How to Use Improv to Teach Students Mindfulness

Want your students to be more mindful and present? Try some improv!

The brain is very efficient. Our students learn to pay attention to what’s necessary. They notice the steps ahead, the moving cars in the parking lot, the people in their way. They learn the patterns and the important signals that the people around them use to communicate. 

Most of the time they have reasonable expectations about what will happen next. They can be thinking or daydreaming while going about their day and survive just fine. 

Not so with improv. Improv requires total attention to what is happening. 

If players are daydreaming or thinking about what they want to do next, they’ve missed the exciting offers of the players on stage. It may be a raised eyebrow, a suspicious tone, or a reference to an overripe banana. 

What shall they do with all those juicy offerings? So many choices. Paying attention during improv allows them to play in the field of possibilities. And in doing so, they get to bring their whole self to the moment. 

They’re not thinking about snacks, dance, soccer, or the test tomorrow. 

They are in it fully; every ounce of their being focused!

By sharpening each participant’s ability to pay attention and to respond in the moment, improv actors gain essential skills while having fun. 

Learning to be present and spontaneous without judging themselves or others is key. 

Because being present allows them to fully engage, students expand emotional flexibility, ignite their imaginations, cultivate resilience, and increase confidence. Improv is a path to presence!

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