Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

Author: crobin06

What We’re Reading: Teacher PD: What Works

Today’s “What We’re Reading” post comes to you from Cynthia Robinson, director of the Tufts Museum Studies program.

Many museums conduct professional development workshops for classroom teachers, but until now, most developed their own agendas, with little more than tradition to guide them. Recently, Alfredo Bautista, a former Tufts post-doctoral associate and now Research Scientist and Lecturer at Nanyang Technological University’s National Institute of Education (Singapore), has pulled together a compilation of studies from across the world that summarize the best practices from a variety of countries. Among their findings are that professional development is most effective when teachers are able to engage in active, collaborative learning with opportunities to reflect and experiment, and when the professional development extends over time, rather than existing as a one shot deal.

Read Alfredo’s article, “Teacher Professional Development: International Perspectives and Approaches,” in the open-access journal Psychology, Society & Education. vol. 7(3).

Fishin’ for Tourist Dollars: Museums in the News

Today’s New York Times reports that a spanking new museum, Go Fish, is reaping criticism. Some residents think that the 14 million dollar institution in Georgia is a boondoogle; an out-of-scale extravagance for a poor state during a recession. Others defend the museum, explaining that it was built to lure tourism and lucrative fishing competitions (which had previously ignored Georgia)… and it is working.

This new museum reveals some of the underbelly tensions in the museum world. Many museum directors spend time trying to convince state purse-string holders that their institutions significantly contribute to luring tourism dollars. Aquariums, like sports arenas, have long been considered economic assets, and some cities have built them for the express purpose of drawing visitors to the area. So is Go Fish any different? Would people be complaining if it was a sports arena?

But perhaps Go Fish does cross that shifting line in the sand of inappropriateness. Maybe it is more like the Creation Museum, founded on ideology rather than a collection or an educational mission. Would it make a difference if this museum emerged from a fish-related collection? Or if it was dedicated to exploring environmental issues in Georgia’s waterways? Here’s one more test: would you work there if offered a job?

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