“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” -Confucius

According to Krepell and Diwall (1981), field trip as a trip arranged by the school and undertaken for educational purpose in which the students go to places where materials for instruction may be observed and studied directly in their functional setting.

Kellington (2010) says, “teachers and students advocate — and studies indicate — that field trips are a key component of school instruction; they broaden the educational experience and make a subject more relevant. Students might be good at reciting and remembering things, but they often don’t make the connection unless they experience it first hand. Field trips connect the dots for students by providing real experiences related to all content areas. Field trips enrich and expand the curriculum, strengthen observation skills by immersing children into sensory activities, increase children’s knowledge in a particular subject area and expand children’s awareness of their own community.”

As Kellington mentions, we can say that the field trips can be organized for different purposes. Mitchie (1998) lists those purposes as listed below:

The purposes for organizing field trips are:

  1. providing first-hand experience;
  2. stimulating interest and motivation;

iii. giving meaning to learning and inter-relationship;

  1. observation and perception skills; and
  2. personal-social development.

When organizing a field trip, the educators need to give importance to those purposes.

But what makes a field trip good?

In order to organize a fun and educational field trip, the educators need to plan both according to the curriculum they teach and the needs of their students.

When teachers share the objectives with the students, students are more likely to see connection between what they are doing and what they need to be learning (Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, and Stone, 2012). Therefore, the students need to know about the objectives of the field trips in order to pay attention and understand the relation between the subject taught and the trip they are taken to.

Students also need to be given free time to explore the area they are in or the hands-on experience they are working on. They need to have the chance to take responsibility of their own learning and spend more time on some specific areas they believe they would benefit more from.

As Cohen and Lotan (2014) said, “Groupwork is an effective technique for achieving certain kinds of intellectual and social learning goals. It is a superior technique for conceptual learning, for creative problem solving, and for developing academic language proficiency. Socially it will improve intergroup relations by increasing trust and friendliness. It will teach skills for working in groups that can be transferred to many student and adult work situations.”. With those in mind, a good trip should include opportunities for students to work and explore together in order to build needed 21st century skills.

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Cohen, E. G., & Lotan, R. A. (2014). Designing groupwork: strategies for the heterogeneous classroom. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Dean, C. B., Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement. Second Edition.

Kellington (2010). What Makes a Good Field Trip?

Krepel, W. J., & DuVall, C. R. (1981). Field trips: a guide for planning and conducting educational experiences. Washington, D.C.: National Education Association.

Michie M 1998. Factors influencing secondary school teachers to organize and conduct field trips. Australian Science Teachers Journal, 44(4): 43-50