Der improflair Blog

Beiträge rund um meine Angebote, zu Angewandter Improvisation und zu Forschungsimpressionen aus meiner Dissertation.
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Playful Debriefing

In The Open Space at the Conference of the Applied Improvisation in Oxford (August 2016), there also was a session on debriefing. On my journey of doing a thesis on Applied Improvisation in higher education (offline and online) i very quickly decided, that debriefing will be one of the center stones.

Of course you benefit and you also learn with applied improv from the very first second. And this outcome will be intensified and more structured and more connected to very tangible aims in your life with a good planed debriefing, which also needs enough time.

I am a playful person, I love to use very different games and adapt them. And debriefing till now was something with lots of words and talking. Which is not a bad choice, and there are many other possible choices. Thanks to Anne-Marie Steen who reminded me on that!

She recommend the book “Play” by Stuart Brown (look at this which I also think is a basic literature for anybody who is in the areas of teaching, facilitating, training, using applied improv… Anne-Marie said there are the following categories of how to use a playful way in debriefing:

  • Movement (eg using hands and arms to show a learning outcome on a scale from 1 to 10, movement through the room, body images, dancing together…)
  • Social (eg role playing)
  • Creative (eg first drawing in 60 seconds a picture of a learning experience; showing and explaining it to a partner and then amend the own picture with something that you saw / heard inspired by the drawing / explanation of your partner)
  • Objects (eg using toy blocks, chairs & tables, material from nature or a bag full of objects from which participants draw and explain why they have picked this as a symbol)
  • Inventing together a debriefing game

Of course how to put and phrase the debriefing questions is also important on this methods.

Here are ideas from my side:

  • Using the structure, the language, typical protagonists from a fairy tale to tell (or play out together with others), of course you also make a short fairy tale comic strip
  • Write and sing together the song of your learning journey
  • Transforming results in newspaper headlines or advertisement / pr slogans – then go through the room shouting them out or trying out different emotions in shouting / enacting them


  • Some more ideas are collected here by Michelle Cummings M.S.
  • and
  • “Another method of having learners think about how lessons learned can apply elsewhere is to put them in the role of a game designer. Learners are asked to think about a game idea that would take the lessons taught in the activity they just completed and allow someone to learn how to apply those lessons into a new environment. By providing the learner with a variety of icons to drag into a game design document, the learner’s creativity can be jostled in directions different than a text – only document would provide” Nicholson, S. (2012). Completing the Experience: Debriefing in Experiential Educational Game. In Proceedings of The 3 rd International Conference  on  Society  and  Information  Winter Garden. Abgerufen von (there are more ideas and background in this article!)
  • Also from Nicholson: An emotional timeline; writing and/or drawing and/or showing body images of emotional feelings along one methode or a whole workshop
  • Self assessment with the help of scales



A room-atmosphere-transforming way to start a conference (and other learning journeys)

Ok. You could say, this was a special conference with special people (Applied Improvisation Network in Oxford, August 2016). And there are other conferences. And those can learn a lot out of what is happening here.

So here has been an opening done by a president (Paul Z. Jackson). Short. To the point. Witty and making you smile. And an opening session with over 200 peoples, using the room as it is: It’s called “theatre” and it’s more like a lecture theatre. People sitting very near to each other, seemingly no place to move. Seemingly…

Firstly we say “Good Morning” to each other, in our very different languages, groups stand up from the different countries all over the world.

Then: Matt Weinstein ( and Erica Marx ( are the facilitators – I list some of the methods, that were used and add reflections on their effects on learning, fruitful communication, self efficacy. (see this beuatiful video that captures some moments!)

Please add to all following bullet points the starting words it “fosters / helps / encourages”…

They start with a “diamond dance” and within half a minute over 200 people are dancing together. (see this good explanation here

  • the balance between synchronizing with others and to bring in own variations and completely new ideas
  • to experience (with heart, brain, belly – the whole body) connectivity and being part of something (more than a participant)
  • To let go fears to show (and tell) something of yourself

And movement gets more intense: Matt and Erica tell us twice to find a partner nearby in the room, not only the neighbor to do “Danish Clapping” (see this explanation and video: Added to that we are invited to exchange with this partner in 90 seconds on “What intrigues you about applied improvisation?” “Where is your edge?”, “What are you really curious about right now, what do you want to explore?”

