What is RoP?
Reflecting on Practice™ (RoP) is a professional learning program developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science for educators in informal learning environments such as zoos, aquariums, museums, and nature centers. It is currently used in more than 50 institutions across the U.S. and Canada. RoP immerses educators in the latest research on learning and shares how this knowledge contributes to their teaching practice. Together with colleagues, educators engage in hands-on activities, research discussions, and reflective analysis of their own teaching, reaching a shared understanding of what high-quality teaching and learning might look like at their home institution. Through these shared experiences, educators cultivate a professional learning community within their institution and ultimately improve visitors’ learning experiences.
With support from the U.S. National Science Foundation (AISL-1612515), RoP is expanding its community through the implementation of Reflecting on Practice™ Coaching Workshops at informal learning institutions around the country. Additional workshops and resources are offered through webinars, blended learning experiences, and at professional conferences each year.
For more information about the program structure and design, see About the Program.
What is professional learning?
Professional learning refers to practitioners’ ongoing learning about their practice in order to increase their expertise and skills, and is valuable for improving practice regardless of the profession. Professional learning that takes place in the professionals’ own workplace engages them to work with one another on genuine issues within their professional practice. Educators become active learners of their practice, deepening their understanding, in turn, of how their visitors learn. As a group of professionals actively learning together, participants create a long-lasting learning community.
Who participates in RoP?
Educational staff at informal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning institutions of all types museums, zoos, aquariums, interpretive centers, gardens, and other out-of-school learning settings can participate in Reflecting on Practice. The program is designed so that all educators at your institution (veteran and beginning, paid and volunteer, part-time and full-time) can learn together and from one another. The institution adopts the program, and educator representatives lead it for their own colleagues, onsite. (See below.) For more information about benefits of the program to the adopting institution, see Evidence of Impact.
Who leads RoP at my institution?
RoP Facilitators lead the program at your institution. They are leaders and/or emerging leaders (mid-level managers, coordinators, or directors) from education or volunteer departments at your institution. We recommend at least two RoP Facilitators per institution; facilitating the program is a professional learning experience in itself, and shared learning is most effective. For more information about benefits of the program for participants, see Program Impact.
How do I or my staff become a RoP Facilitator?
Attend a Reflecting on Practice™ Coaching Workshop, offered by RoP Leaders around the U.S. Find out where Coaching Workshops are offered, see RoP Leaders.
Does RoP fulfill requirements for professional certification?
Participants in the Reflecting on Practice program can earn elective or continuing education credit towards National Association for Interpretation (NAI) certification or the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Professional Development Certificate in Education and Interpretation.
How do I learn more about Reflecting on Practice?
- Attend an upcoming webinar to learn more about the program and participate in a sample activity.
- Attend a conference session or workshop. RoP will have a presence at the annual conferences of ASTC, NAI, AZA, and NMEA (as well as regional conferences). Check each organization’s conference schedule when available for more information.
- Talk with RoP Facilitators, RoP National Leaders (see below), or the RoP Directors at the Lawrence Hall of Science.
Who are the Reflecting on Practice National Leaders?
RoP National Leaders are educators at six informal STEM learning institutions around the U.S.
- American Museum of Natural History: Katherine Miller, Danny Zeiger, and Preeti Gupta
- Aquarium of the Pacific: Dave Bader, Alie LeBeau & Emily Yam
- California Academy of Sciences: Lindzy Bivings and Kathryn Danielson
- Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo: Marilyn Brink and Agnes Kovacs
- University of Texas Marine Science Institute: Kristin Evans
- Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center: Karen Burns and Lindsay Thomas
How do I register for a conference workshop?
- Workshops are scheduled and led by RoP Leaders around the U.S. Check out the list of when Coaching Workshops will be taking place. Apply to attend a Coaching Workshop:
- University of Texas Marine Science Institute: Apply here
- California Academy of Sciences: Apply here
- Aquarium of the Pacific: Apply here
- Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo: Apply here
- American Museum of Natural History: Apply here
- Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center: Apply here