Creativity in Motion Creates Knowledge
Those five words pretty much sums up the purpose and intention of Improvability and The Fulton Method.
For the past twenty years of my life I’ve been teaching improvisation to children for the purpose of pre-wiring their brain for whatever their future has in store.
Wait, first let me give you a brief history. I have been improvising since I was thirteen years old. I was non-diagnosed dyslexic and I struggled with learning. Even as a kid, I truly believed I had no future or purpose.
But then I was part of an experimental class as a freshman when the drama teacher wanted to see if he could teach improvisation to kids. I was one of the lucky sixteen that was chosen. It was during one of these classes very early on when a single exercise showed me that I did in fact have a future and that it was limitless. I realized that improv was changing my brain and opening me up to limitless possibilities.
From that point on I looked for any little hidden gems in every exercise we ever did to see how I could use it in my life and build my confidence. As such, because of improv, I wound up graduating on the honor roll.
Okay, so let’s fast forward now to about 1998, when I met my mentor, the late great improviser Avery Schreiber. It was Avery who not only helped me hone my skills, but also put the idea in my head to teach improv. By now I was in my late 30s and it had never occurred to me that this was something I could do. I decided to give it a go. I stared teaching adults and quickly realized that was going to be a pain. They were so left-brain analytical about every little thing they did for fear of not doing it right instead of just allowing themselves to be free and spontaneous. I got to the point where it was so frustrating that I went ranting to Avery. During my rant I mentioned that kids are just easier to teach because they’re so open and willing to simply play. That’s when Avery said, “So why don’t you teach kids?”
He was absolutely right. I had a different take on improv that nobody else had. I didn’t give a damn about shows or how funny somebody was. I was more interested in challenging their brain so that they could uncover abilities and potentials like I did at their age. Improv in and of itself just brought it out and exposed it. But I was the only one actually looking for other uses besides entertainment. I needed improv to survive and I knew there was so much these kids could get from it. Improv taught me that my mind was better than okay, that I did have a voice that was valid and was meant to be heard I became far more confident and assertive, something I never imagined could ever happen to me. But beyond that it also taught me vision with self efficacy enough to give me incredible incentive to fearlessly go for it, whatever that it was in my life.
I learned because I experienced and I realized that was the key to everything. I would experiment and try different things when facing a problem, essentially improvising through my life. That vision got tested, and that test was experienced, and that experience became knowledge. That is why I realized I had something special to offer to this perfect art form. I could help children and adults discover what they’re truly made of and how they could be confident, to be heard, to grow and to learn. They could use this to become problem solvers of whatever lied ahead for them. That is the heart of what The Fulton Method is all about.
My school Total Improv Kids was founded in 1999 and continually served kids of all educational, social and economic backgrounds. I made a promise to the kids who truly wanted to be there but couldn’t afford it, that if they were willing to commit to coming consistently that there would always be a seat for them. It was a place where they could talk about real issues from somebody who wasn’t trying to be authoritative over them, but rather an equal. Every class was an even playing field. This was a place where they got to make their own decisions and make their own choices and have a voice in every lesson.
Over the years, The Fulton method has developed even more, especially as I’ve studied and learned more about the science behind what I’m doing and why it works. In fact, I’ve always told my students that they weren’t just my students, they were also my lab rats. I told them that I was there to play with their brain and to see what we could dig up that they didn’t know was in there. Who wouldn’t be up for that especially when it’s done by playing games and having fun, right?
As my school grew, so did my desire to reach out to other teachers, coaches, and anyone else who worked with kids and share what I’ve learned. Over the past few years, I’ve started teaching teachers as we all look together to find ways to reach kids and help them unlock their true potential. That’s what Improvability LLC is all about
I can’t tell you how stunned I was in 2018 to find myself speaking at a conference about improvisation and child development in Paris! From that point forward, interest in my method started pouring in from almost every continent around the world. It was also just as stunning to find myself in Vienna the next year teaching the children of the ambassadors and the diplomats who worked at the United Nations there. I have many other trips planned and I am eager to learn more and to share every new discovery I make.
Because my life is all about that concept of creativity in motion creates knowledge.