"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page"…. Saint Augustine
When it comes to learning we often come across terms like "Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic" learning. How do we learn new things? The three main sensory receivers visual, auditory and kinesthetic are the modalities through which we learn, express and retain in our memory what we have learnt. Students use all of these three to receive and learn new information. However, it has been found that different students have one or two of these learning styles that are dominant. Most often so our learning style is forced upon us. Instructions alone are not enough to help students learn and succeed. It is just not enough to just know the content. Education when paired with site visits and hands-on learning opportunities enable students to experience what they have learned in the class and this helps them retain the information.
Educational tours hence are very important, and this kind of learning starts very early in life during the Montessori classes. Back in the days young students accompanied their teachers for field trips into the garden to learn about plants, flowers, birds and bees. The teachers would first teach them about each flower, its color, its scent. The teacher would then blindfold each student makes them smell the flower and identify which flower it was. This was a wonderful way for the young students to learn in depth about the different flowers, their names, how they look and also how different they smell. It was also here they learnt how a seed grows into a plant, what is pollen, how the flower turns into a fruit. They learn about Chlorophyll by squishing the leaves to see the green pigment. In a little while the complete concept from seed to fruit, how a plant functions is unraveled in front of their curious little selves. They get to touch, smell, visualize and these information get imprinted in their young minds in a playful manner. Several schools organize tours for the young students to factories that make biscuits and cookies under careful supervision of the teachers and factory workers, where they see and learn how the tasty cookies and biscuits that they love to eat are made. This gives them an understanding of the ingredients that are used and the process how these sweet and savories end up on their plate. These kinds of tours are also beneficial for the students who try making things at home. Some very young students also develop love for cooking. Many a time these little interests later develop into a fully fledged career path like that of either a great chef or a food scientist.
Students get to learn about science through various laboratory experiments that they conduct routinely as a part of their curriculum. These are hands on experiences through which the concept that they have read about becomes clear and it remains in their memory for years to come. In the same manner educational tours to historical monuments enable them to connect with the history lessons that they have learnt within the confines of their classroom. The human mind is so wonderful; the power of imagination immediately creates a cinematographic display of how things might have been once the students visit the magnificent historical forts and palaces. It also helps students to think vividly which has a very positive effect as, not only are they able to retain the information better but it also help them express themselves better while they write.
Field trips offer deep cognitive learning beyond facts and concepts. Field trips help to include process skills and draw from other places of learning take for example the museum. Such trips have affective outcomes, such as increased motivation or interest. These visits spark the curiosity amongst the students and also improve attitudes towards topics which otherwise would sound monotonous and boring within the four walls of the classroom.
During field visits immaterial of the place, it could be a factory, a garden, some historical building or a museum, the students have the opportunity to learn firsthand how things work, are able to think through ideas, able to ask questions, to handle and closely examine objects, or artifacts and exhibits thus seeking information from several sources that stimulate all their senses. Even after years had elapsed almost all students are able to recollect and relate to things that they have learned through these field trips.
Apart from what the students learn about the subject these trips are also highly social experiences for the students. It has been found that such visits assisted in building relationships between students through cooperative interactions and discourses.
School excursions that take place beyond the local area enables students not just to learn about people and places, but it also gives the young student an initial feeling of independence being away from chaperoned by family members. Even though they remain under supervision, still they are supposed to take care of their belongings, behave responsibly and these are lessons that are very integral part of growing up. These trips are the first steps towards being independent, responsible and liberal in their outlook. These trips enable them to see and experience cultures and customs beyond what they have grown up with. It makes them more accepting towards other cultures and customs and broadens not just their horizon but their minds as well apart from the many educational concepts that they get to pick up.
These days with rapid advancement in the areas of technology, travel and communication, social media the world has become one big global village. Many schools across the globe including ones in our country engage in student exchange programs. This is yet another great opportunity towards International learning. It gives the students an array of different cultural and community perspective. They learn about very different customs, taste different cuisine. It enhances interest in global issues as well as broader general knowledge. Many students stay as a guest with families from the host country and this creates a lifelong friendship.
There might arise many difficulties while on tours but these only help students to become mature, makes them strong enough to handle different situations, gives them a sense of cross cultural understanding, makes them more tolerant, compassionate and responsible.
BY : Madhuchanda Saxena
Posted By - Assistant Editor