5 tips to engage students on a school trip!

There’s lots of advice on the internet for teachers about how to keep their classes engaged, but what if you only get to teach them once? The brilliant leaders in museums, galleries, outdoors centres….. (the list really is quite endless) get one session to engage and teach students. How can you make sure that your session is the best it can be?

 How to keep groups engaged.

How to keep groups engaged.

1.       Find a way to place the learners into the example you are studying. This sounds easy for the social sciences but harder for physical sciences. What if you were a water particle travelling in this river? What would you see? If you owned the land near this energy plant how would your life change? Here’s the problem they faced…. How would you solve it?

2.       Ask open questions that bring imagination into play. This can take being brave on your part – who knows what a kid is going to say. There are some questions that have wrong and right answers, but once your group has got a hold of the facts let them be put to use. Who knows what brilliant ideas you might hear.

3.       Give students a chance to share. This can be tricky when you’ve got a group of 200 sitting staring at you, but it makes students feel valued. When they have put time and effort into ideas make sure you hear from as many people as you can. This will build their confidence for joining in with the next activity.

4.       Put the learning in their hands. Give your visitors as much choice as possible. Place your sessions in rooms with artefacts, or outdoors even. When students can choose the stimulus they use they gain more control and interest in their learning.

5.       No more worksheets! Students learn so much more when they are engaged and creating rather than just filling in boxes. This is difficult when school trips are often made up of large groups, non-specialist teachers and parents with one teacher in the middle who knows all the answers. Ok. I concede that there may have to be some paper-led learning, but try to provide groups with reflection space to generate new ideas and reflect on what they have learnt. You could provide some resources and materials for this to help teachers who may not be so confident (coming soon: Low Budget Ideas to Improve the Teacher Led Trip).

The education you provide matters to each and every child (see my blog: Why Learning Outside the Classroom is Important, and how you can help). For more ideas on how to encourage creative and independent learning in your sessions download your free Challenge Measure here.