Fueling Creativity in Education Podcast

How might improvisation set up open and playful experiences in the classroom?

In this episode of the Fueling Creativity in Education podcast, hosts Cyndi Burnett and Matthew Worwood welcome Izzy Gesell, an organizational alchemist and expert in humor, creativity, improv, and education. Izzy shares his insights on the connections and differences between improvisation, creativity, and humor. He explains that humor is a mindset that creates joy, while improv is a process that fosters creativity through restrictions. He emphasizes the importance of recognizing and addressing personal blocks and fears in order to cultivate playfulness and humor in the classroom.

Matthew and Cyndi discuss the role of constraints in the classroom environment and how improvisation can help teachers embrace and navigate these constraints with laughter and flexibility. They also touch on the fear and resistance that some teachers may have towards incorporating humor and improvisation in their teaching. Izzy offers recommendations for teachers, including practicing improv, recognizing personal blocks, and understanding that humor is about creating a positive environment rather than telling jokes.

The episode highlights the parallels between teaching and performing arts, both requiring energy, movement, and storytelling skills. The hosts and guest discuss the power of storytelling in engaging students and making curriculum more relevant. Overall, this episode offers practical insights and strategies for infusing humor, creativity, and improvisation into the classroom, giving teachers the tools and confidence to create a more playful and enjoyable learning environment.

humor is not necessarily about telling jokes. It's about creating an environment where people feel good.

Featured Guest

Izzy Gesell is an “organizational alchemist” He was a special education teacher in NYC before becoming a standup comedian and improvisor and then a professional speaker and facilitator. Through keynotes, breakouts, coaching and facilitated sessions, Izzy offers imaginative, intuitive and immediately useful insights and programs. He delivers meaningful material in an enjoyable way. Among the first to use Improv Theater concepts as tools for personal and organizational learning, he is the author of Playing Along: Group Learning Activities Borrowed From Improvisation Theater & Instructional Moments: Facilitating with Applied Improv. His video course for LinkedIn Learning, “Leading With Applied Improv,” was their first on the topic . His other LinkedIn courses “Humor in the Workplace” and “Building Your Team.” He has a BA in Psychology, an MS in Education and a P… that’s 1/3 of a PhD and now lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Episode Debrief

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