A recent post on this blog explores some of the most common educational travel myths and seeks to debunk them. To expand on the thoughts expressed in that post, I’d like to share some ideas about making sure your students get the most out of their travels. A lot of that concerns preparation and building student excitement.
Why are you going on this trip?
Planning an educational trip with your students demands that the educator set the tone long before hitting the road. That means connecting classroom learnings with the journey, itself. You’ve talked about the American Revolution and now you’re going to visit some of its most important historical sites, experiencing it in real time.
In the age of the internet, it won’t be difficult for you to share information about where you’re going. Museums and national historical sites all have elaborate websites. Offer these to your students as part of a handout.
Connect the destination to classroom learning with an essay contest, or other creative projects. Encourage your students to express their areas of personal interest in where you’re going and how it connects to what you’re teaching them.
What’s the plan?
You may have been developing an itinerary with a group tour provider like Peak, or perhaps you’re doing that with a committee of parents and chaperones. At some point, though, you’ll want to share the plan for your educational tour with students. Invite them to provide input. Are you including all their points of interest? Are you offering the types of tours and experiences they desire?
Don’t be afraid to take a step back and let your students help mold the itinerary. They’re the ones you’re teaching, but they have an educational agenda which may inform and even improve on your own.
What’s expected of students?
Norms of student behavior while traveling can’t be left to chance. These norms must be expressly stated and agreed to by the group. That means another opportunity for collaboration with your students, giving them “skin in the game”.
Investing your students in defining what constitutes acceptable behavior on your educational trip extends an invitation to take charge. It also takes down an important barrier.
When students work with you to decide what can and can’t be allowed, you’re inviting them into an adult conversation about personal and group accountability. Instead of imposing behavioral guidelines, let your students participate in establishing them.
Making sure your students get the most from their travels is a process of consultation and collaboration. Making them part of the planning process and getting them excited about the educational opportunities they’ll experience is what’s going to make it count.
Educational travel is a unique way of taking learning out of the classroom and into the world. Much more than a long-distance field trip, it’s a chance to reach out and touch history, music, marketing, mathematics, science and so much more.
Contact us. Let’s talk about making sure your students get the most from their travels.