The benefits of such opportunities for students are much lauded and quite rightly they form the focus of any trip planning. However, the more I took students out of the classroom the more I started to appreciate just how rich and varied the learning opportunities were for me, as their teacher. The reality is that it helps broaden your own experiences and brings a new perspective and deeper understanding to a subject, leading to greater confidence in your own teaching. Away from the physical learning journey, outdoor learning opportunities have also long been proven to improve both physical and mental health and enhance wellbeing. The outcome is that students and teachers are guaranteed to return to the classroom feeling reinvigorated. We need this feeling more now than ever before!
There are also those students that we must not forget; for those that don’t necessarily perform well in a classroom, the context of being outside, on site on tour, can often be a chance for them to shine. It can help them to see learning from a different perspective, improve engagement and positively affect motivation levels. Seeing students in a different light and being able to appreciate their different learning styles can be transferred into future lesson planning. This is a benefit of touring that I appreciate more and more in my role as Geography Tours Development Manager.
“It can help them to see learning from a different perspective, improve engagement and positively affect motivation levels.”
Being in an informal setting gives you time to talk to students, to get to know them and find out what makes them tick. It’s a chance for students to appreciate that teachers are real people with real lives outside of the classroom. Establishing a bond and developing a trusting relationship between students and teachers can only have a positive impact on classroom learning and interaction.
Organising a school trip on top of an already busy workload is of course very time demanding. You have to manage a budget, assess risk and lead not only students but staff too. Yet there is no doubt the rewards far outweigh the challenges. Learning outside the classroom has a significant impact and it is a privilege to be able to share these experiences with young people and witness their amazement and delight as they experience the world around them. In a nutshell, that is why going above and beyond as a teacher is worth every minute!