When planned thoughtfully, field trips are very important and powerful learning experiences that can have a transformative effect on student inquiry. By being mindful of the following points, we can ensure that field trips are as meaningful and effective as possible.
- There is a clear and powerful purpose to the trip, with clear links between the concepts that will be explored and curriculum needs
- The field trip experience should stimulate inquiry and a richer understanding of the current unit of study
- The location has been selected specifically with learning in mind
- The impact of our students on the location and people there has been considered and catered for, e.g. by going one class at a time
- The trip will be timed to maximise learning opportunities for the students, giving students the chance to engage fully and soak up the experiences being offered
- Opportunities and locations for briefing students, reflecting, rest, drinking water or having a snack have been identified and planned for
- Plans have been made to enable students to capture learning meaningfully during the trip
- Attitudes and behaviour have been discussed with students beforehand to ensure they are in the best mood to make the most of the experience and to represent the school
- Additional adults are considered not only in terms of safety but also enriching student experience – smaller groups may mean more powerful learning
- Steps have been taken to make sure trips are environmentally responsible – this kind of modelling is very powerful for students
- There are varied and meaningful follow-up experiences planned so that the trip was worthwhile
We are going to introduce these points in our school as a checklist for teachers to go through when planning field trips. If they are unable to tick off most (or all) of these points… the trip may not be worth it!