Improvising the Bridge: A Study of Improvisational Teaching Skills and Educational Design in an Arts-Infused Inquiry-Based Science Teaching Context


Associate Professor Oded Ben-Horin

The immediate background for this PHD application is the research project “Improvisation in Teacher Education”, IMTE at Stord/Haugesund University College.

The project will explore two iterations of a cross-disciplinary science and art school intervention with the double aim of studying 1) student teachers’ handling of improvisation within the pedagogical context (as research through interventions), thus exploring the development of improvisational performance within a complex educational reality, and 2)  the educational setting’s design (as research on interventions).

The educational intervention Write a Science Opera (WASO) is an inherently improvisational practice which provides a bridge between music and inquiry-based science education settings. At its heart lies the real-time design of the classroom and lesson’s structure by the pupils according to their cultural perspectives, tastes, and unique social interaction. As such, teachers and pupils must keep inventing these as the project progresses, and no two WASO projects will produce the same results. An improvisational understanding and practice is required in order to imagine, and thereafter simultaneously plan and realize the creative output.

Improvisation in the classroom will be explored through student teachers’ experiencing Simulated Pedagogical Improvisation (SPI) in educational settings, as well as their practicing of specific improvisation training exercises modeled after jazz music pedagogy practices, and which will be developed during the study based on outcomes of its Research.

As a result of this pilot project and the 6 previous projects Oded has developed a learning scenario based on the WASO project at Sagvåg School, which exemplifies the process, and which may be accessed  here.