Posse and Applied Improvisation

For last week’s group meeting, I invited Kevin MacDonald to facilitate team building using Applied Improvisation exercises.  Kevin is the head coach of the rowing team at Trinity College. I met him last semester for the first time while serving as a Center for Teach and Learning (CTL) Fellow.  As CTL fellows, we meet once a month to workshop “a big pedagogical idea”. Kevin’s project is titled, ““Applied Improvisation: Collaborative Creativity in the Classroom”.  After Kevin did some of these exercises with the CTL fellows, I knew he would be a big hit with my Posse, which frankly was in need of some team building.

Kevin describes his project as follows: “My project examines the use of Applied Improvisation skills and techniques, employed in the classroom through group games and exercises.  Applied Improvisation requires participants to listen intently, respond honestly, and contribute enthusiastically to the collective effort.  Executed in the classroom, the exercises cultivate collaboration, camaraderie, teamwork, trust, and creativity.  Adapted from training for theatrical performances, improv exercises infuse energy, reduce inhibition, spark creativity and seek to eliminate self-consciousness within the working group.  I’m excited to work collaboratively with a large number of constituent groups across campus to put Applied Improvisation principles into practice.”

After the session, Kevin told me that this was one of the most cohesive groups he had worked with.  My Posse has been together for almost a year. Despite the fact that they may not all be best buddies, they still have a mutual respect for one another and when given a collective talk based on various forms of communication, concentration and creative expression, they step up to the plate and perform at a high level. 

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