Theater Improvisation Promoting Interpersonal Confidence of Student Teachers: A Controlled Intervention Study

Sirke Seppänen, Kaisa Tiippana, Iiro Jääskeläinen, Tapio Toivanen

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This study examined the effects of a theater-based improvisation method for promoting student-teachers’ self-rated social interaction competence. 39 undergraduate students participated in an intervention study applying the improvisation method in the context of teacher education. The intervention group (N=19) were trained in the basics of improvisation (7 weeks x 2.5 h) and the control group (N=18) received a shorter improvisation course after the study (2 days x 3.5 h). Participants filled out two self-report questionnaires assessing their interpersonal confidence and self-esteem before and after the intervention. Our results show that self-rated interpersonal confidence increased significantly for those participants, who scored low in the pre-test. On the other hand, there were no between-group differences in self-esteem. This might be due to more consistent nature of self-esteem, comparable to basic personality traits such as extraversion or neuroticism. The results of the study indicate that a relatively short improvisation intervention promotes the interpersonal confidence of those teacher-students who need it the most. This result concurs with previous studies, suggesting that including improvisation method in teacher education curricula can enhance teacher-students’ social interaction capabilities and their responsive teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2770-2788
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • improvisation
  • interpersonal confidence
  • social interaction
  • teacher education
  • drama education


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