UB presents: Spontaneous Development
Spontaneous Development is UB’s professional learning program that connects the spontaneous world of improvisation with educational goals and objectives.
Improv in Education? Really?
Improv is consistent with the learning characteristics of today’s student who have grown up in the digital world (re:digital natives). They desire social interaction, an emotional context and a highly motivating setting. It is a learner-centered activity where students get to express themselves creatively, to work together, to have their ideas honored and have their mistakes forgiven.
In addition to these characteristics of the affective domain, improv engages cognitive structures in a uniquely powerful way. Cognitive processes such as divergent thinking, convergent thinking, analytical thinking, and creative thinking are in constant play, existing in a risk-free environment. The humor and subsequent laughter, open neural pathways to new learning, reduce stress, build rapport and create novelty, which are essential aspects of assimilating and remembering information.
To summarize, the discipline AND freedom that is inherent in improv is designed for participants to:
-create an atmosphere of teamwork
-improve and increase communication skills
-enhance creative problem solving skills in a collaborative environment
-learn to accept and manage change
-recognize opportunities for action
-respond quickly while thinking on their feet.
-experience the fun that is improvisation
“Effective teaching is not about the teacher; it’s all about the students.”
So why Unchained Brains?
Well, first of all, over 25 years experience (download vita here). The UB experience is highly interactive, presenting a number of highly motivating improv activities that teachers can easily apply to their classroom. Part inservice, part comedy show, UB deeply implants the elements of improv into the learning environment, focusing on processes that can be applied to all ages and curricular areas. During the presentation, UB explains the format and rules of each activity, demos the activity (aided by audience volunteers) and then debriefs the activity with specific educational applications. During the debriefing, teachers are encouraged to create their own applications related to their specific content and grade level. The organic nature of the UB inservice, enhanced by the improv activities, engage the participants in a unique manner, where new and useful connections are created on the spot. In the six-hour presentation, teachers can expect to walk away with over 20 ready-to-apply activities. These activities take minimal classroom preparation and as stated, are applicable to all ages and content areas.
UB’s presentation can be applied to the mandated GT update hours required by the state of Texas.
Foreign Language and ESL Teachers
UB conducts seminars for teachers who deal with students who are learning a new language. The highly interactive activities immerse the student in the target language in a fun and engaging way.
Digging Deeper – The Power of Humor and Laughter
It’s said that laughter is the best medicine. Recent research shows that humor in the classroom, when applied properly and judiciously, has a dynamic impact on the students’ communication skills, retention and recall while establishing a positive social and emotional climate. Humor grabs the students’ attention and sustains their interest. The subsequent laughter unifies the students in that laughter is a shared experience. When someone laughs it’s because they “got the joke”. Others that laugh at the same “joke”, in essence, share the same thought patterns. Here’s an example: Two cars walk into a restaurant. The waiter says, ”We do not serve cars here.” The cars reply, “Well, you auto.”
Whether or not you just laughed is not the point. The point is that the pun can be translated in only one way (well actually, two ways, which is why it’s a pun). When two students laugh together at a punch line or a funny story, it creates a bond between them since both have come to the exact same conclusion through a specific cognitive process. It also forms a bond with whom ever told the joke since the laughter affirms that the “joke” has been successfully communicated.
One must have to be engaged in the moment to laugh. Engagement translates to attentive listening and alleviates boredom. If any type of performance is going on and you are not paying attention, and the audience starts clapping, it’s easy to just join in and clap even though you have no idea why you’re clapping. Conversely, when everyone is laughing and you weren’t paying attention your initial response is…”What did I miss?”
UB’s improv activities come ready to use – right out of the box! Just add students. It’s that easy. The games and activities have been designed to easily insert into any curriculum and any grade level. And since the humor is built in, the improv activities guarantee success.