LST/TLL Informal Learning Experience Internship


Philadelphia Zoo

The two-semester internship opportunity is a core component of the Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Division (TLL). This unique program gives master's students the opportunity to apply what they learn in their coursework to real-world settings. In previous years, interns have prepared workshops, designed communication materials, curated exhibitions, and written literature reviews for publication.

TLL’s close-knit partnerships leverage a range of Philadelphia organizations – including major science institutions, small museums, and after-school organizations – to provide dynamic internships that engage students with sites of informal learning with K-12 populations. Each partner organization is characterized by dedicated staff who work in established informal learning programs. The internship is designed so that students can draw on their experience for their Master’s Paper, allowing them to synthesize their core coursework, applied internship, and professional interests into a powerful learning experience.

Program Administration

All students in the Teaching, Learning and Leadership (TLL) and Learning Sciences and Technologies (LST) M.S.Ed. programs receive an internship placement.

Philadelphia Zoo

The internship program runs over the entire academic year to provide students with an in-depth experience. Our program is competitive and we can only accommodate sites that are able to meet the program’s requirements. The Division selects partner sites based on an established set of criteria, and potential partners are vetted for close fit with our program. At the start of the fall semester, the Division matches students with a partner institution. This decision is based on student interests, availability, and site preferences. Throughout the fall, students observe work at their site, establish weekly hours, and sign an internship contract. The Division works closely with part-time students who hold regular employment to ensure that their internship placement complements their schedules.

On-site supervisors at partner institutions advise students every two weeks. Interns are expected to work about 6 hours per week, totaling 120 hours for the year; they determine their internship schedule in collaboration with their supervisor. Both site supervisors and interns complete an exit survey at the end of the internship.

Additional information may be obtained from the Division.

Internship Seminar

As part of the internship program, students enroll in EDUC 696: In/formal Internship Experience Seminar for both the fall and spring semesters. The seminar addresses informal learning, site-specific topics, and reflexive practice through readings, discussion, guest lectures, and self-reflection. This class carries 0.5 course units in the fall and 0.5 course units in the spring.

Student Experience

Scott Joffe, TLL MSEd

Franklin Institute

My Internship Site
My internship was with a non-profit called Urban Blazers. Founded in 2005, Urban Blazers provides students from Philly’s under-resourced communities the opportunity to explore nature together. Activities such as rock climbing, hiking, camping, whitewater rafting, canoeing, and skiing are used to engage youth in teambuilding and character development. The program’s goals place just as much emphasis on developing non-cognitive skills and healthy team dynamics as they do science and conservation education. Urban Blazers partners with schools to teach environmental education lessons and help foster positive classroom climates. Current school partners include St. James School in North Philly, KIPP West Philadelphia and the Mastery charter schools.

Favorite Project
My favorite project was developing a student character strength assessment because it will continue to be used by both Urban Blazers and their school partners. The assessment tool is an efficient way to measure students’ selected non-cognitive skills, focusing on learners’ potential to be successful people in addition to successful students.

The three most important things I learned from this experience were professional communication, interview skills and a greater sense of Out-of-School Time (OST).

Partner Institutions

In 2018-19, partner institutions will include:

Academy of Natural Sciences
Bartram's Garden
Cora Services
Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation
Foundations, Inc.
Franklin Institute Science Museum
Free Library of Philadelphia
Mighty Writers
Mural Arts Program
National Liberty Museum
Philadelphia Youth Basketball
Philadelphia Youth Network
Philadelphia Zoo
Starfinder Foundation
Zhang Sah