Keynote speaker: Professor Anna-Lena Østern
Time: Tuesday 9th June 12:30 – 14:00
Title:Narrative philosophy in improvisational theatre. A lecture performance with the playback theatre group Theatre Momentum Quartet
In everyday life as well as in education narratives are central. Experiences are narrated through the stories we tell. Through narratives a person becomes articulated and present. When people share stories the dimensions of the story like temporality, sociality and place, might be broadened and deepened. When a story is told anew, it transforms. It becomes restoried. In this key note lecture performance the audience meets their own stories restoried in an improvisational, embodied, multimodal performance by Theatre Momentum quartet. The structure and dramaturgy of the performance improvisation is mirrored in the narrative philosophy of Paul Ricoeur. The key note underlines the importance of embodied, multimodal improvisation in storytelling in educational context.
Anna-Lena Østern is a professor in arts education at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway. She is scientific leader of the national graduate school NAFOL. Østern’s research interests concern multimodal educational design, aesthetic approaches to learning, and supervision in teacher education and research.
Keynote speaker: Professor Keith Sawyer
Time: Wednesday 10th June, 09:00 – 10:30
Title: Teaching as disciplined improvisation
Abstract: Teacher researchers have found that experienced teachers have a greater repertoire of scripts than novice teachers—standard sequences of activities, or responses to students, that work in specific situations. But researchers have also found that experienced teachers are better at improvising in response to each class’s unique flow; in fact, they tended to spend less advance time planning than novice teachers. Experienced teachers do two apparently contradictory things: they use more structures, and yet they improvise more. This research suggests that the challenge facing every teacher and every school is to find the balance of structure and improvisation that will optimize student learning. The best teaching is disciplined improvisation because it always occurs within broad structures and frameworks. Conceiving of teaching as disciplined improvisation highlights the collaborative and emergent nature of effective classroom practice, helps us to understand how curriculum materials relate to classroom practice, and shows why teaching is a creative art.
Dr. R. Keith Sawyer is internationally known as an expert in the learning sciences and in the psychology of creativity. The last years he has been strongly associated with the phenomenon of improvisation in education. Sawyer has published several scholarly articles and is editor of several books, like “Structure and improvisation in Creative Teaching”.
Keynote speaker: Professor Gert Biesta
Time: Thursday 11th June, 09:00 -10:30
Title: Virtuosity in teaching: On improvisation and embodied judgement
Abstract: There seems to be a prima facie case for the role of improvisation in teaching. After all, the only way in which education can do without improvisation is when not only teachers act according to pre-designed scripts but when student do this as well. While the first idea is what some policy makers and educational researchers would see as ideal – based on the mistaken assumption that it would ensure a certain standard of quality – the second idea, that students would act according to pre-defines script as well, appears to be more absurd (which does not mean that education may not be moving in this direction). In my own work I have been particularly interested in the question what would guide teachers’ improvisation and in my view a key reference point for teacher improvisation concerns the purpose of the practice. Teachers thus need to work with an informed understanding of what education is for. What makes education interesting, and perhaps adds to the need for improvisation, is that in education the question of purpose is a multi-dimensional question, which requires that all thinking and doing in education is multi-dimensional itself as well. Engagement with this complexity requires the ability for situated and embodied judgement – which, in some of my writings, I have referred to as ‘virtuosity’. In my presentation I will present some of these ideas in more detail, both raising questions about the particular kind of virtuosity that is needed in education, and about the way in which students teachers might work on their own educational virtuosity. A final point I wish to make in my contribution has to do with the question what the ‘object’ of teachers’ virtuosity is, where I will argue that ultimately teaching has to refer to what not exist in the present but may exist in the future. This work with the unforeseen adds an additional dimension to the improvisational work of teaching.
Gert Biesta (www.gertbiesta.com) is Professor of Education and Director of Research at Brunel University London, UK, and Visiting Professor for Art Education at ArtEZ Institute of the Arts, the Netherlands. From 2015 onwards he is a member of the Education Council of the Netherlands, the educational advisory body for the Dutch government and parliament. His work focuses on the theory of education and the theory and philosophy of educational and social research. His latest book, The Beautiful Risk of Education (2014) won the AERA Division B 2014 Outstanding Book Award. He is currently working on a new book, titled ‘The Rediscovery of Teaching.’