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  • Writer's pictureLauren Morris

Conversation Hacks: Tips For a 1:1 Conversation

Updated: Jan 16, 2019

As an improv teacher, our job is to provide a safe space for our students to explore, fail, learn, and grow. Most times this goes as planned. Sometimes, we have a student who just seems to cross the line every time they are on stage.

This can lead to frustration for the other students and hinder the experience and process.

The student crossing the line, most times, isn't aware or doing this with intent. It's our job as the teacher to bring the unwanted behavior to their attention.

I've seen it to often, the teacher, isn't equipped to have the difficult conversation. However, it is our job to do just that. Here are some tips to engage in this kind of conversation so you and your class can get back to the fun and joy of improv!

1. Start with empathy-- You are not here to berate the student. You care about their journey and the others in your class. Start from a place of caring and have the conversation in private. If your student knows this, they are less likely to go into defense mode and take what you are saying to heart.

2. Think about the specific behavior you want to change-- Limit what you need to change to one, two at most behaviors. Remember this is a student who is still learning. Overwhelm them with multiple requests and the behavior is not going to change.

3. Think about what they are doing well-- It's always difficult that we are "messing" things up so encourage them to keep doing the things they do well and focus on the positive growth they are experiencing.

4. Have actionable next steps -- You want a behavior to change, then be prepared to give them a replaceable behavior or tools they can use to make change happen. Otherwise, this entire conversation is a futile effort.

You have all the steps now it's time to have the conversation. Perhaps it can go like this:

"Hi, thanks for your time. I've noticed a few things that I wanted to go over with you to see how we can together come up with a plan of action. I know your goal is to be the best version of yourself. When you do (XYZ), it is hindering your growth. I want you to work on not doing (XYZ) and instead let's try this (ABC). You clearly care about this class and your journey. I know this because you do (DEF) really well and I'd love to see you keep doing that and pushing out of your comfort zone. So let's try this new plan and then check in with each other and see how it is going."

Of course, the student is going to engage and have a say in this discussion. This is just an example to get you to brainstorm how you can approach a student the next time you need to discuss a behavior you would like to change in the classroom.

Communication is key both on and off the stage. As the teacher, it's our job to keep the conversation going even when it's uncomfortable.

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