Today, as usual, we are making it up. What follows is an attempt to break down my approach to improvisational teaching, which is, of course, impossible. This post joins this stream. Please let me know what you think. Thank you.
Improvisation is an act of reflection.
The ability to successfully improvise within a set of parameters, is a sure sign of professionalism in a teaching artist.
Successful improvisation advances the planned goals of a lesson and is the visible peak of a repeatable four-step process that may be completed in an instant, or may unfold over time.
The steps of improvisation for the teaching artist are goal-setting, observing, diagnosing, and responding.
Goal-setting means the teaching artist has a value system, and knows the criteria for success.
Observing means the teaching artist assesses the situation with internalized rubrics and questions.
Diagnosing means the teaching artist evaluates the situation, and imagines prescriptive moves.
Responding means the teaching artist springs into action during the moment of opportunity, trying to steer people toward a more unified understanding.
Even though the elements of preparation, experience, aptitude, and training are its true source, successful improvisation may appear to be solely the fruit of inspiration, but this is an illusion.
Drawing on past experience, and attached to specific learning outcomes, the skillful teaching artist stays in the moment, predicts the future, and transforms whatever is offered into something useful.
Accepting everything, and judging nothing, the slogan of the successful improviser is "Yes, and..."
All of this was sometime a paradox, but experience makes it true.
Also: September - Earth, Wind and Fire