Learning in museums - making the most of a school visit

Research shows that student learning in museums is maximised by the following factors:

  1. teachers are familiar with the museum site and plan for:
    • the social aspects of learning – encouragement of students to talk; share ideas and ask lots of questions about what they are seeing/hearing/touching;
    • the need for both physical and mental rests during the visit;
    • integrating the visit into the broader body of student learning at the school level, strongly linked to the curriculum. Follow-up and reflective sessions with students are essential.
  2. students are prepared prior to the visit by:
    • pre-visit lessons, orientations and establishing their prior knowledge;
    • helping them to understand key concepts;
    • encouraging curiosity and giving them some choice and control over their learning experiences;
    • forming co-operative small groups to work in the museum, preferably in the company of a supervising adult.
  3. students share their findings in some sort of report or presentation.