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Uses of Improvisation and learning resources in School


Improvisation in English language is an element of creativity and resource- fulness, it is the use of local resources in our immediate environment to build, construct, mould or make instructional teaching-learning materials that can assist in the smooth dissemination and transfer of knowledge from teachers to students, or coaches to athletes. The result of improvisation in English language must be functional, must merit social and scientific recognition, operation and function. It should have the utilitarian value (Umar 2002 and Johnson 2005). Improvisation in English language reveals that there are possibilities of alternatives to teaching and learning aids. It should therefore meet specific teaching and learning situation. Improvisation in English language is said to be an act of designing a replica of standard equipment to play the role it is designated for. It is also an act of using alternative resources to facilitate instructions for teaching wherever there is lack or specific first-hand teaching aids (Johnson, 1999 and Tikon 2006). Improvisation in English language develops skills in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains. Improvisation in English language has become imperative in teaching and learning because the economic situation makes the cost of facilities and equipment very high amidst decreasing or near lack of purchasing power.

Even if facilities and equipment are available, the increasing enrolment of pupils/students into schools and increasing number of sport lovers amidst static or decreasing facilities and equipment still pose .the problem of insufficiency of facilities and equipment. Improvisation in English language is an answer to the problem associated with storage, repair, replacement, replenishment of consum- able components of commercially available materials and also a solution to the problem of intensive training of teachers and students who will use the facilities and equipment. The qualities of improvisation in English language - talents include creativities or resourcefulness and rich imagination that are transformable into realities. The local resources can be remolded and used to satisfy the quest for knowledge in the schools, improvisation in English language is also the adoptive ability of a resourceful teacher to produce facilities and equipment locally at low profile for teaching-learning processes (Lawan 2005).

Talabi (1998) in Olajide (2007) sees sports facilities as the physical structures constructed for the use of sports and are generally the immovable structures like pitches swimming pools, courts, halls etc and that facilities has quality which makes learning or doing things easy or simple. In the same vein, Bucher and Krotee (2002) also observed that in physical education and sports instructional domain, all types of equipment and supplies like the balls, apparatus, nets, standard implements etc will be needed for the conduct of individual and team sports as well as for other physical activities (considering the increase number of enrolment and also increase in the number of sport lovers) sport programmes use supplies and equipment that cost a lot of money. Such materials are vital to the health and safety of participants, to good playing condition and to values derived from the programme. It is therefore, of paramount importance that alternative method of improvisation in English language must be used to see that physical education and sports programmes have the facilities, equipment and supplies necessary to conduct quality programmes. The improvised facilities and equipment must be well planned, carefully developed, made sufficient, and appropriately utilized to suit the sporting programme need at a particular period. Such methods as renovating existing plants, retrofitting and converting existing structures and instituting multiple uses of present facilities are methods that will in no small measure see to conduct of quality sporting programmes (Obiyemi, Adesoye and Ojo 2006).

Most of the factors on analytical work and improvisation in English language emphasize abilities. That is aptitudes of people, which reckon on what they can do, particularly with their hands. An improviser is resourceful, innovative both in thoughts and results (outputs or products). Improvisation in English language is an element of creativity. It is the use of local resources in our immediate environment to build, construct or mould or make instructional teaching learning materials that can assist in the smooth dissemination and transfer of knowledge from teachers to students (Lawan 2005). The purpose of this paper is to find out the need for improvisation in English language and whether improvisation in English language of facilities and equipment in sports still instills resourcefulness, skills and creativeness in the leamer, the teacher, sport lovers and the administrators to the maximum potentials.

Learning resources have been defined by various authors. For example, Obanya (1989) viewed them as didactic materials thing which are supposed to make learning and teaching possible. According to Abdullahi (1982), learning resources are materials or tools locally made or imported that could made tremendous enhancement of lesson impact if intelligently used. Ikerionwu (Isola, 2010) referred to them as objects or devices, which help the teacher to make a lesson much clearer to the learner. Learning resources are also described as concrete or physical objects which provide sound, visual or both to the sense organs during teaching (Agina-obu, 2005).

Learning resources have been defined by various authors. For example, Obanya (1989) viewed them as didactic materials thing which are supposed to make learning and teaching possible. According to Abdullahi (1982), learning resources are materials or tools locally made or imported that could made tremendous enhancement of lesson impact if intelligently used. Ikerionwu (Isola, 2010) referred to them as objects or devices, which help the teacher to make a lesson much clearer to the learner. Learning resources are also described as concrete or physical objects which provide sound, visual or both to the sense organs during teaching (Agina-obu, 2005). Learning resources are in various classes, such as audio or aural, visual or audio- visual. Thus , audio learning resources refer to those devices that make use of the sense of hearing only, like radio, audio tape recording, and television. Visual instructional materials on the other hand, are those devices that appeal to the sense of sight only such as the chalkboard, chart, slide, and filmstrip. An audio-visual instructional material however, is a combination of devices which appeal to the sense of both hearing and seeing such as television, motion picture and the computer. Among the instructional materials the classroom teacher uses, the visuals out-numbered the combination of the audio and audio-visual.

