In September the Aquarium’s education department hosted a two-day professional development workshop for informal education institutions, including other museums, science agencies, and universities. The Reflecting on Practice workshop was first developed by the University of California, Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, and the Aquarium was one of the original partner institutions to pilot test these workshops in 2010.
The Reflecting on Practice workshops use the latest research in ways of learning and teaching to help educators improve their teaching methods. The learning practices presented in the workshops have been structured and tested for informal education settings. The institutions participating in this session included the National Park Service’s Cabrillo National Monument, the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, Los Angeles Conservation Corp’s SEA Lab, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Los Angeles Maritime Institute, and the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering.
“Reflecting on Practice has become an integrated part of educational practice at the Aquarium, helping to define not what we teach but how we teach and how we manage our staff at all levels of the department,” says Director of Education David Bader. “These workshops help to professionalize our field and to validate and improve our shared practice to benefit the audiences served by our institutions.”