We all remember our school field trips from days gone by and from clambering over sand dunes in search of ox-bow lakes to that all-important gossip time on the back of the coach, that annual excursion almost made all those dreary days in the class room seem worthwhile.
These days, thanks to cuts and health & safety issues, the noble school trip is increasingly becoming a thing of the past but, as an ex-teacher myself, I’d like to present to you a few benefits as to why we have to keep them alive.
No matter where you go outside of the classroom there’s so much to take in that even the surliest of student won’t fail to be impressed. Languages in Paris, sports in Spain or American history in the east coast cities of Boston and Washington, whatever your area of study a school trip can really enhance learning time and increase pupil potential to the max.
Below are five of my top reasons to keep school trips alive and kicking and if you’re a school teacher yourself and think that the organising and the effort isn’t worthwhile then just wait until you see the looks on those kids faces and you’ll know it makes sense.
Kids spend the majority of their school lives surrounded by the same merry clique of friends however, as soon as you get them out of the classroom and into a new environment, you’ll be surprised at how easily they start to socialise away from their usual buddies. New groups can form in the most interesting of locations and from whom you share a dorm with to finding a common interest with someone that you’ve never spoken to before, school trips really do open up new social skills that you never knew existed.
Being stuck in a classroom all day long can’t be anyone’s idea of fun and no matter how good the teacher is, there’s only so much that they can do to make lesson time more entertaining. The beauty of school trips is that kids are outside the majority of the time and, quite literally, standing on their own two feet. Often, teachers become more relaxed outside of the classroom and show their fun side too which means that everyone gets to relax in a new environment. Singing on the coach, playing until dark and just having a laugh, now that’s what childhood’s all about.
Shared experiences really do help relationships to flourish and friendships to develop and going on a school trip is the perfect time to nurture and watch bonds between students. It’s often the case that kids tend to make new friends away from home and the amount of time spent together definitely increases the strength of the bond. Teachers also have a chance to share new and fresh situations with their students too and often the friendship that develops whilst away from school or college continues once the trip’s over and lessons continue.
Real life experiences
Let’s face the facts, school trips are meant to be educational and if you can compare learning through reading a text book or seeing the real thing close-up for yourself then there really is no contest. Imagine the chance to walk the Freedom Trail in Boston or explore the Smithsonian exhibits in Washington, the more senses you use during your learning experience then the more chance you’ll have of remembering it. We’re learning all the time and if something’s hands-on and tangible then we’re more than likely to remember it for the rest of our lives.
Being away from home for the first time can be a daunting and scary prospect and that’s just for the teachers. Imagine being a kid who’s missing their mum or who’s never been in charge of their own money or clothes before. School trips are ideal for developing responsibility and from looking after your own pocket money to making sure you drink enough water, it’s often surprising to see the changes in young people upon their return. The more kids have to do for themselves then the more independent and responsible they’ll become. School trips are big responsibilities for teachers too and using a recognised company such as Brightspark Travel goes a long way to alleviating some of the pressure.
Biog: Chris is an ex-teacher but still happily reminisces about her school trips both when she was a student and when she was in charge.