1887

Using the Improvisational “Yes, and…” Approach as a Review Technique in the Student-Centered Biology Classroom

    Authors: Laura J. MacDonald1, Amanda Solem2, Verónica A. Segarra3,*
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Hendrix College, Conway, AR 72032; 2: Department of Biology, Hastings College, Hastings, NE 68901; 3: Department of Biology, High Point University, High Point, NC 27268
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 02 December 2016
    • ©2016 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://asmscience.org/jmbe
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: High Point University, Department of Biology, One University Parkway, High Point, NC 27268. Phone: 336-841-9507. Fax: 336-888-6341. E-mail: [email protected].
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 482-484. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1178
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    Abstract:

    In the biological sciences, students frequently equate understanding to compiling and memorizing information as a series of isolated facts. For this reason, they struggle to connect major concepts across course curriculums. In other disciplines, improvisation techniques have been introduced as a way to engage with millenials, who learn best through inductive and experiential learning. Here we present an improvisational classroom activity called “Yes, and…” as a review technique that can be used throughout the semester and in multiple contexts to help students assimilate and integrate information. Students in small groups first review a major topic provided by the instructor (for example, DNA structure or DNA properties). Then, one student in the group contributes one sentence that starts a narrative about the topic being reviewed as learned in class. Additional members of the group then take turns, one at a time, to add additional layers of details to the narrative. The group dynamic continues until all of the students in the group have contributed at least one sentence to the narrative. Students are encouraged to listen carefully to their classmates’ contributions so that inaccurate ideas can be identified and tweaked through conversation at the end of one round of the exercise. The instructor moves between groups to continue to foster the learning experience. We find that the “Yes, and…” approach promotes deep student engagement with course material, collaboration among students of different backgrounds, and fosters development of oral communication skills.

Key Concept Ranking

DNA
1.0
Transformation
0.6642164
1.0

References & Citations

1. American Association for the Advancement of Science 2009 Vision and change in undergraduate biology education: a call to action: a summary of recommendations made at a national conference organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science July 15–17, 2009 Washington, DC
2. American Association for the Advancement of Science 2015 Vision and change in undergraduate biology education: chronicling change, inspiring the future AAAS Washington, DC
3. Bergren M, Cox M, Detmar J 2002 Improvise this! How to think on your feet so you don’t fall on your face Hyperion New York, NY
4. Berk RA, Trieber RH 2009 Whose classroom is it anyway? Improvisation as a teaching tool J Excel Coll Teach 20 29 60
5. Carlson S 2005 The Net generation goes to college Chron High Edu 52 A34
6. Crossan MM 1998 Improvisation in action Organizat Sci 9 593 598 10.1287/orsc.9.5.593 http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/orsc.9.5.593
7. Crossan MM, Cunha MP, Vera D, Cunnha O 2005 Time and organizational improvisation Acad Mgmt Rev 30 129 145 10.5465/AMR.2005.15281441 http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/AMR.2005.15281441
8. Cunha MP, Cunha JV, Kamoche K 1999 Organizational improvisation: what, when, how, and why Internatl J Mgmt Rev 1 299 341 10.1111/1468-2370.00017 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-2370.00017
9. Hoffman A, Utley B, Ciccarone D 2008 Improving medical student communication skills through improvisational theatre Med Educ 35 225 231
10. Jenkins H 2006 Convergence culture: where old and new media collide New York University Press New York, NY
11. Moshavi D 2001 “Yes, and…”: introducing improvisational theatre techniques to the management classroom J Mgmt Educ 25 437 449 10.1177/105256290102500408 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/105256290102500408
12. Segarra VA, Pulford S, Walsh S 2013 Presenting fake figures: a tool to effectively teach effective scientific figure design J Microbiol Biol Educ 14 2 260 262 10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.597 24358395 3867769 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.597
13. Tapscott D 2009 Growing up digital: how the Net generation is changing your world McGraw-Hill New York, NY

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2016-12-02
2019-01-16

Abstract:

In the biological sciences, students frequently equate understanding to compiling and memorizing information as a series of isolated facts. For this reason, they struggle to connect major concepts across course curriculums. In other disciplines, improvisation techniques have been introduced as a way to engage with millenials, who learn best through inductive and experiential learning. Here we present an improvisational classroom activity called “Yes, and…” as a review technique that can be used throughout the semester and in multiple contexts to help students assimilate and integrate information. Students in small groups first review a major topic provided by the instructor (for example, DNA structure or DNA properties). Then, one student in the group contributes one sentence that starts a narrative about the topic being reviewed as learned in class. Additional members of the group then take turns, one at a time, to add additional layers of details to the narrative. The group dynamic continues until all of the students in the group have contributed at least one sentence to the narrative. Students are encouraged to listen carefully to their classmates’ contributions so that inaccurate ideas can be identified and tweaked through conversation at the end of one round of the exercise. The instructor moves between groups to continue to foster the learning experience. We find that the “Yes, and…” approach promotes deep student engagement with course material, collaboration among students of different backgrounds, and fosters development of oral communication skills.

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