I spent the first five years of my school life in a private school in Hyderabad, which utilized the CBSE syllabus. Of course I don’t remember a lot about that time (LKG to 3rd Grade) but one of the few things that vividly stand out to me is the number of field trips I took.
I remember going to museums, to historical monuments, to parks, around the neighborhood, to the zoo, and in one memorable instance, the Limca factory (where we were offered free Limca afterwards)! These field trips combined both learning and excitement, and as a result made learning very fun.
I left the school after the third grade and that was the end of field trips (unless you count college where everyday can be a field trip should you choose to make it so).
Among my friends and colleagues, I’m one of the few who’ve experienced the joy of field trips. Field trips are something that most Indian schools don’t seem to do. Mind you, this is not a criticism. Field trips require planning before hand, a few extra teachers to wrangle rambunctious students and of course additional responsibility. All the same, here are few reasons why schools need to consider field trips.
Adding field trips to the curriculum does not mean taking the class out every single day. Once a month is enough. It breaks the monotony of the classroom, gives you a change as well and provides a well of excitement and learning for your students as well.
Learning within the classroom tends to have a very set approach. There are strict rules that need to be followed ( for instance, sitting in place and not moving around) while in a field trip is there is motion, children need not solely depend on the teacher for instruction, they can learn from the teachers and carry out learning of their own too.
When students go on field trips, they are exploring, seeing and thinking for themselves. There is no teacher constantly prodding them to think about a particular line of thought or to think in a certain manner. It sort of happens organically if you will. Students seeing a historical monument do not need to be told that a lot of work went into building the monument. It is evident. Students visiting a park need not be told that there is a lot of environment diversity in green spaces. That too is visible to them. Going on field trips allows students to draw conclusions and learn things that the textbook normally takes for granted.
4.Increases learning retention rate
I remember what we learnt on those field trips even today (and I am most certainly not known for my good memory seeing as I cannot remember half of what I did in college). Though my example aside, field trips have been show to actually increase learning retention rates because having seen or physically felt something obviously stays with you for a longer time, as opposed to reading it in a book ( see ).
Some schools have the notion that field trips are going to faraway places that involve time and money. This is wrong. Field trips can be anywhere and can cost nothing. They are essentially trips outside of the classroom taken to achieve a learning experience, which can happen even from going to the neighbourhood park, the next lane, or in an around the school’s premises.
Do you think field trips are something that our schools should carry out more often? Share your opinions with us in the comments section below!