Reflection is a powerful tool for learning, especially when it is consistently practiced. Often we have a tendency to either concentrate on the positive or the negative aspects of a tour. In reality, a tour will have both. Give yourself permission to try new strategies or techniques but understand that most of what you try will not be an immediate success. You may need more practice to integrate strategies or tips into your tours. Practice a growth mindset, not only in your own work but in the expectations you hold for each tour group. Each group will have its own dynamics and behaviors, but all visitors within the group are capable of participating and being impacted by your tour.

Pre-tour reflection

As you walk your tour route before your group arrives, reflect on your expectations for the tour. Here are some questions to consider:

  • How does it feel to be excluded, versus included?
  • What things can I do to help everyone feel welcome in this space?
  • What expectations do I have for participation on this tour?
  • How will I encourage visitors to share their thoughts and opinions?
  • What technique should I use to jumpstart conversation if the group is quiet at the start?
  • What one thing today do I want to improve in my touring style or on my tours?
  • What important points do I want to convey about the theme?
  • What quick stops could I make along the route that would interest the group?

    Post-tour reflection

    Once you have reached the end of your tour, leave a few minutes to reflect and debrief, ideally with your colleagues who were also part of the same tour (if a school tour) or touring at the same time. Here are some questions to consider:

  • How did the tour go?
  • What things did I do to create a sense of welcome?
  • What did I do that made the tour successful?
  • What were challenges I faced on the tour?
  • What would I have done differently on the tour?
  • Thinking about the new strategy or tip I used on the tour, how did it go?
  • Were there techniques I used that sparked more participation or interest?
  • How many in my group participated in some way?