+44 (0) 1727 843820 paul@impro.org.uk

There are two types of AI workshop. In one, teachers of Applied Improvisation teach others how to apply improvisation concepts and skills. In the other, they are using their improvisation skills to teach other topics.

When a class is introduced to the concepts of AI, we usually see activities involving different media, perhaps movement games, conversations and drawing – though usually not all at once.

The tutor briefs, side-coaches and debriefs each activity, so that it serves useful functions such as:

  • Skill Building
  • Embodying improvisational concepts
  • A metaphor or rehearsal for ‘real-world’ situations

In a session in which a teacher leads a class about gardening, life drawing or playing tennis – when the topic is not itself improvisation – we’ll still recognise the improvisational skills and practices of the tutor. And they might also be guiding the students to be more improvisational in their practice of gardening, drawing or playing tennis.

Improvisation resides in the interplay between structure and freedom. The need for structure means even the most improvisational of teachers work with a more or less conscious lesson plan. The plan is designed to cover whatever the students need to know about playing tennis, driving a car or programming a computer. That means a crafted sequence to bring in appropriate concepts, skills practices, rehearsals and reflections, and perhaps tests to measure progress.

We’d reasonably expect any teacher to adjust to a group, depending on how participants are responding to the material. Likewise for a facilitator, who guides a process, there’ll be a plan and an on-the-day need for improvising.

The criteria for whether or not these are effective sessions is whether people can now go out and apply their learning themselves in their own contexts. We measure success against desired outcomes, not by how much the teacher improvised – though their skill at improvisation will often be a strong indicator of their ability to produce consistent outcomes with the greatest range of participants in their classes.

To develop your own improvisation skills as a facilitator or trainer, sign up to the waiting list of our forthcoming ‘Inspirational Facilitator’ online course (commencing September 2022) for priority booking: https://bit.ly/3I02pUj