Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

On improvisation, learning, and literacy
by Welsh, Ryan Charles, Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2014, 196; 3636175
Abstract (Summary)

Previously, improvisation has served as a term for describing a quality of the action taking place in classrooms between teachers and students. This project begins to theorize a way of understanding embodied literacies and scenes of learning through a lens of improvisation that enhances the description and better equips researchers to analyze this quality. This project synthesizes numerous research threads and theories from theater (Halpern, 1994, 2005; Johnstone, 1992; Spolin, 1999), anthropology (Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner, & Cain, 2003), psychology (Sawyer, 2011b; Vygotsky, 1978), and literary theory (Bakhtin, 1981) in an effort to provide a theory of improvisation that could be deployed in future qualitative studies or serve as a way for literacy teachers to think about their classrooms. A theory of improvisation enables qualitative researchers in the field of education to acquire a more thorough understanding of the way literacies are an improvised process in scenes of learning. This project is necessary because no such theory yet exists. As part of theorizing literacy and improvisation, I draw upon scenes from my own teaching and from theatrical improvisation. I analyze these moments to illustrate various theoretical premises such as instances of "yes, and-ing" that carry a scene of learning forward. This theory building and analysis amount to a first iteration of improv theory.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Brannon, Lil
Commitee: Coffey, Heather, Knoblauch, Cy, Taylor, Bruce
School: The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Department: Curriculum and Instruction
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 76/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Literacy, Reading instruction, Education philosophy
Keywords: Improvisation, Learning, Literacy, Performance, Theory
Publication Number: 3636175
ISBN: 978-1-321-17602-5
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