MESA is using Mindful Improv to encourage students to learn – and think – creatively!
Improv, a theatrical technique in which performers make up a story in the moment, is commonly known for being light, fun, and imaginative. However, the origins and teachings of Improv go much deeper. All MESA ninth grade students are participating in the new Improv class in hopes it will better prepare them for their high school journey. The class is specifically designed to heighten listening abilities, encourage clear communication, develop emotional honesty, and build community.
For many students, Improv is a completely new way of thinking and acting, especially in a classroom setting. Throughout the course, students learn to improve their focus, own their emotions, and practice non-verbal communication. These skills are essential as students tend to focus less on the present moment when faced with endless technology trends and continuous distractions.
A typical day in MESA’s Improv class begins with a lighthearted warm-up of ‘Sound Ball,’ a game that challenges students to focus, think fast, make eye contact, and work together to showcase presence and public speaking.
Following the warm-ups and games, students are prompted to relate their learnings from class to real-world situations both inside and outside of the classroom. These discussions include making a connection with their actions and attitudes.
“The real learnings from this class will be a lot more intangible,” said Jackson Westenskow, Assistant Director at MESA. “They will show up in the classroom, in the school community and culture, and in teacher and student interactions.”
Stay tuned for information about the Improv class showcase, expected to happen later on in the year!