With MPs continuing to endorse the benefits of learning beyond the classroom, schools are becoming increasingly aware of the positive impact of educational trips. Tracy Humphrey explains how engaging students’ interest through tangible learning opportunities can truly influence their future.
School trips mean different things to everyone. Many may remember their first tentative outings to the local park, the library down the road or, if they were really lucky, an excursion to the school pond. Although all these options are both eligible and even exciting if you are five, school trips have thankfully moved on. When it comes to subjects steeped in history and inextricably linked to culture, students often need more than a textbook or a PowerPoint. Little can match up to experiencing a subject for real.
An option for all
Yet parents and teachers need not worry that these types of breaks are only for certain groups of youngsters. In fact, guidelines from the Department for Children, Schools and Families offer clear and supportive advice to guarantee that students of all background and situations can be involved in trips. In addition to this, highly experienced tour companies offer both expertise and value for money. Inclusivity is the name of the game and the ultimate aim is to enable pupils to soak up their favourite subjects in new and exciting ways.
Music students in particular can benefit from taking their skills outside of the classroom. Furthermore, they are especially spoilt for choice when it comes to destination choices. Wherever is chosen, it is most likely that music students will work with professionals in dedicated, world-renowned venues.
Within this they can ask questions, rehearse with experienced performers and fully immerse themselves in a world they might one day make a living in. Trip organisers should look for the most inspiring locations for their group to enjoy: perhaps following in the footsteps of the Von Trapp family in the Mirabell Gardens; playing under the ‘Juliet’ balcony in Verona; or even performing on a private bandstand in New York’s Central Park.
Of course, maintaining momentum upon return is just as important and vital to justify the trip. Teachers and group leaders must encourage students to build on any new-found skills and discovered confidence unearthed whilst abroad. Music is truly more than just something for the classroom and a perfect example of why school trips must be both maintained and multiplied.
A lasting legacy
Some reports might suggest that teachers are reluctant and even afraid to organise trips because of increased health and safety fears and pressures. Yet although it is true that constraints exist, it is unfair on many dedicated educators. Many fully understand that all students deserve to enhance their skills in real world situations. Moreover, the availability of established companies to support in organising trips has allowed teachers to focus on what is truly important: namely enjoying building positive relationships with students whilst they develop personally, culturally and, most importantly, intellectually.
Tracy Humphrey has worked successfully as a Head of Music for over twenty years organising many excursions through http://www.travelbound.co.uk/music-tours. She writes regularly for a range of websites and publications and is particularly passionate about the importance of enhanced learning opportunities for all students.