With an increase in paperwork and a shortage of funding and time to plan trips, many school children aren't now experiencing the benefits of going on regular school trips.
When many of us look back on our time at school, fond memories of school trips are at the forefront of our minds. A fun day out to different and exciting places, such as a museum, the theatre or the countryside can really develop a child’s imagination and enhance their learning. Some children find it very difficult to concentrate in the classroom and teaching is often generalised and targeted to the slowest learners in the class. During school trips a subject or topic can be brought to life, children have a chance to go the extra mile and take on as much information as they want and can.
In recent years it has been widely reported that children now have fewer opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. A survey in 2011 found that 17% of teachers had not taken their pupils on a school trip in the last 12 months, with an increase in paperwork and a shortage of funding and time to plan trips being blamed as the causes for this decline. It could also be argued that an increasingly risk-averse culture in schools could also have some effect on teacher’s willingness to take children out of school. Schools are now terrified of an accident occurring while not on school premises, which could result in the school being sued by parents.
This risk-averse culture is also being blamed for parent’s fear to allow children to play out, and as a result children are spending much of their time indoors. A risk-averse culture, however, can actually have a more harmful effect on children’s safety. In the classroom children can learn the basic concepts of life through pictures on an interactive white board, but through getting out into the big wide world, they can gain real experience and learn important life skills first hand.
School trips provide a great opportunity for pupils to gain such experience and face a range of challenges that can contribute significantly to their personal development. A trip to a museum not only teaches a child about the topic they are studying, it also teaches life skills. They will need to meet at a designated place to depart for the trip, ensure they have the adequate resources needed, be more responsible for their own learning and safety while on the trip and meet back at a set time to return to school. These are skills that are difficult to master sat in a classroom!
School trips around the local area teach children important information about their surroundings. They create passion and respect for the area in which they are growing up in. Their parents will have a wealth of knowledge gained through trips out with their school when they were young, this is knowledge that teachers of today will struggle to replicate just in the classroom.
Even though school trips can be seen as fairly expensive, time consuming and perceived as risky, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages and it is essential not to allow school trips to die a long slow death!