volume 57 | Number 7
When Winging It Works
Use improv in your classroom to enhance learning, foster teamwork, and meet standards.
Jen Oleniczak did not set out to become an improv evangelist. She wanted to be an actor. She found the pursuit of that career to be far too stressful, however. So she went back to school, got a degree in art history, and became a museum educator. Oleniczak then made the life- and career-altering discovery that teaching, in fact, is a lot like improv.
In an art appreciation class, for example, Oleniczak would ask, "What do you notice? What do you see?" No matter the response, Oleniczak would reply with a "yes, and …" statement: "Yes, you see a lamp and I see a table. What else do you see?" In this way, Oleniczak affirmed her students' observations while moving the conversation forward—which is exactly what she did as an improviser.
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Copyright © 2015 by ASCD
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