“They’re little, not stupid”

In December we asked teachers what they would tell museum educators in preparation for their field trip. Teachers provided lots of positive examples of wonderful relevant field trips as well as some critical reminders to museum educators about the experiences they provide. One of my favourite remarks is an excerpt of a longer comment about working with young children, “Remember you have to bring your knowledge in an accessible way for 6 year olds but not talk down to them - they’re little, not stupid”. The trends in the comments (see image below) indicate a desire for museum educators to do more to ensure that experiences are age appropriate and that approaches used work well for our younger learners. Many of the teachers’ comments are also a good reminder about what teachers value in the field trip experience (more hands-on activities) and to help achieve that museum educators should consider that amount of time they spend talking at students.

The other grouping of comments related to some of the more operational elements of field trips – ensuring that program times work with school schedules, payment processes work for schools, places for students to leave belongs and have lunch, and teachers have the relevant information in advance of the field trip to ensure their students and parent chaperones are prepared for the experience.

An interesting question that came out of the teachers’ responses is how do we better facilitate communication between classroom teachers and museum educators prior to the field trip so museum educators can better align the field trip to meet the students’ specific needs. If anyone has examples of successfully doing this please share them!

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