The Professionalization of Museum Educators: The Case in Science Museums
ABSTRACT Museum educators have a longstanding presence and importance in museums, but there is limited recognition and understanding of their work, both in research and practice. Investigations into the pedagogical actions of educators in science museums suggest that educators do not share a common understanding of best practice, which may be due to the absence of professional preparation grounded in a recognized knowledge base. To ensure quality and credibility of museum education work, and for the occupation to complete its professionaliza- tion process, a knowledge base is needed. Thus, we offer a framework upon which the professional work of museum educators may be grounded. This knowledge framework comprises six components: context, choice and motivation, objects, content, theories of learning, and talk, which are organized into three domains of knowledge: museum content knowledge, museum pedagogical knowledge, and museum contextual knowledge.
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ABSTRACT: Science centers and museums are currently experimenting to strengthen the participation of the public in two-way conversations between the public and the institution. Eventually, these activities will lead to a stronger role of the public in the decision-making process of the museum. We analyzed the current situation faced by science museums in Europe in light of the recent discourse on public engagement with science and identified the main barriers and obstacles that prevent actual decision making of the public within the institutions. Finally, we discuss suggestions for solutions.Science Communication 08/2013; 35(4):419-448. · 2.08 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study explored the nature of the relationship between a fifth-grade teacher and an informal science educator as they planned and implemented a life science unit in the classroom, and sought to define this relationship in order to gain insight into the roles of each educator. In addition, student learning as a result of instruction was assessed. Prior research has predominately examined relationships and roles of groups of teachers and informal educators in the museum setting (Tal et al. in Sci Educ 89:920–935, 2005; Tal and Steiner in Can J Sci Math Technol Educ 6:25–46, 2006; Tran 2007). The current study utilized case study methodology to examine one relationship (between two educators) in more depth and in a different setting—an elementary classroom. The relationship was defined through a framework of cooperation, coordination, and collaboration (Buck 1998; Intriligator 1986, 1992) containing eight dimensions. Findings suggest a relationship of coordination, which requires moderate commitment, risk, negotiation, and involvement, and examined the roles that each educator played and how they negotiated these roles. Consistent with previous examinations in science education of educator roles, the informal educator’s role was to provide the students with expertise and resources not readily available to them. The roles played by the classroom teacher included classroom management, making connections to classroom activities and curricula, and clarifying concepts. Both educators’ perceptions suggested they were at ease with their roles and that they felt these roles were critical to the optimization of the short time frames (1 h) the informal educator was in the classroom. Pre and posttest tests demonstrated students learned as a result of the programs.Journal of Science Teacher Education 03/2013;
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ABSTRACT: Based on accounts gathered from nine museums and four professional/policy-making bodies, as well as policy analysis, this article maps out and assesses the effects of and ways of experiencing the new managerialist mode of governance within the publicly funded museums in England, focusing specifically on performance management in museums. It will be argued that the performance management regime has impacted local authority museums and national museums in distinct ways, creating different professional/organisational cultures as a result. These impacts pertain specifically to the professional and organisational autonomy of museums, with significant differences between small local authority museums and large national museums. This has serious implications for the way different types of museum relate to new managerialism and their mode of functioning. Some of the negative and unintended impacts of the performance management regime have induced a reappraisal – initially championed by the art world – and a move towards lightening up the new managerialist overload and pressure by introducing some elements of a peer-review model and accommodating in some form the qualitative singularity of museum experience. I will conclude by reflecting on the underpinning assumptions of new managerialism in museums against the backdrop of the project of museum professionalism and the singularity of its creative work.International Journal of Heritage Studies 01/2014; 20(2). · 0.81 Impact Factor