A program of the Lawrence Hall of Science that seeks to increase ocean literacy through informal and formal education initiatives
Marine Activities, Resources & Education

Reflecting on Practice

Reflecting on Practice is a professional development program for informal educators (museum, zoo, and aquarium educators) that is based on current research on learning and teaching science in informal environments. Over time, the program strives to build capacity within the institution that spans the whole education department, and the institution has a professional development program that it can continue to use, modify, and develop. The program aims to:

  • engage informal educators in tools and habits of reflecting on their practice
  • immerse informal educators in discussion on research on learning and teaching
  • strengthen informal educators’ teaching knowledge and practices
  • build a community of reflective practitioners.

Components of the program. The Reflecting on Practice program explores topics pertinent to informal science educators’ practice, and a written curriculum guides the facilitators through implementation of the program. The program is modular, comprising four modules with interactive sessions and reflective tasks.

  • Each module is made up of 2-3 interactive sessions that are 2.5 hours in length.
  • Interactive sessions engage participants in discussions and activities on the topic.
  • Reflective tasks during and after the sessions encourage participants to think about and critique their own thinking and practice.


Module I. Learning, Reflections, & Science

  1. Learning Beliefs, Behaviors and Goals
  2. Effective Reflective Practice
  3. Nature and Practice of Science

Module II. Constructing Knowledge

  1. Constructing Knowledge, Building Understanding
  2. Learners’ Prior Knowledge
  3. Connecting with What Learners Know

Module III. Learning Conversations

  1. Communicative Approaches in Teaching
  2. Analyzing Conversations
  3. Facilitating Conversations

Module IV. Teaching with Objects

  1. Conversing about Objects
  2. Engaging with Objects

How to get the program

Two mid-career educators participate in a weeklong intensive professional development Coaching Workshop at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, CA. These educators implement the Reflecting on Practice curriculum with educators at their institution. Participants:

  •  take part in the activities and discussions in the Reflecting on Practice curriculum—we model how the modules and sessions can be conducted;
  •  learn how to use observation instruments and guide discussions on videos;
  •  read and discuss research and the ideas underlying the program;
  •  consider ways to implement the Reflecting on Practice program within the parameters of their institution.

Coaching Support is available after the workshop, and is intended to provide the mid-career educators with extended assistance in implementing the curriculum and program. The support consists of ongoing communications and activities that encourage participants to stay connected with the project team and one another.

Contact us for more information.