Learning resources and Academic Achievement

There have been several studies on learning resources and academic achievement. For instance, Momoh (Isola, 2010), conducted a research on the effects of instructional resources on students’ performance in West Africa School Certificate Examinations (WASCE) in Kwara State. He correlated material resources with academic achievements of students in ten subjects. Data were collected from the subject teachers in relation to the resources employed in the teaching. The achievements of students in WASCE for the past five years were related to the resources available for teaching each of the subjects. He concluded that material resources have a significant effect on student’s achievement in each of the subjects. In the same manner, Moronfola (1982) carried out a research in Ilorin Local Government Area of Kwara State. She used questionnaires to collect data on the material resources available for the teaching of some selected subjects in ten secondary schools and related these to students’ achievements in each of the selected subjects and to the amount of resources available for the teaching of the subjects. Finding showed a significant effect of material resources on the students’ academic performance in these subjects. In the same vein, Popoola (1990) investigated the effect of instructional resources on the academic achievements of students in Ogun State. Five secondary schools in Abeokuta were used for this study. Questionnaires were designed to elicit r esponses on learning resources that were available for the teaching and learning of each of the three school subjects he examined. He collected WASC examination results for five years and compared achievements of students in schools with adequate material resources and achievements of students in schools with inadequate material resources. He found a significant difference in the achievements of the two sets of students. The schools with adequate learning resources performed better than those with inadequate learning resources.

Factors Affecting Improvisation of Learning resources

Balogun (2002) identified two main constraints militating against the successful improvisation of Science equipment. These are the technical and the human factors respectively . While the technical factors relate to the question of degree of accuracy and precision that is possible with the improvised equipment, the human factor relates to the teachers’ skill in developing the resources while providing the appropriate learning experience to the learners. Also, Maduabunmi (2003) reported lack of adequate professional training as a major problem militating against the effective use of local resources for Science teaching. Oyediran (Isola, 2010) then stressed the need for a definite well planned training programme of improvisation for teachers. He suggested regular meaningful workshop on improvisation technique for Science teachers to improve and up-to-date their competence. Improvisation is the practice of acting, singing, talking and reacting, of making and creating, in the moment and in response to the stimulus of one's immediate environment and inner feelings. This can result in the invention of new thought patterns, new practices, new struct ures or symbols, and/or new ways to act. This invention cycle occurs most effectively when the practitioner has a thorough intuitive and technical understanding of the necessary skills and concerns within the improvised domain. Improvisation can be thought of as an "on the spot" or "off the cuff" spontaneous activity. The skills of improvisation can apply to many different abilities or forms of communication and expression across all artistic, scientific, physical, cognitive, academic, and non-academic disciplines. For example, improvisation can make a significant contribution in music, dance, cooking, presenting a speech, sales, personal or romantic relationships, sports, flower arranging, martial arts, psychotherapy, and much more. Techniques of improvisation are widely trained in the entertainment arts; for example, music, theatre and dance. To "extemporize" or "ad lib" is basically the same as improvising. Colloquial terms such as "let's play it by the ear", "take it as it comes", and "make it up as we go along" are all used to describe "improvisation". The simple act of speaking requires a good deal of improvisation because the mind is addressing its own thought and creating its unrehearsed delivery in words, sounds and gestures, forming unpredictable statements that feed back into the thought process (the performer as listener), creating an enriched process that is not unlike instantaneous composition [with a given set or repertoire of elements].[1] Where the improvisation is intended to solve a problem on a temporary basis, the "proper" solution being unavailable at the time, it may be known as a stop-gap. This particularly applies to engineering improvisations.

Teachers do not always have access to the resources needed to conduct science experiments. Improvisation is the act of creating something or using something in the absence of the ideal tool. Science teachers often try to teach students about scientific principles through the use of lab experiments, though they do not always have access to the resources needed to optimally perform experiments. Innovative teachers can use cheaper products to simulate experiments. Teachers can also help students learn improvisation as an important life skill. Teachers can work with students to come up with ways to improvise, forcing students to think critically about the scientific concepts underlying the devices. Improvisation is, most simply stated, the process of making things up on the spot using only the resources at hand. A central tenet of improvisation is that creativity and freedom emerge from structure. Perhaps counterintuitively, it is the very presence of restrictions that fosters new possibilities. A cook improvises a dish without a recipe, for example, by creatively combining the food available in the refrigerator. A young woman with no time to hem her new pants discovers that duct tape does the trick perfectly. A jazz musician improvises a new riff, building off of his existing knowledge of music, his prior experience playing the trumpet, and the notes and tempos created in the moment by fellow musicians. In all these examples, a constraint on resources becomes a resource in and of itself: improvisation is the act of finding opportunities for creativity amidst limitations.

