A trip made by students or research workers to study something at first hand. With winters round the corner every school wants students to engage in outdoor activities. Field trips is just one of them.
Importance of Field Trips? (Why?)
Field trips increase a student’s learning through active hands-on experience which in turn gives a boost to the student’s knowledge and understanding of a subject.
Good planning must precede field trips. Careful attention should be given to trip selection, pre-visit preparation, the trip itself, appropriate follow up, and evaluation. When considering a field trip, teachers are advised to first consult with their administrator regarding existing school board policies and follow those recommended procedures.
Trip Selection (Where?)
- Identify the objectives and plan of evaluation for the field trip.
- Select the site to be visited and arrange the date and time. Work out the pre-trip information, record addresses, directions, contact persons, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.
- Conduct a pre-visit to familiarize yourself with the major features of the field trip. Purchase postcards and posters. Take digital photographs to share with students prior to the visit.
Preparing for the Field Trip (How?)
- Write down the objectives and plan activities to meet these objectives.
- The teacher should know her expectations and must check out if the place to be visited fulfills her expectations.
- Advance preparation of students and establishing a link between the field trip and the curriculum are the most influential factors in a field trip being educationally effective.
- Students will be best-prepared for the field trip when their teachers are informed and prepared, and the learning expectations of students will be high only if teachers expect learning to occur. Students may benefit from taking time in advance to discuss and probe.
- Students should be encouraged to develop open ended questions instead of ‘fact finding questions’ that require comparisons.
Setting up (What?)
- Apply for administrative approval from the competent authority.
- File requisition for bus transportation reservation.
- Make arrangements for meals or snacks as per your requirement.
- Plan schedule for the day.
- Prepare a list of things required and to be carried – food, film, video camera, digital camera, Field Trip Journals.
- Prepare name tags for students and teachers/ parents if I-cards are missing.
- Work out the expenses and collect money for the trip.
- Compose a detailed letter for parents along with a consent note for parent permission with the points given below –
- Date and location of field trip and transportation arrangements
- Educational purpose of field trip
- Clothing for the trip
- Lunch arrangements
- Provision for medicines
- Money needed
- Trip schedule
- Teacher on duty with mobile number
- List of things permitted e.g. camera, mobile, etc
- Parent on duty if required
- Provide options for pupils who will not be going on the trip.
- Inform the cafeteria staff if students will avail or be away during the lunch hour.
- Inform other subject teachers if their schedules will be affected.
- Collect money for the trip and deposit it in your school account. If asked, send the advance fee to the field trip site.
- Create a list of all student names and home phone numbers for use in an emergency.
Pre-Trip discussion with students
- Discuss the purpose of the field trip and how it relates to the current chapter being taught in the class.
- Work on observation skills.
- Introduce vocabulary words that will be used during the tour.
- Show photographs or posters of the field trip site or prepare a PPT.
- Students could be grouped in different subject areas related to the field trip topic to research (e.g. history, art, religion, science, environment, etc) as per the requirement of the topic.
- Ask students/ parents to explore the website of the location they will be visiting.
- As a class brainstorm a set of standards of conduct for the trip (rules & penalty) and discuss money, meals and clothing to wear for the trip keeping the weather in mind.
- Discuss with students how to ask good questions and brainstorm a list of open-ended questions to gather information during the visit. Record questions in student field trip journals.
- Overview the field trip schedule.
To Do List
- Check all consent notes the day before the field trip.
- Check Name tags/ Gate Pass.
- Divide students into small groups and assign leaders to groups.
- Assign each student a partner.
- Place a class list with mobile numbers in a folder.
- Carry a cell phone as mentioned in the parent’s letter.
- Take along an emergency kit (medicines for headache, vomiting, stomach ache, loose motions, glucose, and inhaler).
- Take account of food, specific equipment, medicines pertinent to the particular field trip.
- Number of students going/not going.
During the Field Trip
Plan activities that allow students to work alone, in pairs or small groups as per the schedule planned.
Activities might include:
- Keep an eye on the mile stones/ hoardings/ sign boards and questions may be posed accordingly.
- Provide clues and let children guess.
- Students may be asked to prepare jingles, talk, write their observations, sketch, prepare questions based on their observations.
- Field trip journals for recording answers to prepared questions based on clues.
- Hand drawn postcards to write at the end of the tour that will summarize the field trip.
- Provide time for students to observe, ask questions, and record key words, ideas and phrases as journal entries in their Field book after visiting.
- Ask open ended questions – eg:
- How are these two exhibits/objects/ monuments/animals/plants different from one another?
- What clues do these exhibits/objects/ monuments/animals/plants provide?
- In what ways do these two objects relate to one another?
- If you could change one thing in this exhibit/object/ monument/animal/plant, what would it be?
- Provide time for students to use camcorder, digital camera, etc for recording important resources viewed/heard. Then ask students to record one sentence in their Field trip journal describing why they felt the objective was of key importance.
Post-Field Trip Activities
Follow-up activities will aid student learning and multiply the value of hands-on experiences outside the classroom –
- Provide time for students to share general observations and reactions to field trip experiences.
- Share specific assignments students completed while on the field trip.
- Create a classroom bulletin board displaying materials developed or collected while on the field trip.
- Link field trip activities to multiple curricular areas. For example, students can develop vocabulary lists based on field trip observations; record field trip observations in a classroom journal; complete math problems related to actual field trip budget planning etc, Prepare posters to create more awareness in school about their learning.
- Share and evaluate student assignments/activities from the Field Book.
- Have the class compose and send thank-you letters to the field trip site host, teachers, parents, school administrators and other persons who supported the field trip. Include favourite objects or special information learned during the field trip.
- Create a short news report about what happened on the field trip. Publicize the trip via an article in your local newspaper, school bulletin board, trip presentation for parents or class Web page/ website.
Assessment: Students can pick activities as per their choice, give them the parameters of assessment and then assess accordingly.
Prepare a MCQ/ VIVA/ PROJECT
Evaluating the Trip (Did it help?)
In the teacher’s diary make a note of the following questions as that will provide a good reference for future field trips.
- Were the objectives met?
- What went as per plan and what didn’t?
- What was of unique educational value in this field trip?
- Did the students meet the objectives/expectations?
- Was there adequate time?
- Was there adequate staff and adult supervision?
- What should be added to make this a better experience in the future?
- What should not be done at all?
- Were the assessments helpful?
- What improvements should be brought in to make the visit to this site better in the future?
The same can be shared with the students, teachers and school administrators.
Rajni Jauhari is an educationist with twenty-six years of experience in schools. She is presently heading Parevartan School, Ghaziabad.
In consultation with the British Council she has been conducting sessions with teachers on pedagogy, planning and methodology for learning and teaching process. She is also a facilitator in imparting core skills to educators. She has written a Teacher Manual; she conducts School audits for QCI and is a member of the Inspection Panel for CBSE.
She was nominated by CBSE for Cert IV in Training and Assessment at CIT- Perth, Australia.
She is a certified teacher trainer in ‘Multiple Intelligence’; an active social worker, animal and environment lover.