The Reflective Museum Practitioner explores a range of expansive and creative ways in which the concept of “reflective practice” has been applied in the informal STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning environments of museums and zoos. It seeks to demonstrate how such a process can inspire lifelong learning in practitioners, to the benefit of practitioners and visitors alike.
Presenting six projects that employed reflective practice, the contributors examine how each project has encouraged and sustained reflection, and the outcomes thereof. The projects cover a wide range of different practitioners—including administrators, scientists, educators, and other front-line and back-room staff—who work at different junctures of their organizations. Collectively, they raise key questions about changing communities of practice in Informal Science Learning institutions. The projects and concept of “reflective practice” are fully defined and contextualized by the editors, who offer in-depth analysis, along with a cultural-historical activity theory framework, for understanding how changes in museum practice unfold in an institutional context.
The Reflective Museum Practitioner offers museum professionals insight into “reflective practice,” as practiced by other institutions in their sector, providing practical examples that can be adapted to their needs. It will also be of interest to scholars and students focusing on science museums, or professional practice development in museums.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Nature of Reflective Practice in the Context of Science Museums
Introduction Laura W. Martin, Lynn Uyen Tran, and Doris Ash
1. What is Reflective Practice? Lynn Uyen Tran
2. Using Reflective Practice in Museums: Moving Beyond the ‘Standard Model’ Doris Ash
3. Can Reflective Practice Be Sustained in Museums? Laura W. Martin
Part II: Case Studies
4. Team Based Inquiry: A Tool for Reflection and Professional Learning Christine Reich, Scott Pattison, Vrylena Olney, Marjorie Bequette, Sarah Cohn, Elizabeth Kunz Kollmann, and Rae Ostman
5. Data as a Driver of Reflection: Research+Practice Tools as Means for Engaging with Data Bronwyn Bevan
6. Reflecting on Practice Through Action Research: The Zoo and Aquarium Action Research Collaborative James Kisiel, Andee Rubin, and Tracey Wright
7. Reflecting On Practice: Empowering Education Professionals in Informal Science Education Lynn Uyen Tran, Catherine Halversen, Maia Werner-Avidon, and Lisa N. Trahan
8. REFLECTS: Linking Museum Educator Professional Development to Increasing Visitor Diversity Doris Ash
9. Portal to the Public: Developing Scientists as Reflective Communicators with Public Audiences Meena Selvakumar
10. Concluding Thoughts: Advancing the Field Laura W. Martin, Lynn Uyen Tran, and Doris Ash
Laura W. Martin is Senior Advisor and former Vice President of Education and Research, Arizona Science Center, USA. She has developed and studied programs in informal and formal settings examining the functions of media and interpretation in learning. She is a coauthor of Learning Science in Informal Environments (2009).
Lynn Uyen Tran is Research Director in the Learning and Teaching Group at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California Berkeley, USA. Her work focuses on relating the science of learning to the teaching practices of informal educators and university faculty and cultivating reflective practice and professional learning among these communities.
Doris Ash was formerly Professor of Science Education from the University of California Santa Cruz, USA. She conducts research on learning and teaching in formal and informal environments, specifically collaborating with students and families from culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse backgrounds.