"A 'how to do it' procedure will become apparent with the use of the material. Yet, no system should be a system. We must tread carefully if we are not to defeat our aims. How can we have a 'planned' way of action while trying to find a 'free' way?"
- Viola Spolin, Improvisation for the Theater, p. 18
In this textbook-heavy world of teaching, I have often been asked for a manual--a list--of what to do and in what order. However, my goal is to be improvisational in my coaching--of students and of teachers. It would be entirely hypocritical to be encouraging folks to be engaging "in the moment", to "do what comes next" while marching along a step-by-step, entirely predetermined plan.
Does this mean I am suggesting walking into a session as an unprepared facilitator? Quite the opposite, in fact. If my goal is to help participants (and myself) to be intuitive, then I must first identify a set of potential goals for the workshop. (For example--character development or narrative structure or conflict or listening...). I then brainstorm possible games for general warm-ups and skill-building warm-ups, followed by games and activities to support the workshop's focus/goal.
Rather than seeing instructional design as a single channel, I prefer to envision a braided stream. (Hello--science integration!) The needs and energy of a group may adjust our direction, but I am still here to guide the ultimate path of the workshop.
I'll follow up with specific examples later this week. I'll be guest teaching/ coaching at two schools in Santa Rosa--in one fifth-grade classroom and in one second-grade classroom. I can't wait to report back!