Walt Frasier, Ivana Mendez and Samuel Van Wyk drove down to Linden, NJ to run some workshops on Monday. The 50+ students grades 4-6 were part of a growing public speaking club.
This was very exciting to see. Public Speaking, and over coming social anxiety, is one of the #1 skills students need to learn, as well as a #1 source of fear. Being afraid to speaking in class leads to a number of side effect. Socially anxious kids become socially anxious adults. Some can over compensate for their insecurities and become bullies, while others often become easy victims for those bullies.
Our Improv workshops are all about learning to speak in front of a crowd, whether a small team, classroom or large auditorium.
Improv workshops are so much fun, students let go of fear, even if just for a moment. Most simply need that one moment of psychological safety to break out of their shells, or at least push their comfort zones to the next level.
This was a uniquely awesome situation because the entire administration recognizes the power of their program and ours. The students began the morning by reciting a pledge, akin to scouts or other organizations. As a community, they pledged their intent to learn public speaking while over coming fears etc. The pledged to project and speak clearly with clear intent. POWERFUL STUFF!
Sam started the workshop running a round of WALK STOP – a simple game that gets the entire group up on their feet, listening to instructions, even when they challenge our perception.
Ivane followed with a round of Orchestra. Three groups each had a sound to make, based on an emotion. Ivana would conduct each group to start/stop their sound, adjust volume and more. While learning more listening and focus, the students are beginning to warm up their vocal production and control.
Walter then ran the mask game. Students are introduced to both pantomime (Physical performance) and emotional engagement, making their performances more interesting.
At this time, each teacher took a group of 15-20 each to run a series of Improv warm-up circle games. These games are all about passing the energy around the circle. When it is your time, you need to project and pass the word, sound or imaginary object. When not your turn to speak/perform one needs to follow – listening and focusing, making eye contact with each performer. Games included ZIP ZAP ZUP, Pass the Face, Imaginary Balls, Walk with Me, One Word Story and more.
For the final 25 minutes every one came back together. Students played I AM A TREE, Freeze Frame and Categories.
We do these workshops for 100s of schools, camps and community centers every year, but this school really is taking PUBLIC SPEAKING seriously. These people skills are so important for management jobs. But all should learn these valuable skills to better chances in any job, job interview, and personal experiences.
WTG School No 1