SERG Alberta


Five Tips for Field Trip Success

by admin - February 6th, 2015.
Filed under: Uncategorized.

image001Katie Novak – Fort Calgary Education Manager
Many of us have fond memories of visiting museums, parks, and other entertaining establishments as children on school field trips. Field trips are a valuable and necessary part of any education; getting out of the classroom and into the broader world can have a long lasting impact on students, and can be a way to truly bring information and content to life.
Whether you’re a classroom teacher, field trip facilitator, or parent there are things that you can do to help make sure that any field trip if full of learning and fond memories.

1. Set Expectations
Regardless of age, us humans operate well when we understand what is expected of us. Outlining guidelines for the trip in the days leading up to it will allow students the time to get used to the fact that they will be leaving the classroom, but that there will be rules that go along with that as well. Be sure to reiterate these rules on the day of the trip before leaving the school, and likely again on the bus.
When students arrive at a trip location, it becomes the trip facilitator’s duty set up the day’s schedule and to help students what will be expected of them. Offering an overview of the day’s program(s) as well as going over guidelines for behavior and listening skills right away will make everyone’s day easier.

2. Recognize Different Learning Styles
Be aware of students’ learning styles, and how these may styles may play out during a field trip differently than in a traditional classroom. Students who have a difficult time concentrating may find a field trip environment over-stimulating, or may show uncharacteristic focus when offered kinesthetic activities.
Field trip facilitators should always make a point to encourage participation from different students, and not to only choose the most eager students to give answers to questions. Teachers and facilitators should also keep in mind students’ potential comfort zone, and should take care to gently guide them to the edge of it, but not too far out, which may lead to upset and conflict.
3. Respect Changing Courses
The reality of field trips (or any given day, really!) is that they will not always go as planned. This could mean that a small thing goes wrong, or that something major throws you way off course. Regardless of your role during the trip, do your best to stay calm and collected – you’re the adult after all. The order of a program may need to change, or perhaps the students will need to be offered something else entirely. Keep in mind that while this may not be ideal for you, if you make the best of it, the students will too.

4. Help Students Make Sense of Information
One of the great things about field trips is that they can provide information in unique ways. Students that are used to structured learning may struggle on field trips giving the information context, or MAY develop questions about information learned back in the classroom that now feels out of context.
Offer the guidance by connecting what they’re learning to ‘real life’ examples, and by relating it back to other things that you know they understand. Offering a creative individual outlet as a portion of programs can also be great for this – especially journaling can really help students make sense of their ideas and thoughts about the information that they have been given.

5. Have Fun!
At the end of the day, this is the most important part! A fun and unique experience should be your first goal – if the students happen to learn something along the way too, great! Fond memories are made when students are having a great time – offer the opportunity to have fun, and students will be advocates for your organization or place!

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