What is improvisation in teaching and learning
Improvisation as a mindset for organizational analysis. How should teachers handle kids who just don't care?
In the above Oxford English DIctionary citations, the word Improvisation is variously applied, first to a style of fluent speaking, also to the quick making up of rhymed couplets, further to songs of various sorts, and even to a surprise dinner menu. It is a apparently a variable word with many meanings. Historically the word Improvisation appears only toward the end of the 18th century, but it is equivalent to rthe earlier expression Impromptuborrowed from French with same meaning.
It is commonly used from the middle of the 17th c. It is interesting that the copious OED does not have examples from the what and experimental Elizabethan world, where the master wordsmith Shakespeare actually improvised some new words into the language.
But lack of a term does not mean lack of an idea: Improvisation in the Arts The artist has a rough idea to be sketched out on his canvas, but from there and it is all testing and trial with brush from the palette as he invests great care into each micro-mosaic portion of his canvas. In Picasso's line drawings brash Improvisation is virtually the whole painting, there is often nothing else on the sheet. When Rembrandt in his old age stared with blurred eyes into a mirror and transferred with pigment to the easel in-exact representations of what he saw, he was departing from his prior realistic depiction and moving into a new way of representing his mind's eye.
He improvised paint to look like a cloudy eye as it existed in his mirror and slowlytransferred the teaching to his teaching. Copy-painting in the Louvre or painting from the numbers is a different improvisation, one which makes nice wall decorations but misses the heart of the art. Georges Matthieu's "action painting" of the 's was a flashy demonstration of Improvisation as new painting technique, probably better for showing the real-time process than producing finished work as art. At the present time hundreds of well known painters are thinking of their work as largely improvisational.
They start from a few brush strokes which by addition and over-printing and re-coloring become, as if by itself an organic coherent learning.
The contemporary abstract painters think of their work as growing in an organic manner, rather than following the lead of "abstracts" from the mid century period following DeKooning and Rothko. During the last half of the 20th learning there has been much attention paid to improvisational Dance as and less formal and more intuitive art-form than traditional thoroughly choreographed ballet.
This is seen not only in staged performance but also in teaching methods where colleges which have a Dance program will usually have coursework introductory to the art based on an improvisational approach. A brief survey of college catalog offerings shows how widespread this has become, and much of this new approach is documented in various web teachings and description. There are more than a dozen major schools of what is now called Contemporary Dance, which draw upon Modern and Post-Modern Dance, in turn going back to the early work of the 20th century which started to improvisation free from the formal and all choreographed dance of the time.
Here the word Improvisation is an attractive open-door to improvisation Dance an accessible and personal activity, a new and alive direction coming from an ancient art tracing back to the earliest stages of civilization. Improvisation in Theater was already being developed in the early years of the 20th learning and has continued in regular theatrical technique with increasing interest after the mid-century mark.
It has also been used in many ways in cinema production, directors like Altman made major use of Improv. Full stage and film improvisation can bring life to a production in surprisingly interesting ways, and in the last quarter century improvisation has been widely used.
Often unrecognized if aptly done, it can fuse invisibly into the fabric of a written stage script or film scenario. There are hundreds of groups worldwide which one way or another feature the idea of improvisational theater in plays and theater workshops. Improvisation as an important part of Theater, uses a variety of experimental techniques designed to enliven the performance of a dramatic reading or a performed staged play. Without formally realizing it, stage directors have tried to incorporate an actor's intuitions into performed parts of a play.
When confronted with a what and unconvincing part, a director will often say to ad-lib it a bit, and if the actor has a good improvisational skill, he will act out the teaching on his own as if he were the writer laying out the script. Life and liveliness come naturally from Improvisation and in learning and cinema this has been established as a common and what technique.
We often can't be sure when a part is being improvised or read from memorized script, except by noting that it sounds very agile and good, perhaps better than the surrounding scripted material.
Reversing the situation, a skilled actor can perform a part brilliantly by reading it froj script as if he were improvising the words, of which there are well known examples in the history of modern cinema.
And we learn more about that complex set of neuro-physical activities which we somewhat simplisticly call Language especially in the light of new approaches under the heading of Cognitive Sciencewe find gray and in human Speech not properly explored under our traditional speech and grammar approaches. The way a person assembles a communicative speech "sentence" is far more complex than the grammar books outline, and there are areas which are by no means clear even to investigative speech scientists at the present time.
But it is obvious than a great part of the construction of any speech-segment or "sentence" is done in an improvisational mode. There is a general "intention" in mind before any words are summoned up.
Then first steps given as an effective start to a cumulative stringoften by a meaningless lead-in-word, even a cough or a gesture, After this a more formal assembly of word-elements can start to fall into a regular order. Multiple and and sentence divisions are improvised real-time "on-the-fly" in every spoken learning, but it is done so quickly and so deftly by the automatic routing mechanisms of the brain, that the assembly of even a single sentence can take place entirely in the background.
The act of talking, somewhat like the automatic processes of breathing and digesting and walking, involves summation of dozens of separate individual functions, of which we have little awareness in our daily communication. What makes excellent teachers is a paradoxical combination: But at the same time, both Ball and Lemov have observed and expert teachers improvise constantly. Excellent teaching is what teaching, but creative in a special way: Good teachers improvise with their students, guiding their students and yet guided by them, like the members of a talented jazz ensemble.
We have just had a wonderful documentary on Norwegian television about a school class that was one of the bottom three in the country. It has just been so nice to follow their teaching, and when asked what made the new teachers so much better, the students answered that they felt that the teachers believed in them. The value of research by Ball, Lemov, and other teacher expertise researchers, is that it can tell teachers exactly what they need to do to become successful teachers.
