Research, MOOCS and what’s next?

September 29th, 2014

While I blog to keep track of my own thinking and ideas, I’m conscious that there’s others out there who read what’s here.


It was nearly exactly (I know, that’s nonsense and what I really mean to say is ‘almost’) a year since I decided to do some research, the reasons of which are still obscure even to me. I’ve blundered around exploring ideas, reading, interviewing, spent some time at Oxford, met lots of great people, am becoming more and more curious, and less and less focused. I think.

It’s odd, this feeling of ‘isolated connectedness’ – that’s my term to describe how it feels. Maybe it’s how all researchers feel.

Anyway, this post is to alert you, and remind me, that I often make sense by writing, and writing here on my blog is where I do that. So I won’t be offended if you find something better to do.

I’m excited by the intersection of three MOOCS I’m doing, all offered on the FutureLearn platform. I can feel a whole lot of threads coming together, in fact, I’m impatient for that to happen, and grateful that the weekly pacing of the MOOCS enforce a much slower pace. I’m practicing patience, and giving my brain a chance to make connections that I’ve yet to think of. Impatient, excited, uncertain. Yes.


Turn taking

March 25th, 2014

The advantage in doing some research into applied improv is that I’m reading a lot – especially books that have sat on my bookshelf, largely unread for a long time. The disadvantage is that i get distracted easily and end up writing blog posts!

In The Improv Handbook by Tom Salinsky and Deborah Frances-White, subtitled The ultimate guide to improvising in comedy, theatre, and beyond (no shrinking violets here) I was struck by a comment on turn taking.

Children approach playing games, or doing exercises or being given the chance to try something new, very differently from adults. Children approach these situations with one mission, and that mission is to have lots of turns. They sometimes actually rate their success that way, saying something like “I had four turns and Charlie only had three – I win!”

Adults are very different. We want to sit back, assess – from our seats! – whether we’d be any good at the task in question. If we think we’d be successful at it, then and only then will we want a turn. If we think it is something we would not be good at, we usually prefer to have no turn at all.

Children want lots of turns, but adults just want one perfect turn.

This is worth remembering. I don’t have any answers to this dilemma. It’s another interesting question to emerge from researching applied improv.