Masters Thesis

The impact of improvisation training on teachers' sense of self efficacy

This study examines the impact of theatrically based improvisation training on teachers’ sense of self efficacy. Teaching has often been described as a type of performance whereby teachers are expected to present information to an audience of observers in an effort to share ideas and enrich the lives of the participants. With this paradigm of teaching as performance, I developed a workshop designed to teach theatrically based improvisation techniques to a group of public education teachers. I used a series of pre- and post-workshop surveys as well as a follow-up discussion session to gauge what effect, if any, improvisation training had on the self-efficacy of teachers seeking professional development. The hypothesized result was that following the workshop, teacher confidence would have been enhanced as recorded by the surveys and conversations in the discussion session. The results I obtained from the workshop, the surveys, and the discussion session were coded and analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative measures. Areas of particular interest were classroom management, teacher expectations of what students could achieve, particular activities most appropriate for engaging students, and teachers’ overall confidence in their own abilities. The workshop consisted of 7-hours of professional development in which improvisation techniques and games were explored. The types of behavior under investigation related to issues of confidence, e.g.: classroom management techniques, repetition of instruction, stuttering, body language, eye contact, responses to questions from students, and any other observable actions/behaviors that gave insight into teacher confidence.