Improv as Professional Development for Teachers
On an unseasonably warm and rainy late Wednesday afternoon in early February a group of timid yet very excited and curious Philadelphia public school teachers arrived at the Arden’s Hamilton Family Arts center to partake in the first of three professional development workshops that will be offered at the Arden to the participating faculty of Arden for All partner schools.
The evening consisted of a meet and greet and then a fun and active workshop on how to integrate improv and theatre games into the classroom. These games and activities are designed to inspire 21st-Century skills, such as collaboration, team work, and utilizing creative imagination. Taught by local improv teaching artist, Tara Demmy (a former Arden Apprentice), the workshop also instilled “thinking quick on your feet” skills to enhance classroom engagement. The night ended with a light dinner and a performance of the Arden’s production of Funnyman.
The workshop began quietly with teachers getting to know each other through a name game and by the time we were 15-20 minutes into it, the sounds of uproarious laughter and applause permeated through the Hamilton Family Arts Center! By the end of the workshop, the teachers created a common bond and this energy spilled into conversations while having dinner about how they planned to use the exercises not only with their students but also with fellow colleagues at their perspective schools! They vowed to share their results via video and photos with each other and the Arden! By the end they became a team and felt a part of the Arden family. As we headed to the theatre to see a show together, it definitely felt like a mission accomplished!