Supporting teachers on science-focused school trips: Towards an integrated framework of theory and practice

  • DeWitt J
  • Osborne J
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Although science centres and museums are important educational resources, school trips to these places are not often conducted in a manner that could maximise learning. In addressing this issue, a Framework for Museum Practice (FMP) is proposed, derived from the perspectives of Cultural Historical Activity Theory, theories of intrinsic motivation, and research into conceptual learning. It is hypothesised that this theoretically derived framework, if implemented by museum educators, can potentially lead to the creation of resources for teachers that would enable them to make better use of the learning opportunities afforded by school trips, and to maximise the impact on pupil learning, including their affective experience. This paper also describes how the framework was used to guide the development of resources to be used in conjunction with a science museum trip. The resources were tested by two primary school teachers and their classes, and the data were analysed for evidence of teacher and student behaviour consistent with the design principles in the FMP. Findings lend some empirical support for the FMP and suggest that it may offer a guide for the development of museum‐provided resources, which would have the potential to improve the utilisation by teachers of informal science institutions and, consequently, their impact on pupil learning. (Authors). Published online: 01 May 2007

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cultural historical activity theory
  • Framework for museum practice
  • Science-focused school trips

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  • Jennifer DeWitt

  • Jonathan Osborne

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