The power of improvisational teaching

M. Elizabeth Graue, Kristin Lyn Whyte, Anne Elizabeth Karabon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In this study we examine how improvisation can facilitate understanding how teachers respond to children's multiple resources, interests, experiences, and skills in early childhood programs. Improvisation is conceptualized as a responsive, partnered activity through which teachers and children generate meaning and knowledge together. In our analysis we show improvisation is taken up differently in two classrooms and how it variably provides opportunities for learning. Two cases from a professional development program designed to support culturally and developmentally appropriate early mathematics are used to demonstrate the possibilities improvisation creates in era of increasing standardization of curriculum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalTeaching and Teacher Education
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Curriculum
  • Early childhood education
  • Funds of knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Professional development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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