No student ever fell in love with a classroom. Pupils enjoy the seasonal decorations and learning activities, but the school itself is not particularly exciting. In fact, as they get older, many kids start to get bored with school; some even detest it. That is the perfect time to take education beyond the classroom.
To be inspired, young minds need not be constrained within four walls. There are many other locales possibly better suited for educating youthful minds full of curiosity and creativity. Although some of the following may be well established, a friendly reminder could be helpful.
Since the advent of civilization, humans have turned to nature for lessons about the world around them and as a solace to life’s stresses. Every generation of children is new to the discovery of a pond’s ecosystem of frogs, turtles, birds, and reeds. A woodland hike combines physical activity with exploratory opportunities to observe the natural world up close. Through sensory experiences involving smell, sight, and sound, students begin to appreciate nature’s simplicity and complexities in ways they could never imagine while reading a classroom textbook.
The majority of schools are located within an hour or two of an historic site that becomes the perfect location for a field trip. But rather than making it a formal study, kids can pack picnic lunches and dress casually, perhaps visiting a farm or zoo on the way back to school. Living history exhibits bring textbook figures and classroom lectures to life as actors demonstrate replicas of historic figures and situations that otherwise would remain abstract in a classic academic setting.
Business and industry.
Since most students will eventually grow up and enter the workforce one day, site visits to business organizations and industrial sites can be eye-opening and leave influential impressions. Observing age-appropriate professional activities, whether factory food processing or a courtroom hearing introduces students to future prospects of professional achievement and career opportunities.
Middle schools, high schools, and colleges are increasingly offering service learning opportunities that help integrate students in meaningful ways with the local community. Similar to an internship, co-op experience, or volunteer service, experiential learning gives students a hands-on opportunity to learn about an organization or company close up. From assisting a park ranger in collecting debris from a metro park to teaching younger children in lower grades how to write stories, service learning helps students to learn about the world by interacting with it.
While everyone can agree that significant learning continues to take place in classrooms around the country, let’s remember there are other ways that can be as effective, or more so, in helping students learn important concepts.