We use improvisational techniques, games, and thinking patterns to benefit English language acquisition
Improvisational techniques are highly effective for teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) students. They encourage direct action in the language in a supportive, fun, and creative environment. In such an environment, language use becomes free and spontaneous, participation increases, and inhibitions and fears dissipate. We incorporate many improvisational techniques in your ESL classroom:
Students develop their own scenarios in situations that they generate organically. In those scenarios, they can take on different characters and deal with infinite situations.
This helps them practice vocabulary and sentence structures in a contextualized and practical way.
Students practice all these techniques on their feet, which augments the mind/body learning connection and integrates students into the group.
An increase in stamina has been known to increase concept retention.
We emphasize collaborative storytelling. In such a framework, students feel free to use new language tools without fearing "wrong answers."
We use existing and created songs in English to enhance vocabulary and grammar.
Students can create their own songs or change the lyrics of a known song to include the target vocabulary or grammar point.
We introduce many word association games, such as Tryptic, Convergence, First Letter/Last Letter, and many more.
This helps them to think and respond quickly in English and also expands their vocabulary.
We help acquisition of English through a THREE-LEVELS of fun, educational, innovative opportunities.
Two Y Dos + Workshop
This program experience has two parts:
A 20-minute improvised performance in both English and Spanish. Our Two Y Dos duo performs from audience suggestions two stories--one primarily in English and one primarily in Spanish, switching back and forth. While both are experienced improvisers, they each struggle in their non-native language and will share their struggle with the participants, who watch them using tools to create spontaneous speech. This performance allows the students to see the workshop team struggling with their problems in their non-native language, and it makes a freer, fun environment for the second part of the event.
A 90-minute improv workshop. In this session, David Diestre and Louis Wells guide the group through improvisation games to engage the students in language use with each other.
Who Are We
Two Y Dos + Workshop
Maria Aladren is a pedagogy expert with twenty-five years of experience teaching adolescents and college students. She developed a conservatory high school in East Brunswick, NJ, and has been a professor and course creator at Kean University, NJIT, Rutgers University, and Union College. She has used and developed various pedagogical techniques to improve subject acquisition and creative thinking, including flipped classroom, project-based learning (PBL), blended learning (including the development of swarm pedagogy), service-learning, design thinking, STEAM education, and maker spaces. She has presented pedagogical work in NJCU ("The College-Wide Novel as a Collaborative Approach to Antiracist Pedagogy"), NJCEA ("STEM to STEAM in Practice"), Union County ("Facilitating a HYFlex Class in Humanities"), neMLA in Washington DC ("Using responsive Technology in the Humanities"), NJIT ("Forum Theatre in Gender Dynamics"), Applied Improv Network in Paris ("Using Improvisation to unlock creative writing"), among others.
Her directing work heavily informs her teaching philosophy. She has used theatre and improvisation as pedagogical tools to teach all STEAM subjects and increase her students' creativity.
She has been nominated for two Education Tonys and the Northwestern Schapiro Award for excellence. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Stage Directing from the University of Texas, a Master of Arts in Dramaturgy from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Classical Linguistics from Brigham Young University.