The Improv Paradigm: Three Principles that Spur Creativity in the Classroom

  • Clayton D. DrinkoEmail author
Part of the Creativity Theory and Action in Education book series (CTAE, volume 2)


Improvised scenes work when improvisers listen to their scene partners and agree and add onto each other’s ideas without judgment. These three principles derived from improvisation—listening, agreeing, and not judging—come together to form the improv paradigm, which can be used to modify pedagogy in order to improve student outcomes. Teachers can introduce activities that specifically target how students listen, agree, and judge each other. The principles of the improv paradigm can also be used to reflect on and improve how teachers teach. Colleagues and supervisors can focus on how teachers consciously or unconsciously listen to their students, agree or disagree with their ideas, and judge students’ responses in order to adjust moment-to-moment teacher behavior to create a more creative learning environment. Once improved, these skills lead to more trusting, collaborative, and creative classrooms that foster creative ideation instead of causing students to feel shamed or judged and therefore stop contributing and creating.


Improv Listening Improv paradigm Yes and Agreeing Creativity Improvisation Improvisation in the classroom Teacher evaluation Nonjudgment Creative mortification Impro Mindfulness Brainstorming 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New York City Department of EducationNew York CityUSA

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