  • Exploring and finding common rhythms
  • Being aware of the movements of other people (in communication body movements might be far less intense as in danish clapping AND we can not only perceive them but also realize our own movements) -> so it is also about real listening to each other
  • Reframing of the word mistake (Even if you are not synchronized the mutual game keeps on going)

Matt and Erica also invite us to find a new partner and to tell each other the story of our first name in one Minute. 90 or even 60 seconds. How is this possible. Improv is also about to trust the first answer that comes to your mind. It helps to summarize, to cut on the chase (see this nice explanation of this phrase And it often catapults us in a – like Keith Johnstone puts it – trance, a state, where we stop thinking in a “normal” way and surprise us self and others.

Latest here you would have run out of people standing right next to you and people in the theatre started to move around. And it goes on with “find another partner” and the following input:

“The person across from you is your very best friend from back home.  It’s 1 week from now, conference is over, you’re telling them all about it  “ It went super well, AMAZING! Everything you could hope for: for you personally, for your business, for your perspective, relationships.  What happened?  What made it so great?  You will have 45 seconds”

And then “Now, it’s 10 years in the future! Same friend, and you have not seen them in 10 years.  Start with whatever stood you to you from your share.”  And the listener is asked to keep pushing the storyteller with putting in “Because of that…” We are reminded in the aspect “amazing”, “everything you could hope for” and also to find things, we are dreaming about.

After that the question is: “Return to the next days. What have you done in the very first days after the conference to make the things you just described come into existence in the very first place?

  • Finding, defining aims for own / common learning processes
  • Envision a bright future (I often use methods like “letter / email / tweet / drawing / body image from the future”. It is a very powerful way to gain access to hopes, dreams and also the very next steps.)
  • Being inspired by ideas of other persons

The next challenge from Matt is to find an other partner and do the “toothache mediation”:

Tell her or him very fast things, “…that are not wrong in your life”. He reminds us to stick to this very starting every own sentence.

  • Reframing your life
  • Getting stronger aware of own strengths
  • Opening up to each other

And if you thought to find I a very tight space two people very often is an inspiring method to bring together as many as possible people in a seemingly no-time-structure look at this: “Sty together with your last partner, find two other couples. Make a line: left is the one with the least experience on AIN-conferences and right the one with the most”. So we do lines. In the very narrow tiers of the theater, with people we perhaps hadn’t realized they are even here before. The person standing at the beginning of this line partners with the one on the other end of the line: “1 min: What advice can you offer the newbies?  How to get the most from the conference?”. “Newer delegates: What questions do you have of the veterans?“ (it is a variation of a sociometric activity, for more see e.g. here

  • Get to know each other
  • Exchanging experiences (and get to know “knowing people”)
  • Helping each other (sharing responsibility)

No more movement possible in this room? You are wrong! We are asked to find triads and everyone gets the chance to be the “Perfect boss”: So if it is your turn, you have to tell your staff a method how to make as many as possible people in the room happy, feeling comfortable and also appreciated. So for instance I am asked to tell people a superpower. Or to put a finger to their head and telling “I like you very” much”. I tell to give people a short massage for the neck. And even in my roll as boss I not only observe people running in high speed through the room but also am hugged, told that I am amazing and inspiring, invited to let go all my fears and more J

  • Taking and delegate responsibility
  • Mutual kindness
  • Getting in touch with lots of people

We form another group of three and Erica invites us to be our own guardian angel: “You are now each Guardian angels, and you’re hanging out together in the Guardian angel break room, swapping strategies & sharing about your clients.  You are hard-working, dedicated, compassionate Guardian angels.  You’re thinking about this upcoming conference.  You’ve got an important client, someone you really care about.  Because in this next game, you will each play your own guardian angel: what excites them about Applied Improvisation, hopes for how this conference will go and what that means to them, things that are going well in their life. And also… you know what they need and how to take care of them.  You know how they can get themselves into trouble, get off track.  You know how to bring them back.  What advice do you give them?  How are you going to take care of them?”

  • Selfcare and self efficacy
  • Inner reflection, taking in own needs
  • Planning a red thread for the conference (learning experience)

Afterwards we are told to “Take your guardian angel with you” <3

At the end we wave to the partners we had before.

Matt and Erica made for the whole hour sure, that there is no need to think on “who is first”, “ho is next”. They put in inputs like “the one with the most hours of sleep”, “the one who had to travel the longest time”, “speaks the most languages”, “youngest goes first”…

So it is not only to get to know each other but also to look on a inspiring learning journey ahead, to define areas were you want to grow and powers you can use! Thank you very much Erica & Matt for sharing your notes, that helped me remembering most of this fabulous session!


A very special conference #ainox16

I am at the moment at the conference of the Applied Improvisation Network It’s a global network with over 5.000 members. People who use methods and the framework of improvisation methods in fields like education, counselling, therapy, business, facilitation, teamwork, healthcare, humanitarian sector, theater and improvisation training…

I came aware and member of this network in the time of the preparation of the congress in Amsterdam, 2010 (the congress is yearly in the USA and every three years in Europe, and I can highly van recommend to take part to that or to regional meetings of the AIN!

