H. Stephen Bralley, M.Ed.

Director of Secondary Education, North American Division

oo often field trips are sacrificed or restricted because of budgets, pressure to show curricular results and cover content leaving students and teachers little time to plan or participate in field trips.

The logistics of schedules, drivers, and yearly calendars can leave teachers overwhelmed.  In addition many view field trips as “fluff” or extra-curricular activities. But studies indicate that field trips are a key component of school instruction, broadening the educational experience and making subjects more relevant.  Field trips help students make connections with hands-on experiences which help connect the dots between content and utilization of that knowledge.

Teaching through field trips promotes collaboration, critical thinking and knowledge retention, by inspiring students to be active learners and engages them to ask deeper questions.

Often teachers look to the arts and cultural organizations of their community for field trip ideas: museums, zoos, science centers, and natural areas. Performing arts bring the page to the stage and can also offer a lesson in theater etiquette.

In addition to the traditional venues, teachers may choose sites for real world experiences to encourage students to apply what they’ve learned to something relevant in their life. For example, children visiting a construction site can return to the classroom and design their own homes, businesses, and other architectural structures.

Visiting a college or university campus introduces the dream of higher education; college students can act as the tour guides, show dorm rooms, cafeterias, and study halls, while providing mentorship to the younger student.

The best field trips can bring two seemingly unrelated worlds together.

Children from large cities may not understand a math equation about livestock, crops, and the other staples of the rural experience because the students focus on the vocabulary, get confused, and skip the question.

Students in a rural community are often ignorant of urban and suburban terminology. Subway stops, fares, escalators, HOV lanes…these oft-used terms placed in a math test question can block the main idea and prevent a student from answering.  A well-designed field trip can bring it all together: combine two or more subjects while offering a variety of learning styles and intelligences, integrate the arts, encourage low-income and English language learner students to make connections between community resources and opportunities and their family and culture.


Field Trips Expand Learning Beyond the Classroom

Field trips strengthen observation skills by immersing children into sensory activity, increasing students' knowledge.  So why are field trip so good for student learning?


Fall 2022

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