Improvisation: An analytic tool for examining teacher-child interactions in the early childhood classroom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This article explores the use of improvisation (improv) as a lens for viewing and describing teacher-child interactions. The author describes the relationship between the principles of improv and the characteristics of responsive teaching, and how improv can be used as a lens for seeing relational activity. The author hypothesizes that improv would provide a valuable tool for understanding and describing what is happening between teachers and children. An in-depth case study was conducted of an experienced early childhood teacher in a play-based classroom. Analysis was done using both the codes derived from the teacher-child interaction literature and improv theory. Improv analysis offered a nuanced picture of what early childhood teachers are doing in practice. The findings revealed that using improv provides a lens for seeing teacher-child interactions as an ensemble activity and what the teacher is doing in terms of its usefulness to the activity. While this study focused on a single teacher in one classroom, the findings demonstrate the potential of an improv lens for developing and deepening our understanding of early childhood teaching.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)455-470
Number of pages16
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Classroom
  • Improvisation
  • Teacher-child interaction


Dive into the research topics of 'Improvisation: An analytic tool for examining teacher-child interactions in the early childhood classroom'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this