Im very grateful that “my university”, the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences is making it possible for me to participate at this congress. I am also supported in doing my thesis on Applied Improvisation in Higher Education ( I will be part of a facilitating team, doing a workshop at the conference, applying some results from their and the topic of how to use Applied Improvisation for research.

I am often at various conferences. Since the last two years mostly in fields of Higher Education and didactics, but I also know the “feeling” of conferences on healthcare, social affairs or social media. And this conference really is special in many ways – here are some aspects of it:

  • People meeting here are really happy to meet each other, more are grateful for this chance. So nobody is sitting there with a long face and waiting for breaks, big conference dinners or the seclusion of the hotel room.
  • …it is a very open, sparkling atmosphere, where the spirit of “Yes, and…” is palpable in many aspects. One example: I sat together with Tomás Álvarez & Carla Vigara, planning details for our workshops. And any idea was warmly welcome, was added by other ideas in a breath-taking constructive way. It was really beautiful and I am so much looking forward to it.
  • It’s an atmosphere of mutual openness, talking about your life, dreams, hopes, fears, failures, successes – on a very intense label which uses then usual conference “how do you do” as a mere starting point. And with this new ideas, new networks and cooperations come into existence; plans are shared, enhanced, refined.
  • It’s an atmosphere of mutual appraisal, no matter of origin, race, language… And if someone has a problem he / she will get offers of helps not only from the conference team but lots of attendants around
  • Learning is a shared experience: The people giving input are also listening. They use multitude ways to learn in many different ways, always with room for one experiences and reflection. Its more than “giving” lectures, it’s collaborative creating and enhancing knowledge.

In the next days I will write more of the experiences here and are happy for any comment and addition!

Lernergebnisse mit ImproImpulsen sichtbar machen

An der FH St. Pölten gibt es als Teil des didaktischen Weiterbildungsangebots ein „Hochschuldidaktisches Zertifikat“, das ein Jahr lang läuft und mit 7 ECTS bewertet ist. Zielgruppe sind vor allem auch neue Lehrende an der Fachhochschule, wobei erfahrungsgemäß auch schon bereits länger tätige haupt- und nebenberufliche Lehrende dieses Angebot nutzen.

Als Teil des Zentrums für Hochschuldidaktik SKILL gestalte auch ich immer wieder Teile des HDZ mit und bringe dort u. a. Inputs ein zu Inverted Classroom Modell, E-Learning-Tools, kompetenzorientiertes Lernen und Prüfen sowie zu didaktischen Design ein. Einen Teil des Abschlusstermins habe ich mit meinem Kollegen Sepp Weißenböck gemeinsam vorbereitet, wobei wir da seine jahrelange Vorerfahrung mit dem HDZ und ein von ihm entwickeltes, sehr weit gediehenes didaktisches Design nutzen konnten. Schon länger werden dort improvisierte Kurzszenen als Präsentationsmethoden eingesetzt, um die lessons learnend sowie Erfahrungen aus dem intensiven gemeinsamen Jahr zu reflektieren. Weiterlesen

ImproImpulse für „Ernährung im Kinder- und Jugendalter“

In einer Lehrveranstaltung an der FH St. Pölten mit Heidi Ramler wurde wieder eine Kombination aus Prinzipien des Inverted Classroom und den Einsatz von Methoden der Angewandten Improvisation umgesetzt. Bei einem gemeinsamen Gespräch wurden zunächst Lernziele der Lehrveranstaltung besprochen und dann ein Grobplan für den Einsatz der ImproImpulse erstellt. Diese sollten beitragen, Ziele zu unterstützen wie:

  • Auseinandersetzung mit der eigenen „(Nicht)Stillbiographie“
  • Reflexion Vorstellungen (Mythen, Ammenmärchen), welche Ernährung für Babys, Kinder, Jugendliche die „Richtige“ ist
  • PatientInnengerechte Formulierungen erforschen und weiterentwickeln rund um das Thema


Let’s catch some flying pigs!

“When pigs fly” is a figure of speech that says something is completely impossible, even unthinkable. For example: “Can people really change for good?” “Yes, when pigs fly.”

For us a flying pig is the moment of insight that brings shift and transformation in our clients, students, participants…

Join us in our quest.

We will not only look for flying pigs, we will also research ways to catch them, integrate them in our work and our lives with the help of methods and inspirations from the fields of Applied Improvisation and Strategic Narrative Embodiment.

