Improvisation in the Lecture Classroom

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Slideshow to accompany Christopher J Smith presentation on "Improvisation in the Lecture Classroom", Texas Tech University Musicology Colloquium series, Feb 4 2010.

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  • hence, improvisation is an absolutely ubiquitous, essential, fundamental for human interaction
  • What is it not: “intuitive”; “instinctive”; “a talent”; “innate”
  • Conventional definitions of “improvisation” tend to reference theatrical or musical improvisation, yet every conversation is actually an improvisation; hence, we all have thousands of hours of practice at this
  • not a linear progression or narrative, but rather the mutual, collaborative mapping of a terrain: recognizing its landmarks and their relationship to one another, demonstrating connections and orientations, providing students the opportunity to practice mapping and navigating that terrain
  • The outdoor sport of orienteering: “a family of sports that requires navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain”
  • almost all improvisation occurs within strictures and according to received/internalized expectations. In improvisation, strictures and expectations are useful guides.
  • In the classroom, the goal of improvisation is to achieve maximal focus of shared attention, and to clearly and in an energized fashion direct that shared focus, maintaining contrast & flow, attention and open-ness
  • In the classroom, the goal of improvisation is to achieve maximal focus of shared attention, and to clearly and in an energized fashion direct that shared focus, maintaining contrast & flow, attention and open-ness
  • Undergrad non-majors (large populations)Undergrad majors (medium populations)Graduate students (small populations)
  • Contrasting:largemediumsmall
  • addressing multiple modesminimizing text information; conceiving text at “visual prompt”
  • focus & attentionthe “present moment”detailwide-angle” & “zoomed-in” perspectivesconsciousness: shape/space/stance/breath/time/energy
  • promptsmnemonicstimelineskeywordschecklistsverbal formulaevocabularyphysical cuesweaning from the linear narrative
  • rhetoricmodelsverbal poetrycomedytheaterpresentation techniqueother communicative forms
  • CritiqueExperimentDrillSynthesisRefinementRepetition
  • introduce topic“student” good and bad responses“lecturer” call-and-response w/ adjectival & connotative choices
  • Improvisation in the Lecture Classroom

    1. 1. Traversing the terrain: Developing a personal approach to classroom improvisation<br />
    2. 2. Disclaimer:<br />
    3. 3. Improvisation is:<br />“the spontaneous selection and combination of pieces of information to create a unique and effective communication”<br />
    4. 4. What it’s not<br />
    5. 5. The widest definition<br />
    6. 6. Model: A map of the terrain<br />
    7. 7. Orienteering:<br />“a family of sports that requires navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain”<br />
    8. 8. Recognition: strictures & expectations<br />
    9. 9. Goal: focus, flow, attention, energy<br />
    10. 10. Ethos: the zone<br />
    11. 11. venues and clienteles<br />
    12. 12. scope and amplitude<br />
    13. 13. Learning styles<br />
    14. 14. Needs:<br /><ul><li>focus & attention
    15. 15. the “present moment”
    16. 16. detail
    17. 17. wide-angle” & “zoomed-in” perspectives
    18. 18. consciousness: </li></ul>shape/space/stance/breath/time/energy<br />
    19. 19. Tools:<br /><ul><li>prompts
    20. 20. mnemonics
    21. 21. timelines
    22. 22. keywords
    23. 23. checklists
    24. 24. verbal formulae
    25. 25. vocabulary
    26. 26. physical cues
    27. 27. weaning from the linear narrative</li></li></ul><li>Sources:<br /><ul><li>rhetoric
    28. 28. models
    29. 29. verbal poetry
    30. 30. comedy
    31. 31. theater
    32. 32. presentation technique
    33. 33. other communicative forms</li></li></ul><li>Examples/exercises<br />
    34. 34. A Formula<br /><ul><li>Critique
    35. 35. Experiment
    36. 36. Drill
    37. 37. Synthesis
    38. 38. Refinement
    39. 39. Repetition</li></li></ul><li>I. Mapping exercise<br />word-association<br />movement<br />graphic representation<br />
    40. 40. II. Connotative exercise<br />topic<br />“student” responses<br />adjectival & connotative call-and-response<br />
    41. 41. Disclaimer:<br />Find your OWN way.<br />

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