How often as a teacher have you suddenly had an excursion ‘dumped’ upon you with no idea of what’s going on? Or been told that there is an excursion coming up, permission notes etc are all organised, but the information relevant to the visit/trip is only given out the day before the event?
By following a code of practice, with full sharing of information and organisation, we can make these aspects of education much more useful, relevant and worthwhile to our students.
Many teachers don’t realise the impact that an excursion or visitor can have upon their students. These can, as Johnson states, “challenge a student’s belief system, introduce them to new perspectives and make them more resilient.”
These trips can aid in building and developing student interpersonal relationships, and develop a culture of belonging to the broader school community, as this identity is often emphasised during a school excursion.This enables them to better learn from each other. Their first community of practice.
Having taught for many years in very isolated, outback school, I have seen first hand the effects of an excursion, and the effects of incursions on the school population.
Imagine the delight and wonder on the faces of children when, as near teenagers, they see the ocean for the first time, or snow! Or imagine the impact an African drum performer can have on a group of Aboriginal school children and their world view, just by seeing the colour of his skin. Truly remarkable.
Teachers now, even more than previously, have a responsibility in developing this CoP and developing these ties which will, over time develop into various other forms of CoPs. By enabling them with the skills to become part of a CoP we enable them to become better learners and contributors.