The benefits and advantages of educational field trips

The worldwide web and YouTube have brought the concept of the global village to our classrooms and living rooms through our connected smart devices. Books and magazines bring the world to our classrooms and home through the flip of a page. However valuable these may be to enhancing education, the experience of encountering new cultures, wildlife, nature, landscapes and iconic landmarks first hand is irreplaceable and without equal.

“Tell me and I will forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I will learn” is the essence of effective educational field trips. Field trips offer students the opportunity to question their preconceived ideas of every aspect of life including their sense of purpose and place on the global landscape in ways that books, television, YouTube and any form of social media can never do.

Critical thinking is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after skills by employers and something that today’s students will need to master in order to prosper in tomorrow’s workplace. It is the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas. It requires the ability to reason. International field trips expose students to real-life learning scenarios where they will have the chance to refine their critical thinking skills.

Too often we see indoctrination disguised as education; where the teacher or tutor has corrupted the noble process of teaching (without even being aware of it) by allowing their own preconceived ideas on the subject to become all-important and failing to provide students access to all the information and allowing them to make an informed and objective decision.

Well-planned and safely-executed field trips can be far more than just a learning experience outside the classroom. They can be a unique life-changing experience, exposing students to a world of opportunities for learning, but also an opportunity for them to learn what they have to offer to others. Field trips are a critical component of a well-balanced education and learning experience of today’s young global citizens and tomorrow’s leaders.

Every field trip needs a core focus or objective that is the primary justification for investing time and money, which ultimately needs to be met and can be met with proper planning and execution. The core objectives may be academic or personal development in nature.

Learning outside the classroom is an active experiential process where students can encounter actual problems and be involved in determining hypotheses and solutions whilst interacting with others. Experiential learning is inherently interdisciplinary, therefore providing an enriched cross-curricular learning experience.

We grow when we are stretched and for many the simple act of leaving behind the comfort of the known is in itself a challenge and an invaluable growth opportunity. Field trips are super-concentrated opportunities for personal growth and learning of life skills. Spending an extended time in a foreign environment with a group of people that are not your family ensures that participants are involved, and when we are involved, we are learning skills without even realising it.

Students who are given the opportunity to spend time immersed in a different culture, experience the opportunity to expand their knowledge about food, making friends and meeting basic needs. These students become more self-confident, more independent, develop greater self-esteem and have greater trust in their skills and abilities than students who do not get opportunities to travel abroad. International field trips provide students with invaluable experience for life and is often the catalyst to inspiring them to reach beyond expectation.

This increased confidence and independence is invaluable in preparing them for college admissions and applying for jobs and generally becoming better global citizens.

While organising a trip for a group of students is no small feat, the overwhelming conclusion is that the benefits that arise far outweigh the time and effort put into organising it.

African Insight Academy has over 24 years’ experience in organizing international field trips to South Africa. To date, African Insight has hosted over 12 000 students. The company holds international health and safety accreditation from the British Standards’ Institute and adheres to the highest possible standard of liability insurance, holding a two-decade incident-free record. Learn more about our field trip programmes here.

Contact us here to talk about your school’s field trip requirements.

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