Educator Tools

Reflecting on Practice

Reflecting on Practice (RoP) is a professional learning program for informal science educators developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science. The program immerses informal educators in discussions about, reflections on, and applications of research and theory on learning and teaching science. The ideas and tasks in the program create and strengthen a shared knowledge base and professional language among educators within an institution. It makes public the practices of all educators through greater understanding of, and reflections on, their beliefs, goals, and actions.

Over 25 informal science education institutions around the US, and one in Canada, are currently using this program. Visit our website to find out who is using the program and learn about the discussions they are having. If you would like to know more about the program, please contact us by email today.

What are the goals of the program?

There are three primary goals for the program:

  • Build shared language and understanding through delving into the literature on learning and teaching.
  • Engage practitioners in habits of reflections through observing their own teaching, as a means to develop their practice and make it public.
  • Nurture a tradition of continued professional learning among participants, and build a professional learning community.

How does the program work?

Mid-career educators participate in a Coaching Workshop to learn the program. These educators, in turn, take the Reflecting on Practice curriculum materials and implement the program with colleagues at their institutions over a period of 6 to 12 months. The program is designed so that:

  • all educators at an institution can participate in the program;
  • veteran and beginning educators learn together and from one another;
  • all educators can connect with colleagues outside their institution by engaging in online social activities, such as discussion forums and blogs, on our website:

Coaching Workshops are offered annually in December at the Lawrence Hall of Science (Berkeley, California). Regional workshops are also available based on interest and request. Please check the events calendar for dates for the next workshop.

What is in the program?

Reflecting on Practice is a modular program. The topics of each module explore pedagogical and practical content pertinent to science educators’ practice in informal environments. There are 14 2.5-hour interactive sessions and numerous reflective tasks to explore the foundational knowledge of informal science educators’ practice.

  • Interactive sessions are whole group meetings. They are intended to engage participants in discussions and activities on the topic, specifically about (1) their beliefs and actions, (2) the habits and traditions within their practice and that of their institutions, and (3) practical implications of research.
  • Reflective tasks are personal and interpersonal activities that practitioners do before, during, and after the interactive sessions. They are intended to encourage participants to think about and critique their own thinking and practice over time, and include (1) making, observing, and discussing videos of their teaching with their colleagues; (2) reading, thinking, and talking about research and theory on learning and teaching; and (3) writing in learning journals.

Module I. Learning, Reflections, and Science

  • Learning Beliefs, Behaviors and Goals
  • Effective Reflective Practice
  • Nature and Practices of Science

Module II. Knowledge & Understanding

  • Knowledge & Understanding
  • Learners’ Prior Knowledge
  • Connecting to What Learners Know
  • Observing and discussing practice

Module III. Learning Conversations

  • Communicative Approaches in Teaching
  • Analyzing Conversations
  • Observing and discussing practice
  • Facilitating Conversations

Module IV. Teaching with Objects

  • Conversations and Engaging with Objects
  • Facilitating Interactions with Objects
  • Observing and discussing practice

Want more information?
Contact Lynn Tran or visit our website