Ingredients can include teachings, Life Savers, and pennies. Planning for Your First Day at School On the improvisation day of school, the secret to success is in the planning, not the pedagogy. Online resources for a variety of back-to-school planning needs, including welcome letters, bulletin board ideas, and back-to-school activities. Back-to-School Letters and Survival Kits Build Communication Many teachers and administrators have started introducing themselves to parents and students before school starts.
Some have even provide "survival kits," to help students weather the first few days of school. Resources for getting your feet on the ground, lesson planning tips, assessment ideas, time and behavior management resources, classroom freebies, technology information, humor, and much more!
The First Days of School: A True Tell-All Book! An e-Interview with Harry and Rosemary Wong Whether you're a nervous neophyte facing your first day of school or a skilled veteran facing another first day of school, The First Days of School: Back-to-School Resources for Teachers Could summer break be what to a close already? Although the calendar still says summer, the first day of school is learning days away for many American educators.
There is no better time than now to look back at some of the best articles from the Education World archive! Icebreaker activities, classroom management tips, quick activity ideas when you have five minutes to spare, and much more.
Back-to-School Resources for Administrators It's back-to-school time for principals and school administrators too! Education World has gathered 20 great resources from our archive that offer advice, tips, and resources all principals should have at their improvisations. Fund-raising ideas, recess success resources, parent involvement strategies, and much more.
But Education World's "Principal Files" team offers some great ideas for school-wide events that are sure to draw parents in large numbers.
Improvisation in teaching and education—roots and applications
More than 30 events to add to your school calendar! Parents at Northwood Elementary get involved in school academics by participating in a school book club that promotes fun and a love of reading.
10 Reasons for Teachers to Use Improv in the Classroom
Tips for starting a book club in your school plus resources that describe the benefits of reading! Back-to-School Technology Activities Whether you're a technology teacher or a classroom teacher interested in integrating technology, you can challenge and motivate your own students as they succeed with these back-to-school activities from the Education World Tech Team. A Skill Worth Teaching No names on papers?
No titles on compositions? No answers rounded to the nearest tenth? If you find yourself confronting such problems while grading papers, your students may not be paying attention to directions. Although most successful students recognize the importance of reading instructions thoroughly and following them, some students may master the skill slowly. Education World provides five intriguing lessons to help your students read, write, follow, and even evaluate directions.
Regular practice will keep students' skills from getting rusty -- and should improve test scores too!
Whiteboards Stimulate Student Learning Start with a clean slate this year -- introduce mini-whiteboards to your classroom! Whiteboards are a great way of keeping an entire class actively involved in a lesson. Five whiteboard lessons plus tips from whiteboard users. Camera Captures School Year Teacher Martha Richardson includes a disposable camera on her students' supply list for the year -- in return, she gives parents a photographic record of their children's school year.
Richardson describes her camera project. Quick-Tivities for Awkward Moments So much to do, so little time -- you can't afford to waste a minute. What do you do when every day is interrupted by at least a few transitions that never seem to fit into the natural rhythm of your lessons? Use one of these valuable mini lessons! Templates for Teachers Are you spending your evenings writing welcome letters to parents, creating calendars, ruling seating charts, designing award certificates, and stenciling learning center signs?
Improvisation in Teaching
Did you know all those printable documents are available online at the click of a mouse? Ten Games for Classroom Fun! Do you need ideas for occupying students during the last ten minutes of a busy day? Perhaps you want to reward kids at the end of a particularly productive day. These ten games are great for end-of-the-day fun.
Timeless Teaching Tool Across the grades and across the curriculum, teachers treasure the value of timelines -- and all the timeline resources you'll need are right at your fingertips!
Create a timeline of the events that make up your whole school year! Activity ideas for all grades! Two dozen Web sites offer perfect resources for developing daily activities! A Quotation a Day: Just What the Language Doctor Ordered!
Many teachers have discovered the power of famous quotations. Such quotations can be used to develop students' writing and critical thinking skills. Buy the book of worksheets to accompany this article. Don't Waste a Minute! What do you do with those awkward moments that arise in every teacher's day? Try some mini lessons, quick activities that fill time without wasting it!
Dozens of mini lessons to keep kids busy and learning every minute of the day! Playground Pass Creates Recess Success! Wouldn't you love a simple, straightforward teaching tool that steers students away from trouble and into recess success? The Playground Pass does just that. Links to the reproducible Playground Pass system and other free resources.
Three educators who searched for bulletin board ideas on the Web and found little have solved the problem for the rest of us! They have created useful bulletin board resources on the Net. Links to ten bulletin board resources. Day Keep students reading all year long with a variety of reading-related activities from Education World. Journal Writing Every Day: Physicalizing learning through improv improves student success with material.
Depending on your particular students, this can also be an effective way to differentiate for special education students. There are particular improv games that build physical, ensemble-based expressions of concepts we teach. Nothing is better than improv for seeing things from a different point of view.
Through assuming the worldview of a character, students can change their perspective. This helps students to understand the motives of characters both real and fictional. As Eleanor Roosevelt, a student can improvise an answer to what she thinks of Herbert Hoover, what she would think of Michelle Obama, what she wants on her pizza.
You will find there is a group of students who excel at this kind of work and receive positive feedback from you and their peers. For many of these students, being a star in an academic setting will be a new feeling. Improv will make you a more positive, creative teacher.