Setting them up for success : investigating the efficacy of the Philadelphia Zoo's outreach educator training program, an informal science education project
Yordan, Andrea Gissing.
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Irrespective of the forum in which they teach, it is necessary for all educators to receive proper training before they can truly be effective teachers. This study investigated the current methods used to train the outreach educators working in the Philadelphia Zoo's Zoo on Wheels (ZOW) department. Using a combination of employee surveys and quiz, and interviews, this study examined the three areas which outreach staff need to be trained in order to be effective educators: animal handling, scientific knowledge, and the development of teaching and presentation skills. The results indicated that areas with defined training protocols had the highest levels of educator confidence and efficacy. Outreach employees indicated that knowledge acquisition is the weakest area in terms of formal training, with educators being responsible for developing their knowledge base on their own.