2020 – 27th Annual Conference, Belgrade

Speakers, Presentations & Workshops

Ryan Sandberg

Theatre Improv Games for Receptive and Productive Skills

Our workshop would include 4 presenters (1 teacher, and 3 students from our IT-systems specialist track) who will demonstrate various improv games that can be used in the classroom or with extra-curricular activities and electives. The workshop would explain the helpfulness of improvised speech to facilitate natural speaking, and the receptive skills needed to work well in a group. Improv follows 1 simple rule: never say “no”. This is a tactic that propels the ideas forward and creates cooperation amongst the participants. There are various types of improv games we will demonstrate which have different rules and levels of difficulty, and then the audience will be able to participate in the games as well. These games are targeted at adult learners, though young teens enjoy them a lot as well. Improv can help to build confidence, broaden vocabulary, and demonstrate real-world, and often hilarious, situations, which can take a student’s language learning to the next level.

We had previously submitted an idea for incorporating drama and film into the ESL classroom, and some of the students from my school proposed a more specific workshop. These proposals could work in unison.


Andres Heinsoo, Madis Järve and Liivar Rehela are 3rd year students studying for a certificate as Junior-Level IT Systems Specialists. The students grew up in Viljandi, Estonia, and recruited their American English teacher–Ryan Sandberg–to spearhead their improv troupe. Ryan has a background in film, TV and live theatre, having worked many years in the field in NYC, LA, and also Australia and New Zealand. The students improv group, “A Cat Named Holger”, is in its 2nd year. They previously held an improv demonstration workshop for delegates from Latvia and Lithuania for a joint Nordplus Junior project, which brought schools together to share ideas about education and learning. They also work alongside the filmmaking class to bring to life many of the projects filmed for the school, including short films, commercials, and social media videos.