2013 Student Research Conference:
26th Annual Student Research Conference

Improvisation in the Secondary English Classroom: How Improvisation Activities Can Lead to an Increase in Student Engagement and Understanding
Rachel M. Brown♦
Dr. Barbara Price and Rebecca Dierking, Faculty Mentors

Jeff Whelm writes in Learning by Being: Drama at Total Immersion (Voices from the Middle 1998) that drama, unlike theater, can be done immediately and naturally in response to classroom needs and that drama is a way for students to explore and construct new understanding personally (4). This study examines the role that the use of drama, specifically improvisation activities, in an English language arts classroom can play in student engagement and developing their understanding. The research was conducted with approximately 120 students at an urban secondary school and consisted of introducing a variety of improvisation activities, with the goal of helping students better understand character in fiction and engage in class discussion with the assigned text. Based on evidence of student engagement, including an increase in assignment completion, this study demonstrates the possibility of improvisation activities leading to increased involvement and encourages further research and participation in these activities.

Keywords: Improvisation, English, Students, Engagement, Understanding

Topic(s):Education
English
Theatre

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 306-3
Location: MG 2090
Time: 1:40

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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