"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you." ~ Frank Llyod Wright
I have lasting memories of many field trip my from elementary school career. Montreal, Quebec City, Niagara Falls, the Welland Canal, Fort Henry, Casa Loma and Pond Mills were just a few that pop to mind. We loved them all and never wanted to miss them. They were great fun, but learned a lot, even if we didn't realize it at the time. I'm beginning to feel that field trips today have changed and I'm at a loss to understand how this has happened.
I look back on what I learned on those trips and I'm thankful for all my teachers that took the time to find learning experiences that also were a great deal of fun. The history lessons in Montreal, Quebec City and Fort Henry meant nothing when we read about them in the textbook, but came to life when we experienced them in real life. Learning about aquatic life and environmental issues weren't the same until we went to Pond Mills and got dirty. Literally. So this week as I see and read about all the different year end field trips happening I'm wondering if the field trip as I knew it is gone?
There are a few reasons why I have this question floating around in my head. In my elementary school days it would have been unfathomable for anyone to not want to go on a field trip unless they were deathly ill. Today I see many students opt out of trips with their parents blessing. As I mentioned earlier there wasn't a field trip that I experienced in elementary school that I didn't learn something and remember to this day. Many, but certainly not all field trips today seem to based solely on the fun factor. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just that I struggle with the idea of a field trip without direct links to the curriculum and/or experiential learning.
I'm not for a minute saying that all field trips that teachers have planned recently are of no value. In fact, there have been some great trips in my school this year. I'm just beginning to see a trend that there are fewer and fewer field trips of the quality I remember from my elementary school career. Are you seeing the same thing?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on field trips and your experiences, both good and bad.