Flexible Thinking: The power of saying “Yes, and …”

In room 12, we are working on our ability to become “flexible thinkers.” Flexible thinkers can successfully collaborate and work more cooperatively with others.  Practicing a  popular improv drama activity called, “Yes, and…” can help us become more flexible thinkers.

“Yes, and…” is a powerful tool for collaboration and negotiation. Here is how it works: When a classmate presents an idea, room 12 students are practicing by saying, “Yes, and…”

For example, one person might say, “Star Wars is a great movie.” A possible response might be “Yes, and so is Moana!”

The goal of “Yes, and…” is to look at the “bright-side” of a classmate’s idea and build upon it rather than immediately disagreeing. This helps to avoid needless arguments. We call disagreeing statements, “Yeah, but…” or “wet blankets” (because you might be putting out the “fire” of a good idea). Statements that begin with, “Yeah, but…” or “Yes, but…” often lead to arguments. Watch the the “Yes, and…” approach in action in the video below.

During cooperative learning, it is quite common to respond to another person’s idea or opinion with, “Yeah, but.” Just watch this video below:

As you have seen, classmates will often feel upset, frustrated and might not want to work with someone who is being overly critical.

Below are some other videos demonstrating the “Yes, and,” approach.

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