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The importance of field trips in education

Why are student field trips a crucial part of school life?

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Field trips are an integral part of progressive education. A type of education which has been evolving, it expanded to include concepts that can teach students exciting lessons well beyond the classroom.

“Field trips are among the most effective ways to reach every student,” says Janel Fraser, Grade 1 teacher at Clarion School. “Since the hot weather is here, we have come up with great ideas for indoor field trips. For example, we explore the the community of animals that survives in the wild. We went to the Dubai Aquarium to observe what water animals needed to survive such as a habitat, and what their food sources might be, then documented our findings in drawings, writing and on film for added fun.”

Perhaps one of the most remarkable things about field trips is that they form experiences which every child remembers from year after year. Giving teachers and parents a chance to demonstrate a passion for learning, a field trip early on in a study can spark ideas, questions and often even guide learning. As the study unfolds, a teacher may plan a second visit to the same place. but with very different intentions. Students can then go deeper into their learning and reflect on how much they have grown and learned.

“We’ve also been to the Dubai Police headquarters and Civil Defence, to discuss how they cater to the wants and needs of the community. It’s key that each trip relates to our studies in the classroom. Many times, children will have ideas of where they would like to go on a field trip that’s related to their learning. Deep learning occurs when hands-on is combined with concepts or ideas we’ve explored in class,” explains Fraser.

When planning a trip, teachers collaborate with educators at museums and cultural institutions to customise their visit, and then plan post-trip activities for when they return to the classroom, making the incorporation of field trips an important part of the curriculum. In all of this, students usually have a lot of fun, too.

“One of the most amazing things to watch as a teacher is how field trips bring out the many types of learners in a classroom,” says Fraser. “From the Louvre Museum to the water bottling plant and trips on abras, these field trips provide sensory experiences, bringing the material students read about in books to life. Some children learn best through social interactions, and the group dynamic on field trips becomes an entry point for them. Others learn best through hands-on experiences and reflect this learning in artwork or other projects.”

For many children, getting out of the classroom ignites their imagination, and they develop an interest to delve deeper into the subject matter than they would otherwise in order to explore more.

“Many times I see quiet learners blossom on field trips. This is an opportunity for them to be leaders in their learning experience,” sqays Michelle Burrows, K1 teacher at Clarion School.

On field trips, students also have the opportunity to see teachers as students. Teachers may lead some trips, but at times they work with other educators and take on the role of a student in the group. This is a great way to show children that adults are lifelong learners, too.

Even on trips that are teacher-led, the children’s questions will often inspire a teacher to explore a subject in a different way.

Other grades have different overarching topics. “Clarion’s K2 students are looking at all aspects of water over the year. Students in those classes’ indoor field trips have included building water pumps and a trip to a student’s home where a boat is being built,” adds Fraser.

There are several ways to measure the success of a field trip, most of which are visible back in the classroom. “The joy of learning is evident in the excitement of each child’s shrieks and howls as they make their own discoveries,” says Fraser. Next time your child goes on a field trip, be sure to talk about it after school that day and let them be the teachers.
Clarion School, D-13 Al Asayel Street, Dubai (04 407 3000).

Time Out Dubai,

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