If you’ve ever taught or been a student (that’s everyone, isn’t it?), “Yes, and” as Teaching-Learning Methodology is a must read. It’s written by two University of North Carolina at Greensboro professors— Omar H. Ali, Dean of Lloyd International Honors College and Nadja B. Cech, Professor of Chemistry. In the article, they share their experiences with improvisation to create engaged experiential learning opportunities with students inside and outside of the classroom. It’s a great story, vivid with real people building relationships, practical tips to bring improv into learning environments, dynamic photos, and some philosophical gems.
Here’s an excerpt:
We understand that our being unflinchingly affirming of our students flies in the face of the epistemological bias in academia—that is, we as professors being certain of things (a.k.a. being the knowers) What we are suggesting here is an ontological shift (a shift that requires action)—that is, when it comes to teaching and mentoring, to move away from teaching as the imparting of knowledge to teaching as developing relationships. The nature of building relationships is improvisational, building with what is given and then responding. Such improvisation, however, does not happen in a vacuum. Like a jazz musician or a modern dancer, we base our moves on past experience and training. There are things that we have tried and seen that have worked or not, from which we draw upon. We also try new things on the spot or imitate what we’ve seen others do. Throughout all of this, the spirit of what we do is “Yes, and.”
And a photo: