Although many students miss things about in-person learning, schools before the pandemic were generally drab; the daily schedule of classes barely dragging students through their academic responsibilities. It was field trips that made many excited for school at times. Days when schools made such trips would usually be without monotonous lectures and boring class work. Instead, students could move freely among exhibits if they were to go to a museum, or just breathe fresh air as they would have lunch on a nice, sunny day. Due to distance learning, in-person field trips have become obsolete, instead replaced by “virtual” field trips for some. When schools are able to fully reopen safely, however, they should make it a priority to send students on field trips, as said excursions are integral to the overall learning experience students receive at schools.
One important reason field trips should be encouraged is that they lead to more opportunities for students to get to know each other better. Even if they aren’t overnight trips, most students know that field trips are an opportunity to talk with friends for extended periods of time, unlike in school, where students are expected to keep non academic conversations to a minimum. Chit chat can be done while waiting for field trip buses to arrive, while on the bus, while at the field trip location, and while returning. Especially when the pandemic has made a notable impact on students’ mental healths, field trips become more important in that they can be opportunities to boost student morale in addition to being suitable occasions for building back possibly deteriorated relationships with friends.
Another reason that field trips should be enforced is that they can truly be creative ways for students to learn more about subjects taught in class through real world applications. Students in environmental science courses can visit zoos and natural animal habitats to meet up with experts in wildlife preservation. Students in history courses can visit museums, where docents teach them how such artifacts were discovered and discuss their rich history. Students are able to learn in an engaging manner, something that is much needed when many students have been surrounded by constant distractions at home.
Admittedly, field trips can sometimes be chaotic and unproductive when no educational purpose is established, but with careful planning, teachers can make the most out of field trips, providing a completely different way of learning for students, who will have been exhausted by more than a year of attending virtual classes.
As going back to school in person becomes a reality for more people, educators and administrators need to consider how to not only boost student morale, but also how to make up for the lack of hands-on educational time during the pandemic. Fortunately, field trips may be a good solution that eases students back into learning in person.