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Alpha Secondary School Improv Class

How Alpha’s New Improvisation 12 Class Will Set Students Up for Success

A new performing arts course is coming soon to Alpha Secondary! Called Improvisation 12, the one-semester, 120-hour course, designed by SFU Theatre grad and Alpha Secondary teacher Charlene Agnew, will implement BC’s new curriculum in exciting ways and prepare students for success beyond high school.

Improv (short for improvisation) is a theatre performance technique that encourages students to think outside the box, and create sketches “on the spot” – the exact opposite of scripts and memorization (the old method of learning that is largely being phased out of the BC curriculum).

Think Fast…On Your Feet

Agnew has been taking courses at Vancouver’s Improv Comedy Institute for three years, and is well qualified to teach the core rules or principles of improv that all students must learn. Those rules dovetail perfectly with many components of the BC Ministry of Education’s newly designed school curriculum, that will be fully implemented in all grade levels by the 2018-2019 school year. No passive learning in Improvisation 12: students will be on their feet, working in groups, and thinking fast.

Basic Rules of Improv are Perfectly Aligned with the New Curriculum

The first rule of improv is “Yes, And”. This important statement requires participants to collaborate, and make a positive contribution, instead of saying “no, but”. After the “yes” comes the “and” – meaning that everyone in the group has a responsibility to contribute ideas to the performance. Improv classes are becoming hugely popular in the business world, as CEOs want a collaborative mindset in their employees, and themselves. Tina Fey, one of the most successful improvisers and comedy writers of her generation, has stated that she likes to hire improvisers as they have been trained to “make others in the group look good.” In other words, it’s not about “being the star”. Rather, it’s about working for the success of the ensemble.

Improv Encourages Active Listening

Improv scenes will grind to a halt if performers don’t listen to each other. In the new curriculum, active listening is an essential skill. People don’t usually take the time to listen to everything someone is trying to say, leading to poor communication and misunderstandings. Improv exercises require all participants to listen very closely to all people in the group – sometimes down to the last letter of their last word!

Improv Encourages Perseverance

Perseverance and tenacity are valued in the new curriculum, and in life. In improv theatre, those skills are critical. To create great theatre, students need to try again, if they don’t succeed right away (known in the improv world as reimprovising). Improvisation 12 will provide a safe space for students to do just that.

Improv is about trying something new. It forces students to take risks in a safe and supportive space. It encompasses many important skills, from public speaking, to thinking outside the box, to supporting others, to improving communication. Improvisation 12 at Alpha will ignite creativity in students and set them up for success!

A new performing arts course, called Improvisation 12, is coming soon to Alpha Secondary! Click To Tweet

You can learn more about Alpha Secondary School from our Spotlight blog series!

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