In this online Pig Catching adventure you will be accompanied by Petro Janse van Vuuren from south Africa  and Christian F. Freisleben from Austria. Weiterlesen

Angewandte Improvisation im Feld Freizeitpädagogik

Schon länger unterrichte ich an der Pädagogischen Hochschule der Diözese Linz im Lehrgang Freizeitpädagogik an einem Wochenende das die Überschrift Theaterpädagogik trägt. Ich setze dort Ansätze und Methoden der angewandten Improvisation um, u. a. als:

  • In verschiedensten Settings sehr einfach und schnell umsetzbare Methoden u.a.:
    • Zur Unterstützung von Lernprozessen bzw. der intensiven Auseinandersetzung mit Inhalten sowie aktuellen Ereignissen
    • Um Wünsche, Erwartungen, Ängste und Bedürfnisse sichtbar zu machen
    • Für Brainstorming
    • Als Methode Klischees und Vorurteile aus neuen Blickwinkeln zu sehen
    • als Triebfeder für eine positive Gruppendynamik
    • als Aktivierungsmöglichkeit von Teilnehmenden
    • zum Umgang mit Konflikten
    • Zur Unterstützung der Integration von neuen Teilnehmenden in die Gruppe oder auch von Personen die dort bislang eher ‚am Rand‘ waren
  • Wege zu Ideen, Textmaterialen, Informationen zu Figuren für szenische Collagen oder auch Theaterstücke

Im Feld Freizeitpädagogik insgesamt und bei Methoden aus der Angewandten Improvisation ist das gegenseitige Kennenlernen ein unverzichtbarer Bestandteil. Auch bei Gruppen, die schon längere Zeit miteinander verbracht haben. Gefördert wird so eine Atmosphäre des gegenseitigen Vertrauens, der Neugier aufeinander, die Auseinandersetzung mit der eigenen und mit anderen Identitäten sowie das bewusste Wahrnehmen gegenseitiger Anknüpfungspunkte.


Improvisation als Startpunkt, zum Kennenlernen, als Annäherung an ‚Herausforderndes‘

Zuletzt hatte ich die große Freude ein Workshop mit Methoden aus Angewandter Improvisation für „Start Oberösterreich“ umzusetzen. Teilnehmende waren acht Jugendliche zwischen 15 und 17, die sich an zwei Tagen beim „Young Leadership Seminar“ für Ihre Tätigkeit als SprecherInnen für die StipendiatInnen vorbereiteten. Start „ist ein Stipendienprogramm, das engagierten Jugendlichen mit Migrationsgeschichte den Maturaabschluss ermöglichen will.“

Mein Auftrag lautete, an einem Abend den Kennenlernprozess zwischen diesen Jugendlichen zu unterstützen und dann – nachdem sie eine Zeitlang mit Birgit Kropik gearbeitet hatten – zu Themen zu arbeiten, die die Jugendlichen als herausfordernd erleben.


Anregungen für innovative didaktische Methoden – Workshop mit/zu Angewandter Improvisation

Ein Workshop (2,5 Stunden) mit etwa 20 haupt- und nebenberufliche Lehrende aller Fachrichtungen der FH Wr. Neustadt (siehe diese Einladung).


Ort ist ein Seminarraum, der zuvor schon etwa für einen Didaktik-Austausch von 26 Lehrenden gedient hatte, bei dem ich dann einen Thementisch zum Inverted Classroom Modell (als Hintergrund siehe diesen – ebenso weitgehend aus meiner Feder stammenden – Bereich des SKILL-Blog) übernahm. Diese Gruppe entschied sich spontan, den Raum aufgrund der Lautstärke zu verlassen – der Austausch der anderen macht eine Konzentration schwierig. Bei dieser Gelegenheit beschließe ich, Wort-Assoziationsspiele im Workshop am Nachmittag, nicht wie angedacht im Gehen, sondern im Sitzen umzusetzen, um den gegenseitigen Fokus nicht zusätzlich durch die Geräusche des Gehens zu erschweren.

Agnes Hofer, vom Institut für persönliche Kompetenzentwicklung, die auch Leiterin einer Arbeitsgruppe zu Hochschuldidaktik ist und mich an die FH Wr. Neustadt eingeladen hat, frägt mich vor der Pause, ob wir den Raum noch umstellen sollen und ich entschließe mich dafür, dies gemeinsam mit der Gruppe zu machen.


Improvisation – Partizipative, kreative und leichtfüßige Zugänge

Rückblick auf ein Seminar am 2. 4. mit 19 Teilnehmenden im Haus der Begegnung in Innsbruck:

Ein thematischer roter Faden waren die Themen „Beteiligung“ und „Partizipation“ sowie „Mitgestaltungsmöglichkeiten“ im Leben.