Improvisation rests on a similar premise, that within the safe structure of a form, improvisers have the freedom to surrender what they think they know, and to discover the surprises offered when their imaginations interact with the resources available. Improvisation can serve, therefore, as a form of inquiry, in that new knowledge unfolds during the course of the improvisation. In this context, imagination, improvisation, and inquiry have certain commonalities. All are generated, firstly, by a willingness to surrender to the unknown; all are characterized, secondly, by an unfolding of new possibilities; thirdly, all have the potential to release an individuals' native knowledge; and finally, all can be generative forces for creating something new. * * * In the short activity that I led with my students, we used improvisational storytelling to activate our imaginations and to inquire into the sources of creation myths. The activity was completely verbal, accomplished while sitting around a table.

1. Improvisation Examples

o Schools in need of magnets can harvest them from broken microwaves and loudspeakers. Magnets allow teachers to perform more experiments than any other type of equipment. Scientists use crucibles to heat liquids, but these crucibles can be too expensive for most schools. But teachers can use crown bottle tops to heat liquids at lower temperatures. Fruits and electrodes can create electrochemical cells.Teachers can help students learn about air pressure through oil cans and students can learn about organic molecules using clay and toothpicks.

Harnessing the Surrounding Environment

o Improvisation requires that teachers use resources available in the surrounding area. Those training teachers can hold workshops in the area and give teachers advice on using available resources to perform classroom experiments, especially in impoverished areas. Despite having knowledge of the scientific principles, many teachers do not realize that they have plenty of resources available for lab experiments. Once the teachers begin to understand the principles behind improvisation, they can begin improvising their own tools. Also, a lot of teachers lack confidence in their abilities to design their own experiments. o Sponsored Links  Distance Learning MBA Earn an Internationally Recognised MBA Degree Online. Apply Now! Providing Concrete Examples o Students have a harder time understanding abstract scientific concepts when reading about them in a textbook. Concrete experiments help the students see how the scientific concepts work in reality. Also, some students are kinesthetic learners, meaning that they understand concepts better by doing than by being shown or told about the idea. Thus, they will benefit from performing the experiments themselves. Given how expensive the resources are, some teachers must have students share resources to save money. However, the act of sharing resources gives students the opportunity to engage in group work and develop teamwork skills. Simulations o Simulations allow students to visually understand complex science concepts when teachers cannot realistically re-create a concept due to financial constraints. Some simulations allow students to carry out actions that allow them to engage in kinesthetic learning. The simulations can also have audio descriptions for auditory learners.

  • • Abbot, John. 2009. Improvisation in Rehearsal. Nick Hern Books. ISBN 978-1-85459-523-2. • Abbot, John. 2007. The Improvisation Book. Nick Hern Books. ISBN 978-1-85459-961-2.
  •   • Johnston, Chris. 2006. The Improvisation Game: Discovering the Secrets of Spontaneous Performance. Nick Hern Books. ISBN 978-1-85459-668-0. 
  • • Madson, Patricia Ryan. 2005. "Improv Wisdom: Don't Prepare, Just Show Up". Bell Tower Books. ISBN 1-4000-8188-2.
  •  • Nachmanovitch, Stephen. 1990. Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art. Penguin/Tarcher. ISBN 0-87477-578-7 (cloth); ISBN 0-87477-631-7 (pbk). 
  • Bucher C.A. & Irstee, M.C. (2002) Management of Physical Education Programmes Including Athlete. (7th ed.) St. Louis: The C.V. Mosby Company. Johnson, S.I. (2005). Fundamentals of improvisation for school science equipment. Kano, Ejire and son. Lawan, M.B. (2005). Instructional materials in schools: The need for Improvisation and effective utilization. Mubi, H.M. (eds.). Journal of General studies Education, F.C.E. Yola 1. 
  • Obiyemi, O.O., Adesoye, AA & Ojo, S.S. (2006). Sport facilities and equipment management practice and provision in College of Education, Jalingo. Ilorin Journal of Health Physical Education and Recreation (IJOHPER) 
  • Olajide, O.A. (2007). Introduction to sports management. Yola - Nigeria. Paraclete Publishers. Talabi, A.E. (1998). Poor facilities: A detergent to skill excellence in sports. Journal of Nigeria Academy of Sport administration. 5 (1) 93-94. 
  • Tikon, B. (2006). Improvisation of materials and teaching aids in Physical education at the primary schools. A paper presented at training workshop for physical education supervisors of LGUBEA, game teachers and physical education teachers. Monday 14th to 19th Aug. 2006. 
  • Umar, Z. (2002). The use of resource materials in primary schools in Mubi, H. M, and Degereji, U. M. (eds). Reflection in action, Yola: Education and Management Services


  1. effective teaching is creative teaching that encompasses responsiveness, opportunism and improvisation. especially for us teachers, improvisation must be employed in our daily lessoning for effective teaching. and by some means, involve the learners to contribute to the improvisation proceeding. especially that i teach physics and the equipments are quite handsome in monetary forms, improvisation techniques help me a lot even to the depressed economy of i always say, teachers never excuse a way to failure! improvisation is the dexterity of our minds!!!
    Chikwanda Kauseni, Zambia.

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  4. Good article. But kindly explain the models of improvisation.