As a parent, I have taken my children for many checkups over the years. One consistent reminder that I have always been told from pediatricians, is that children develop at different rates. One child may excel physically, such as walking at an early age; while another child the exact same age may have strong intellectual achievements. Children are stimulated by different forms of learning. Some may learn from social interaction, impersonation, visual aids, and hands on activities; others by repetition, reading, and oral discussion. Each of those learning techniques should be expressed in school. One particular form that I feel strongly about is field trips. They are a great way to reach children and keep their minds working. Not only are they enjoyable for the children but also stimulating and thought provoking.
I believe that it is a necessity that school systems reach every need of our children. The Longitudinal Teacher Survey of 1997 discovered that 60% of classroom
exercises are ones with pen and paper done individually. I feel that an experience outside of the classroom makes a great impact on young minds. Field trips are an excellent way to drive home material that they have learned. A trip to a science museum after learning about electrons or an outing to a local theatre to see Romeo and Juliet after reading it in English class could really be beneficial for students of all ages.
Do you believe that a field trip can actually benefit students intellectually and improve test scores? A recent article by Javier Hernandez published in The New York Times on October 20, 2009 entitled “A Moo-Moo Here, and Better Test Scores Later” addresses that very question. In Hernandez’s article he observes a school field trip for a group of kindergartners. The bus is bound for a farm hauling 75 children from the city of Harlem, New York. (1)
The annual state exams are given to children the end of their third grade year until graduation of high school. Those tests are compiled of questions from each school subject. Many of those questions pertain to issues and circumstances that are foreign to a majority of children raised in cities. Hernandez tells us that on the state test there are “Questions about, livestock, crops, and other staples of the rural experience ….” In term students from rural areas seem to be oblivious to terms related to urban city life. The astonishing admission by Tony Archuleta, principle at Walatowa Charter High School, said “They don’t know what a lawn is or an escalator,” came as a shock to me. I was born and raised in a region of the United States that is thought to be one of the most deprived
and undereducated areas in the country. Yet, I knew what those things were. I was taught at such a young age that I can’t even recall learning them. It’s as if the word lawn was always there in my vocabulary. So how is it, that common term such as those could go unknown to anyone? I feel it...