RE: Docent Evaluation

 
From: "Andrew Palamara [email protected] [talk at museum-ed.org]" <[email protected]>
Subject: RE: Docent Evaluation
Date: May 20th 2019

At the CAM, we approached this very much like Megan did.  I assembled an ad-hoc group of docents to discuss why we evaluate docents and what we all stand to gain by improving the process, and that led to us collaboratively writing an observation form.  Our staff observes each docent once every three years.  This gives staff fewer people to evaluate each year and the docents time to process feedback from staff before their next observation.

 

I’m in the process of overhauling the observation form that we use to evaluate staff because we’re nearing the end of the first three-year cycle, and we see that there are some other factors that we want to measure.  We’re working largely from the observation tool created by the recent NAEA-AAMD research on the impact of single-visit programs at art museums for K-12 students.  You can find the study reports and the observation tool here: https://www.arteducators.org/learn-tools/articles/472-study-user-guide. Guiding is a Profession is also an excellent resource, and I recommend it as well.

 

Like Kimberly, we put a lot of emphasis on the post-tour conversation.  We know that most docents have an aversion to being observed, especially if there was no precedent in their professional or personal lives, so we’ve taken careful steps to show them that we’re here to support their development.  While we do take notes and ensure that we share what worked and what didn’t on a tour, we know that one of the most important things we can do is to listen to the docents’ perspectives; odds are good that they know when they slipped up and are willing to admit it before we point it out.  If we have training or resources that can help them in a particular area, we point those things out.  If we don’t, we use those conversations to plan future training sessions. 

 

I’m happy to chat with you about some of the finer details!

 

 

Andrew Palamara

Assistant Director of Docent Learning

 

[email protected] | 513-639-2997

953 Eden Park Drive | Cincinnati, OH 45202

cincinnatiartmuseum.org

 

Cincinnati Art Museum   through the power of art,

we contribute to a more vibrant Cincinnati by inspiring

its people and connecting our communities

 

From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2019 9:33 AM
To: talk at museum-ed.org <[email protected]>
Subject: RE: [talk] Docent Evaluation

 

Hi Kimberly,

 

We’ve recently overhauled our evaluation process and, one year in, are pretty happy with the buy-in and feedback we’ve gotten from our docents so far.

 

We started by asking docents to come up with criteria they thought should be evaluated so that they were involved in the process from the very beginning. (We used Guiding is a Profession as a jumping off point for these discussions.) These discussions with our docent corps helped to write a rubric for staff observations that both staff and docents agreed upon. Docents are now required to do an observation with a staff person once every two years. The staff person observes the tour, then meets immediately afterward with the docent to talk over any feedback on the rubric.

 

At the same time, we also introduced a process for peer observations. We held training on what makes good feedback, how to deliver constructive criticism, etc. Once per year, docents are required to pair up and observe their partner’s tour. Before each observation, the docent being observed sets the criteria that their partner will look for. This allows them to self-reflect and get very targeted feedback on the areas that they would like to improve. These observations are not collected by staff. The goal of this type of observation is expressly to encourage personal growth and to promote a culture of learning.

 

Conducting both peer and staff observations has allowed us to gather the data we need, while also promoting growth and professionalism in our docent corps. This whole process required about a year of laying the groundwork before beginning any observations at all: discussing the ‘why’ of evaluation with docents, involving them deeply in the process of setting evaluation criteria, and slowly building their comfort with giving and receiving feedback.

 

I’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

 

Good luck with your efforts!

 

Megan

 

 

cid:image001.jpg@01CF607A.EACDDBB0
Megan Kellner   |   Indoor Education Manager
1000 East Beltline Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
office 616.974.5239   |   toll-free 888.957.1580   
MeijerGardens.org

 

 

 

 

 

From: [email protected] <[email protected]>
Sent: Friday, May 17, 2019 2:35 PM
To: talk at museum-ed.org <[email protected]>
Subject: [talk] Docent Evaluation

 

Please forgive me if this topic has been covered. Would anyone be willing to share the procedures and/or a rubric for evaluating docents? I would love to see how your institution is providing actionable feedback to docents that positively promotes individual growth. We are trying to revamp our evaluation process. We (and our docents) are stuck in a bit of a rut. Our current evaluation procedures don’t seem to inspire change or growth- just entitlement and attitude. Any ideas would be much appreciated! Thanks so much!

 

Kimberly Washburn

Curator of Education
Florence County Museum
[email protected]





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