|Creative Training - A User's Guide (IIRR, 1998)|
The traditional classroom is dead. At least if you believe that and mourn for its passing, you might make a learners' experience more meaningful to their everyday life. Learning is living, and the traditional four walls of the classroom have collapsed, leaving only chalk dust and echoes. The evidence of learning has to appeal to all one's senses, and these are truly awakened as the classroom recedes on the horizon.
With a field trip, phenomena can be understood by the participants through actual experience (using all senses). It is the creative pursuit of understanding.
Experienced science teachers have often used field trips to complement other methods, but you are encouraged, regardless of your discipline, to 'get out there,' and change the context of your training; to enable your participants to:
· change their way of seeing - to see things and relationships as they actually exist;
· see how the theories that they have learned 'operate' in real life situations; and
· to encourage an appreciation of their society or community and its resources.
Anything from one hour to a week. Field trips do not always mean great expense, or going far away from the training venue. A field trip might just be a training outside of those four walls with activities done outside of the everyday setting.
Why go on a field trip?
Primarily, the purpose of the field trip is to motivate the participants and to develop a positive attitude towards the topic which will hopefully act as a catalyst for learning immediately broaden the framework for learning.
· Ask participants to examine a length of coastline for evidence of marine life.
· What better approaches to geology than Expose the
participants to the concept that when a participant picks up fossils on the
curriculum lives in real objects and you the beach rather than looking at dry
and dusty samples in the laboratory.
· History too abstract? Visit and document sites of historical significance in your own neighborhood.
· Having a hard time with mathematics? Pose problems rooted in real situations outside the training area, such as map making. Let your participants calculate the area of different fields.
· Having problems with a topic on economics? Visit a local business enterprise or cooperative in your own neighborhood.
· Having difficulty with a topic on local government management? Visit a government agency in the locality.
· What better atmosphere is there for studying than on a field trip!
· A lot of participants rarely have the economic power to visit places outside of their own communities. The creative educator can enable this. If a group shares its own limited resources, it's amazing what can happen!
· Remember, so many thoughts and inventions have come from out in the open and not in the classroom.
· The field trip can also serve to add a full-stop at the end of an activity, or can even be used to 'set-up' or highlight important concepts which will be taught later in the course.
· If the participants have a chance to 'see things' that they have discussed elsewhere, the trip will dramatically increase their comprehension.
· Field trips require more planning than normal training
· Not every participant likes to be away from home for too long.
Hasty trips make for much waste in terms of money, learning time and effort. The field trip just like any other teaching method requires careful planning and thought, and some basic materials.
Make sure you are aware of any restrictions on taking samples from
Choose drinking water with great care.
Your main materials are:
· pens and paper
· a means of producing work sheets
· safe transportation
· a camera or small camcorder can be used to document what you've seen and reduce the numbers of samples taken from the environment.
· binoculars are useful for observing wildlife.
Valuable extra material
· first aid kit
Personal materials to look after and develop
· your participants
· sense of humor/patience
The following starting points will help you in planning your trip, just fill in the following.
1. Think about your own training methods and given your own training and community resources, choose an area, which you think your participants can visit during a field trip.
· Which area?.
2. Your field trip must have an objective in order to maximize the participants' learning experience. Think of one very clear concept that you would like to explain, then describe a possible field trip experience you might use (in place of the lecture method) in teaching the concept.
· Which concept?
3. Thinking of your 'concept' and field trip, try and design an activity during the field trip which will complement your subject with one from another discipline (e.g., Mathematics with Arts, Science with English, etc.).
It might be worth planning a trip, which is interdisciplinary.
· Main concept
4. Do a suitability assessment to determine whether the field trip
you are planning will fulfill your training objectives.
On a field trip you have a captive audience, and an ounce of imagination will insure that both you and your participants have a creative educational experience.
· Try and locate your accommodation actually in, or near your, area of study.
· Before booking, involve other trainers in your choice of location. A preliminary investigation of the site (if possible) should include broader questions concerning the feasibility of the area for a field trip. Always confirm the booking.
· How long will it take to get there? A seven-hour bus journey followed by hastily prepared accommodation arrangements, and no hot food can flatten any participant's expectations of the field trip.
· Check out the food. Sometimes a field trip is a wonderful environment to expose your participants to different tastes and different ways of eating.
· Ban smoking and drinking.
· Do try to stay and eat with your participants on your field trip. You might learn more about them during the short duration of one field trip then all those semesters in the classroom.
Try and be sensitive to different cultures - Roasted pork on the
beach might go down like a lead balloon with Muslim participants, for example.
Some participants might not eat meat, so do check with your
· Put a heavy emphasis on letting the participants manage the trip.
· Get consent: try and cover yourself by having parents/guardians/linked organizations know about the trip, and get their written consent.
· Find out about whether or not the place where you will go has guides.
· Make arrangements with transportation facilities to shuttle your participants safely and comfortably during the trip.
Plan for health and safety
· Is your field trip location a safe place?
· Safety is very important and it would be prudent to have a list of precautionary measures which should be discussed thoroughly with the participants and chaperones before the trip.
· Make the trip as comfortable as possible by allowing stopovers for snacks and other services.
· Arranging transport on the morning of departure looks hurried and unprofessional.
· Bring along a first aid kit which should include basics for elementary emergencies. It is also wise to locate the local hospital and have phone numbers handy of local physicians.
· Fires in the Philippines are one of the greatest contributors to accidental death. Be aware of where they might occur. During your preliminary visit to a field trip site, do check that there are emergency exits and ways out.
· Allowing participants to travel across open seas in large numbers on open 'banka' craft when they can't swim is really tempting the unthinkable;
· You are ultimately responsible for the welfare of your
Plan for worksheets
· On a very simple level, these can encourage gentle observations; for example ask the participants to observe natural phenomena such as plants, animals, birds and insects.
· It is useful if these are completed on the site. Ask participants to share the contents of their worksheets and any interesting observations.
· Do not overburden participants with too many questions but allow room for creative inputs such as drawings and poems.
· The worksheet should be open-ended to encourage different creative inputs and should be distributed and discussed before making the field trip.
You might like to consider a field trip to a volcanic area (e.g.,
Camiguin Island). Bukidnon State College students visited sites destroyed in the
last eruption and visited the seismic monitoring station on the slopes of
Camiguin's most active volcano, Hibok-hibok. The participants were guided by
worksheets to look at the tragic history of the volcanic eruptions, which have
influenced the lives of thousands of people. They were asked to examine the
economic status of people living near or on the volcanic areas, as well as
examining the geological evidence.
Worksheet for a field trip to the Camiguin area
· Hibok Hibok was lost active as a volcano in 1951. What happened during the last eruption to the communities living in Cota Bato, the old capital?
· Looking at the seismic station, what do you think is the key indicator that another eruption is iminent?
· Sketch Bonbon church today.
· Describe how it might have looked during the eruption.
· Sit in the church and write a short poem describing the atmosphere of the church. Try and sit away from other people and concentrate on what you can hear.
· Draw a map of Camiguin showing its seven active volcanos.
Note: Provide space for answers in the actual worksheet. Illustrations make the worksheet look more appealing.
Plan for discussions during and after the field trip
· This should be done to find out what knowledge or insights the participants have gained from the field trip experience. Try and conduct informal discussions while on the trip.
· Build in a feedback session after lunch and after dinner to clarify objectives and further fields of study.
· Do not let the field trip experience 'die' on returning to your community or college. Follow-up immediately.
Evaluate worksheets with the group. Create a small exhibition of