Field Trips: a Blessing or a Curse?
by The Milton Measure on Friday, February 24th, 2012
Recently, students at Milton Academy have participated in a slew of field trips. While freshman Modern World History classes attended the Forbes Museum, some sections of Honors Biology paid a visit to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Other Honors Biology classes went to the labs of the drug company Novartis.
From the beginning of their academic career, students take part in field trips, school-funded outings that further enhance their learning. The idea behind field trips is to take students outside of the normal classroom environment and to expose them to a new atmosphere closely related to their curriculum.
Some argue against field trips, as these excursions take time away from other classes. Marina Del Carmen Fleites (IV) explains that “missing classes results in catching up on a lot of work.” Without the aid of a teacher, work done in class one day can take longer than one period. Additionally, field trips are costly. Field trip costs span from transportation, such as the hiring of a bus or a van, to admission at a museum. All these costs add up, especially as the group of students grows larger. Furthermore, teachers must spend time organizing such field trips. In order to plan a field trip, a teacher must first contact the head of the department and with that support must then get approval from Ms. Bonenfant. This process requires not only a great deal of time, but also a carefully thought-out, detailed plan to present to school administrators. Even after a field trip receives consent, the school must notify teachers whose students will be missing class.
Despite this difficult process, field trips also have many advantages. Field trips allow students who don’t normally learn well in a classroom environment to experience academic material in different surroundings. Michaela Brickley (IV) says, “I enjoyed a change in atmosphere…having an actual physical representation of what we were learning was helpful.” Given that only so many destinations are available to us, some courses reap the benefits of field trips more than others. Josie Wilson (IV) suggests that “science classes could benefit from field trips, because we would have the opportunity to see how the concepts we are learning are being applied in the real world and not just in labs.”Going to the ocean to collect samples, for example, would help teach Marine Biology students the skills of real scientists. Students cannot necessarily learn these abilities while cooped up in a classroom. English classes could also benefit from field trips. When studying a play, students can better understand the emotions and the actions of the characters by seeing the work performed. Attending a performance would help to bring the story to life.
If planned thoroughly and executed well field trips can be informative, interesting, and thought-provoking for students. A greater understanding of classroom material is well worth the effort it takes to plan a field trip, but that does not mean that the process shouldn’t be streamlined. Students should continue to have the opportunity to experience out-of-classroom excursions. I hardly remember what I learned in class during second grade, yet I distinctly remember the field trips we took and the lessons those trips taught me. Ultimately, field trips build memories, and thus create more lasting learning experiences.
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