Monday, February 9, 2015

The power of the school trip.

Since becoming a Principal I haven't been on too many trips - something I really miss. I always found it a liberating experience getting out and about. When I worked at a school in town, we were able to walk places - I always found that so exciting and I'd often charge off at the front of the line (I never had patience for the dawdlers at the back) keen to get to where we were going, and explore with my class. I think I had just as much fun looking around at "real people" doing "real stuff" in the "real world" as being on the trip itself.
Sure, they're a tonne of work - paper work, RAMs, parent permission, organising transport groups - the list goes on. Plus it can be stressful. Being responsible for all those children and then making sure the objectives of the trip were met, making sure they got maximum learning opportunities - it was exhausting. Funny how those days were double tiring. But it was always worth it. We know that these days are highlights for our students - why wouldn't they be - they get to learn in a real context. I remember the chatter of excited kids in the car on the way to the place, and again on the way back. It was real. It meant something. It stuck. It was learning.

I was reminded of this when I visited Te Manawa today (our local version of Te Papa) and going through the various sections of local history, NZ history and science part. It was quiet - no school trips today - but it wasn't difficult to imagine excited kids roaming this place, exploring and learning.
I hope that you and your class get "out there" soon. Make it real. The power of the school trip is that it is another place where learning can occur. It may very well present itself as an opportunity to observe your students in regards to key competencies in a real/different context.
Is school just practice for the real world?

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