EducationUSA Events & Outreach Features USEFP

Teaching public speaking and communication through improv

Most of us are no strangers to that gut-wrenching, free falling state that consumes us when we are the center of attention in a room filled with peers and friends. This fear of public speaking and communicating in large groups, is perhaps the most ubiquitous feeling, uniting everyone from young students to experienced professionals.

Dr. Jim Robinson at the improv skills workshop at USEFP

The remedy they say, lies in improv; the trained skills of improvised acting and spontaneously creating hilarity. Recent studies emphasize its crucial role in removing mental barriers and unleashing creativity. Regular practice shows demonstrable improvements in communication skills, in addition to lowered anxiety and stress levels.

Knowing the transformative role of improv, EducationUSA’s Creative Hub organized it first-ever Improv Skills Workshop led by Fulbright Specialist, Dr. Jim Robinson. Dr. Robinson is a PhD in counseling psychology, a member of the Brave New Institute, an improv troupe in Minneapolis, and a professor at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN, where he created and taught the course “Improvisation and Mental Health”.

Participants of the workshop “living in the moment” during one of the interactive activities

Dr. Robinson’s workshop for high school students featured a series of acting and improvisation games that were focused on helping students de-stress, work on active listening, and learn how to tap into the improv mindset to take advantage of being in the moment while developing public speaking and communication skills.

EducationUSA’s Improv Skills Workshop was perhaps the most enthusiastically attended event of the USEFP calendar. Going forward, USEFP aims to replicate the event throughout the school calendar in all three cities.

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