LP x Improv: The Art of Learning Leadership Through Play
Written by Celine Allarey
Photos courtesy of Karen Ng
In an era full of hugot and pick up lines, when comedic and tragic stories with plot twists intertwine, where does one exactly fit in? In the grand scheme of things, people often find the world too big and their lives too small. Is life really like a big entertainment production where we are merely actors?
These questions were profoundly explored last November 30, through an improv workshop organized by Enderun Colleges’ Leadership Program (LP) and facilitated by Kat Cruz, Steph Chua, Mico Manalaysay, and Sari Estrada, all of which are graduates of Third World Improv.
By applying improvisational activities commonly used in theatre, the whole-day event enabled student leaders from different organizations to discover a new sense of confidence and creativity, as well as cultivate an atmosphere of camaraderie, collaboration, and encouragement, especially now that the school has welcomed senior high school students into the community.
Artistically weaving play with learning, the flow of the workshop centered on three main points in leadership, namely: Trust, Yes And…, and Making Each Other Look Good. Lessons and reflections were then synthesized in group huddles at the end of every category.
Participants got in the mood for some interaction during an icebreaker
Grade 12 student and ARI President Janine Salalila shared, “[My favorite was] ‘Kitty Wants A Corner’ because it helped me overcome my fear of asking questions and made me realize that it is always important to ask in order to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts. I also like the group huddle after because it deepens our understanding of the message of every game we played.”
Asked what leadership skill the workshop helped her understand better, she answered, “Always learn to trust your members and also help them grow as a leader and a person. For once, I let my real self out. At first, I was uncomfortable, but with the help of the people who are around me during that time, I was able to overcome my fear of talking to other people. As a student leader for ARI, I want to let my other members experience an improv workshop.”
On ‘Yes And…’
Facilitators Sari Estrada and Mico Manalaysay demonstrated a witty scene for ‘Yes And…’
For Bea Gonzales, a member of the Leadership Program, the best part of the event was the ‘Yes And…’ game. She shares, “it required us to think on our feet and be able to work with people we’ve never met before. The workshop taught me that most of the time, you’ll have to learn to adjust to the people you work with, what resources you have, and the parameters given. It’s up to you to think out of the box and make do with what you have to achieve your goal.”
She also expressed how she found value in the activities even as a senior. “It’s quite sad that I only got introduced to this kind of training now that I’m on the final stretch of college. I wish the school would expose all younger batches to workshops like this. It was a great experience to be able to attend a workshop alongside the Senior High students. You really learn from them.” 🙂
EES Internal Vice President Stephannie Ong agreed when she said, “The ‘Yes And…’ activities taught me how to accept things as it is and think of ways to make it work instead of wasting time on complaining. It helped me improvise on things in life and be confident and positive, which I believe are key to being a leader. The workshop will be very beneficial to college students as it also teaches how individuals can have fun while learning and improve their confidence by not caring what others would think of them but still be willing to listen to what people will say.”
On Making Each Other Look Good
Facilitator Mico Manalaysay took a groufie with participants after the action-packed workshop
As a new addition to the program, Trisha Vargas said the workshop made her bond with her co-members. She enjoyed ‘Hotseat’ and ‘I am a tree’ the most because, “I really felt the synergy within the group which was a nice experience. I have no problem trusting myself but when it comes to other people in work, it’s hard for me to make sure that people can be relied on. The workshop allowed me to let loose and believe that it won’t be the end of the world if I rely on other people. If it works out, great, but if not, then it’s just a lesson for another time. As someone who likes to fidget and move around a lot, [sedentary] workshops aren’t ideal for me. Luckily, this workshop was pretty active and had a nice balance of talking and activities, so it was a fresh change from what I was used to.”
And for Philip Licup, a senior high student and ARI officer, the last segment of the day helped him improve the way he saw things in retrospect and incorporate better and more specifically targeted ideas into his tasks. “There was this part during the improv where we had to compliment the other and boost their confidence given the fact we know nothing about that person. It pushed me to ask them what they’re like and how can I, as a leader, give you the confidence to become a greater version of you or [find] a better angle for that person to work with. I think that the improv team did an amazing job on what they ‘improved’ on us.”
On Learning From Experience
Lead organizer and LP member Karen Ng was grateful the event was a success. “With this being the first event I’ve headed, it was quite tedious because I wasn’t familiar with the process of handling an event. Ms. Marivic Ignacio was very kind and patient and guided me every step of the way. I also have my team (Amber Masorong, Patricia Valencia, and Armae Panganiban), the Improv Facilitators and especially Dean Ed [Rodriguez] and Sir Wilson [Gan] to thank. The workshop wouldn’t have been what it was without them.”
Drawing from her own story, she said, “Overall it was a very rewarding learning experience for me. From what I’ve observed during the workshop, some of the more shy and reserved students were able to break out of their shell and just let loose and have fun. But ultimately, the success of it all really depends on what the participants picked up from the workshop and on how they would be able to apply what they’ve learned in their everyday lives. Hopefully, it could become an annual event by the Leadership Program as a rite of passage for potential LP members.”
Truly, the Leadership Program lives up to its thrust in training the next generation’s leaders to act out and embrace the roles entrusted to them. With the help of improvisational techniques that equip and empower them, no one becomes too small to create an impact powerful enough to write our world’s next big story.
To know more about Enderun Colleges’ Leadership Program, visit http://ink.enderuncolleges.com/2017/02/21/leadership-program-enderun-colleges-mission-vision-focus/