There are many benefits of taking learning out of the school classroom. A 2015 survey by Learning Away found that residential school outings have a positive impact on relationships between students, while almost 70 per cent of pupils reported an increased understanding of the subject studied on the trip.
But what about the benefits for teachers? While you may think that taking your students on a school trip is simply a way to increase your workload, there are actually a wide variety of benefits for teachers too – many of which will even make your job easier and more rewarding.
Get out of the classroom
With teachers working an average of 54 hours a week, getting away from the classroom and into a real-world environment can inspire and refresh educators just as much as pupils.
Research by the Outward Bound Trust found that 97 per cent of teachers on one of the charity’s outdoor learning programmes reported a personal benefit from accompanying pupils on a trip, including enjoyment gained from being outdoors and from being challenged. Stepping away from the whiteboard gives teachers the chance to leave the textbooks behind and let the outside world do the talking.
Bring learning to life
Taking lessons beyond the school setting gives students a new perspective and understanding. A subject that may seem irrelevant or remote in the classroom can suddenly become real. Learning Away’s survey also found that after a school trip 68 per cent of students felt that they knew more about the subject of the outing, while 69 per cent reported that the subject had become more interesting and important to them. Engaging with students who are more motivated to learn and can grasp concepts will instantly make life easier for the teacher.
This type of education can appeal to a variety of learning styles – not just students who thrive in a classroom setting – and can boost results and motivation for underachievers. A survey by Ofsted found that pupils who took part in learning outside the classroom improved their standard of work and had increased confidence and self-esteem. The report also found that this type of learning is most successful when it’s part of long-term curriculum planning and has clear links to the classroom. By integrating the experience and knowledge acquired from a school trip into everyday education, teachers can make their job easier and more rewarding, while maximising their students’ achievement and motivation.
Happier students, happier teachers
School trips offer an opportunity for pupils to engage with teachers in a more informal setting, which helps to build trust and create a personal connection. There are plenty of studies that back this up.
The Outdoor Bound research found that, following participation in an outdoor learning programme, 91 per cent of teachers reported an improved relationship with their pupils. Similarly, a review of research on outdoor learning by Rickinson et al. found that outdoor learning impacted positively on young people’s effectiveness, communication skills, group cohesion and teamwork.
A survey by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom found that 52 per cent of teachers believe that learning outside of the classroom is more effective at improving pupils’ self-confidence than in-school education. In addition, 30 per cent of teachers reported that students’ behaviour improved after a school trip.
Clearly, better relationships between pupils and teachers, higher levels of trust, and improved confidence and relationships between students will have a positive impact on classroom learning, interaction and motivation – all of which will benefit the teacher.
Acquire new skills
Implementing risk assessments, managing budgeting, leading groups of pupils and staff, and carrying out evaluations – this experience can be applied to a variety of project management scenarios. Adding these skills and leadership experience to your CV is also a bonus. Organising and executing a successful trip, especially one where you can bring back educational and social benefits to the classroom, will give you a confidence-boosting sense of achievement.
Expand your horizons
Of course, keeping teachers entertained isn’t a top priority when planning school trips but seeing a play in a London theatre or taking part in an outdoor adventure certainly provides a welcome break from hours spent in the classroom. It also allows teachers to broaden their own experiences and return to school feeling refreshed and reinvigorated.
Struggling to help a pupil understand a complicated idea or to get past distractions of a classroom environment are scenarios that all teachers will be familiar with. To observe that same student in a museum or exhibition and see them make the jump from simply reading about a concept to really understanding it: that’s an incredible moment to be a part of, and a real reward for any teacher.
While many teachers may be put off planning a trip by the organisation involved, the benefits far outweigh any disadvantages. Indeed, improved relationships among students and teachers, as well as increased understanding and interest in learning, will clearly help in the classroom setting. If you need help planning and organising your next adventure, Study Experiences can support teachers with creating the perfect stress-free trip – find out more.