Field trips spell fun and respite from the everyday drill for students. Keeping that aspect intact, education has seeped into the idea making it productive and enjoyable. Field trips can be powerful educational tools, if implemented properly. Planning and executing a field trip can be a colossal task and successful execution could be difficult to achieve. Field trips have their own drawbacks with cost, management, time, uncertainty and so on. But the overcoming all those barriers is what makes it all the more delightful.
Determine a goal
Before planning a field trip ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the goal of this trip?
- How will this trip enhance your class program?
- What will your students learn in this trip?
Remember that the day shouldn’t go to waste. You would need to integrate bits and pieces of a lesson in the trip. The primary purpose of a field trip is to educate your students outside the classroom, in a different environment. Field trips serve a lot of purposes apart from syllabus-oriented education, i.e. non-experimental research, first-hand experience of activities outside their everyday ones, career options and so on. So unless you have a solid goal for the trip, then going on the to the next step would be useless.
Work out the basics
Now that you have a goal, you need to work towards it. Here is what you need to do:
- Pick out a suitable location and find out the availability, cost, transportation facilities and so on.
- Get the required permission from your higher authority and inform the parents.
- Visit the location beforehand to familiarize yourself with the trip site.
- Gather the necessary funding for the trip.
- Discuss the lesson plan for the trip with your students, so that they are aware of the day’s program.
- Talk about the etiquette that your students should follow for the trip and make sure to reinforce them.
Ensure that your students know what is expected of them so that they know what to do and how to act. You could also hire a few volunteers with the necessary permissions, if you are not sure that you can manage the whole group alone. The basics done, you are good to go.
Let your students explore the site
When you reach the location, allow some time to your students to acquaint themselves with the environment. This is important because your students need to know where they are to get comfortable with their surroundings. They probably are going to run around for a while on which you need to keep an eye. But once they are done with that, they would be able to focus on the topics that need to be learned.
Provide learning activities
Teach your students the planned lesson, but make sure that it is relevant to the trip. You should also keep in mind that your students are out to have some fun, so try not to enforce a lot of studies on them. You can divide your students into groups and ask them to complete certain activities pertaining to your lessons. Initiate a discussion, let your students share what they have learned, and their thoughts and experiences. This helps because, different groups would come up with different information based on their activities. Sharing such a variety of thoughts would benefit all the groups. You could ask your students to keep a record of their finding for later.
Be the facilitator, not the director
Do not dictate the students on what to do and how to act. A field trip is supposed be a break from the classroom norms for a while, along with chunks of education embedded in it so that students can have fun while learning, for a change. Be a guide and a facilitator for their trip. Try being one of them. Apart from making the lessons engaging, this would help students learn a lot more.
Arrange for a follow-up in the classroom
Take the field trip to the classroom. Devote a class to a relevant follow-up activity of the trip. You could:
- Have a discussion with your students about the trip
- Ask your students to write an essay on their experience of the trip
- Arrange an activity to demonstrate what they learned on the trip
- Identify a way in which they can apply their knowledge in further lessons in the classroom.
Field trips are quite beneficial to students since this gives them a good hands-on experience. Apart from providing alternative educational experience for students, field trips can also benefit the community if students and organizers include community service in the trips.
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