Baker Sennett Matusov School Performa

Powerful Essays
Topics: Education
chapter 9

School “Performance”:
Improvisational Processes in
Development and Education*
JacQue!yn Baker-Sennett
University of British Columbia
Eugene Matusov
University of California, Santa Cruz

Dr. Baker-Sennett and Dr. Matusov study the development of planning skills.
With Barbara Rogoff and others, they have studied the collective improvisational skills that children employ while developing puppet and other theatrical performances. In this chapter, they describe this “playcrafting” work, and extend their discussion to emphasize a variety of ways that improvisational performances unfold in classrooms.
Classroom interactions are often improvisational encounters, and the teacher often acts as a sort of performer. But the application of performance to educational settings goes beyond the notion of “teacher as performer.” Rather, contemporary research in education focuses on the beneJits of collaborative, participatory learning, in which the students take an active role, in rich unstructured interactions with both the teachers and with other students. In this view, the classroom is a “community of learners.” In this type of learning environment, the researcher must consider the joint performances of all of the participants, not only the teacher. A collaborating group can be considered to be conducting an improvised performance, since such interactions are not structured in advance.

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*This article is a revision and expansion of ideas presented in Baker-Sennett, J. (1995).
Improvisation, planificacion y el proceso creative (Improvisation, planning, and the creative process), Infancia y aprendizaje, 70, 111-126. We would like to thank Barbara Rogoff for helpful suggestions on this paper and for her guidance and collaborative support.
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BAKER-SENNETT

& MATUSOV

The authors review a wide range of contemporary research on improvisational classrooms and on teaching as improvisation. For example, they argue that experienced teachers use a more



References: Bailey, D. (1980). Improvisation: Its nature and practice in music. Ashbourne, Derbyshire, U.K.: Moorland Publishing. Baker-Sennett, J., & Ceci, S. (1996). Cognitive insights: Examining clue-efficiency and strategies related to discovery. Journal of Creatiue Behavior, 30, 153-172. Baker-Sennett, J., Matusov, E., & Rogoff, B. (1992). Social processes of creativity and planning: Illustrated by children’s playcrafting Baker-Sennett, J., Matusov, E., & Rogoff, B. (March 1995). Collaborative planning of classroom plays with child and adult direction Bateson, M. C. (1990). Composing a life. New York: Penguin Books. Borko, H., & Livingston, C. (1989). Cognition and improvisation: Differences in mathematics instruction by expert and novice teachers Brissett, D., & Edgley, C. (1990). Life as theater: A dramaturgical sourcebook. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. Brookfield, S. D. (1986). Understanding and facilitating adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Bruner, J. (1973). Beyond the information given: Studies in the psychology of knowing. Burke, K. (1966). Language as symbolic action: Essays on life, literature, and method. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper and Collins Dewey, J. (1963). Experience and education. New York: Collier Books. Dewey, J. (1990). The school and society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Donmoyer, R. (1983, January). Pedagogical improvisation. Educational Leadership, 39-43. Engestrom, Y., & Kallinen, T (1988). Theatre as a model system for learning to create Ferand, E. T. (1961). Improvisation in nine centuries of Western music. Koln, Germany: Arno Volk Verlag Hans Gerig KG. Frost, A., & Yarrow, R. (1990). Improvisation in drama. London: Macmillan Education Ltd. Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Doubleday & co. Heathcote, D., & Herbert, l? (1985). A drama of learning: Mantle of the expert. Johnstone, K. (1979). Impro: Improvisation and the theatre. London: Faber and Faber. Lave, J. (1988). Cognition in practice: Mind, mathematics and culture in everyday life. Leont’ev, A. N. (1978). Activity, consciousness, and personality. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. McLaren, P. (1986/l 993). Schooling as a ritual performance: Towards a political economy of educational symbols and gestures. London: Routledge. Meacham, J. A. (1984). The social basis of intentional action. Human Development, 27, 119-123. Moll, I., & Whitmore, K. (1993). Vygotsky in classroom practice: Moving from individual transmission to social transaction Palincsar, A. 8, Brown, A. L., SC Campione, J. C. (1993). First-grade dialogues for knowledge acquisition and use Randall, R. A. (1987). Planning in cross-cultural settings. In S. L. Friedman, E. Robinson, D. (1985). Chaplin: His life and art. New York: McGraw-Hill. Rogoff, B. (1990). Apprenticeship in thinking: Cognitive development in social context. Rogoff, B. (1994). Developing understanding of the idea of communities of learners Rogoff, B., Baker-Sennett, J., & Matusov, E. (1994). A sociocultural perspective on the concept of planning Rogoff, B., Gauvain, M., & Gardner, W. (1987). The development of children’s skills in adjusting plans to circumstances Root-Bernstein, R. (1988, MaylJune). Setting the stage for discovery. The Sciences. Rudlin, J. (1986).Jacques Copeau. New York: Cambridge University Press. Sawyer, R. K. (1995). Creativity as mediated action: A comparison of improvisational performance and product creativity. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 2, 172-191. Schechner, R. (1985). Between theater and anthropology. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Schwartz, P., & Ogilvy, J. (1979). The emergent paradigm: Changing patterns of thought and belief Spolin, V (1963). Improvisation for the theatre. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. Stanislavsky, K. (1946). An actor prepares. New York: Theatre Arts Books. Stanislavsky, K. (1949). Building a character. New York: Theatre Arts Books. Stanislavsky, K. (1961). Creating a role. New York: Theatre Arts Books. Stanislavsky, K. (1962). Stanislavsky on the art of the stage. (trans. by D. Magarshack). New York: Hill & Wang. Tharp, R. G., & Gallimore, R. (1988). Kousing minds to life: Teaching, learning, and schooling in social context Wells, G., Chang, G. L., & Maher, A. (1990). Creating classroom communities of literate thinkers Wertsch, J. (1991). Voices of the mind. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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