New Improv Class Targets Dual Language Learners

New Improv Class Targets Dual Language Learners

JugandoNorthwestern University’s Center for Talent Development is launching a two-way immersion (TWI) improvisation course for academically talented students in June of 2017. (Leer en Español.)

“Jugando con el Lenguaje” or “Playing with Language,” the Center’s first course taught in both Spanish and English, uses improvisation themes to explore the ways languages interact on stage. The classes will build confidence around public speaking and help students develop critical skills like risk taking, finding a voice, and collaboration.

The course targets a diverse group of students and academic interests, and it is open to Spanish-speaking students and those in dual language or two-way immersion programs.

“The use of improv helps students support each other and build a story together,” said course designer Danielle Holtz, program coordinator at the School of Education and Social Policy’s Center for Talent Development. “As students get familiar with improvisation, the games increase with difficulty.”

Improv activities will play with space and understanding, and students will model languages for each other. In one exercise, half the group might speak English; the other would speak Spanish, depending on where they stand on stage. As students move from location to location, their language would change.

Students also will improvise scenes in both languages. “They might perform a scene entirely in English, leave the stage, talk about the scene and attempt to recreate it in Spanish,” Holtz said. “That can trigger a conversation about what changes; the essence of the scene and the language that carried it through, how things are interpreted and expressed differently, and how it impacts a performance.”

Each class of “Jugando con el Lenguaje” will be organized around a central improvisation concept, with discussions and practice in the morning and scene building in the afternoon. The course also features a dual language improv performance.

The class is “a natural marriage between improv, sketch, and scene writing,” Holtz said. 

“Jugando con Lenguaje,” held June 25 through July 14, is open to students currently in fourth through sixth grade. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

Learn more about "Jugando con el Lenguaje” or visit the Center for Talent Development for information on other classes. Applications are currently being accepted through June 10.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 3/11/17