Every kid likes day away from school. And when that day involves hiking through the woods, touching starfish or checking out the dinosaur exhibit at the local museum, it's a win-win for kids, parents and staff. That's why a school field trip is a common option for schools to expand their students' learning experience. A well-organized school trip can be fun for students and give teachers a chance to conduct a lesson without the limitation of a classroom. But with the positives come the negatives. It's important to keep in mind the inherent risks in planning a trip. For a school trip to work, it needs to meet both the learning requirements of students and safety requirements set by the school.
Advantage: Hands-On Learning
School trips are typically designed to support a student’s classroom learning experience. A school trip is an ideal place to allow the student to see real-life applications of academic lessons. Moreover, some school trips integrate actual assignments for students to investigate during the trip; for example, in a physics class outing, students may be asked to estimate factors such as velocity, time and distance for a roller coaster ride in an amusement park.
Advantage: Community Interaction
Schools separate the student from the rest of the world to create a highly controlled academic environment. School trips put the students back into the community to see the value of their learning. These types of trips are comprehensive in nature; instead of addressing any specific subject, the trip puts students in real-life scenarios and requires dealing with other people. For example, a school trip to help a homeless shelter for a day teaches students the value of charity and allows students to apply different skills such as service, proper communication and problem-solving.
Disadvantage: Opportunity and Actual Cost
School trips are almost always more expensive than their in-class learning. Teachers typically need a very good reason to propose a trip – the trip has to give a type of learning that is not achievable in a classroom setting. Actual costs can pile up quickly: venue reservation, gas and possible boarding costs. Moreover, trips usually take a day at least, weeks at most. This absence from class means missed days of in-school learning, which may put a teacher behind schedule.
In the event of an emergency during the trip, the school is commonly held liable for any harm that happens to a student. The teacher, bus driver and parent chaperones are ultimately responsible for the safety of every student at all times. In preparing for a trip, the school needs to take measures to minimize the chance of anything going wrong. A common method is to require a signed permission form; this typically contains a parent’s signature but can also note other important factors, such as the trip agenda, emergency contact numbers, a list of current medications and notes regarding allergies.