Actions and Detail Panel
Scientific Communication: Improvement through Improvisation (5.3.17)
Wed, May 3, 2017, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT
Workshop Facilitator: Jake Livingood, Senior Assistant Director of Graduate Student Career Services at MIT's Global Education and Career Development office. He is also a graduate of the Improv Asylum Training Center in the North End of Boston. Jake has offered numerous improv workshop for a variety of groups at MIT and beyond.
Workshop Desciption: The 90-minute workshop is highly interactive and participatory. The workshop begins with improv warm-up activities that emphasize verbal, vocal and visual forms of communication and speaking with confidence in an uncertain environment. Participants continue to prepare for the unexpected by drawing a slip of paper describing a workplace scenario from a bowl and role-playing how they would respond to it. A discussion with the entire group then follows to generate additional ideas of how to handle it. This supportive environment encourages attendees to learn from one another.
Jake has developed the EXPERT method for reacting to unexpected questions:
- Expect that an unexpected question or situation will arise. This puts you in the mindset to expect uncomfortable situations and leads to a greater chance of adapting when circumstances arise.
- Prepare ahead of time for those potential situations. This can include reflection about how to handle common scenarios or practicing through improv activities.
- Evaluate the uncomfortable situation. How does this situation make you feel? Do you change facial expressions or body posture? Does your communication convey doubt?
- Respond to the student with confidence. Be comfortable with what you know and what you don't know.
- Talk with a trusted person (peer, advisor, others). It is important to process uncomfortable classroom experiences with trusted mentors and colleagues. This provides an opportunity for growth as an instructor.