One day a week should be set aside for field trips.”

Frank McCourt, Author

Pros and Cons of Field Trips

advantages and disadvantages of school trips

School excursions have become increasingly popular over the past decades. Students from all over the world can benefit from those excursions in various different ways.

Yet, apart from the advantages of field trips, there are also some problems related to this concept. The pros and cons of school excursions are discussed in the following.

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Advantages of School Excursions

  1. School excursions can be educating
  2. School excursions are fun
  3. Field trips can raise the awareness of pupils on important topics
  4. Can be used to get back to the roots
  5. May broaden the horizon of students
  6. Pupils can relax
  7. Information can be presented differently
  8. Students can learn outside the classroom
  9. May also improve the fitness of students
  10. Also teachers can expand their knowledge
  11. New ideas for future teaching projects
  12. Even virtual field trips are possible now
  13. Students may become more motivated

School excursions can be educating

One advantage of field trips is that they can be quite educational for students. Even though students learn a lot in school, the topics that are taught in school are often quite theoretical and students can learn some practice and fields of application of what they already learned in theory. Hence, school excursions can give students the chance to learn from a different angle.

School excursions are fun

Many pupils also like school trips quite a lot. Learning can become quite exhausting from time to time and it can feel quite good to leave the school building behind for a day and to learn in a different manner instead. Therefore, school trips may also improve the overall quality of life for numerous students all over the world.

Field trips can raise the awareness of pupils on important topics

Another benefit of school trips is that they can raise the awareness of students on important global topics and problems which we as humanity will have to solve in the near future. For instance, while students may learn about deforestation in school, they will understand the topic much more if they see the problem in person.

This is not only true for deforestation, but also for various other topics and if we want to solve our environmental problems, it is crucial that we raise the awareness of the next generation on those topics through school excursions and other measures.

Can be used to get back to the roots

School excursions can also be used to bring students back to the roots. Quite often, field trips take place in natural environments. This is quite important in order to show children where we as humans originally come from and that our nature is important for all of us to survive.

May broaden the horizon of students

In general, field trips can also be a great way to broaden the horizon of students. While students learn all the mainstream stuff in school, they are not taught alternative approaches towards life at all most of the time. However, by making excursions, students may get a broader picture of reality, which can benefit them quite a lot in later stages of their lives.

Pupils can relax

From time to time, it is also quite nice to relax as a schoolkid. School can be stressful and relaxing through school excursions can be a great way to reduce stress and to stay healthy in the long run. Consequently, also from a health perspective, school trips can make quite a lot of sense.

Information can be presented differently

School trips also offer the opportunity for teachers to teach students in a different way. Students can see many things that they learned in school with their own eyes and therefore, they will become much more aware of certain problems and will also be much eager to behave in an eco-friendlier and a more social manner.

Students can learn outside the classroom

School excursions also offer a great way to teach children outside the classroom. These teaching methods can be quite effective since teachers can educate schoolkids in a rather playful way. In turn, kids will be more willing to learn and to keep the knowledge they learned.

May also improve the fitness of students

Many children in our nowadays society also often suffer from overweight or even from obesity. Moreover, the overall fitness level of students is often quite low since kids often do no longer exercise in a sufficient manner.

Hence, in order to improve the fitness level of students and to tackle the problem of overweight, field trips which require some level of exercise can also help in this regard.

Also teachers can expand their knowledge

Not only students will learn from field trips, also teachers can expand their knowledge quite a lot. In fact, many teachers are quite surprised when they realize how little they actually know about the world we live in.

In turn, through this expansion of knowledge, teachers may also get better in teaching their students, which can also benefit the education levels of students in the long run.

New ideas for future teaching projects

Through field trips, teachers may also develop many new ideas for future school projects. It is always good to get outside and away from the desk for a while to think about new projects that could be started in the future.

Chances are that the level of creativity of teachers will be much higher outside the school building and therefore, school excursions may also benefit the respective school as a whole as well.

Even virtual field trips are possible now

Thanks to our latest technologies, there are even field trip opportunities right now that can be done in an entirely virtual manner. Sure, some of the benefits of going outside and exploring nature will be lost. Yet, those virtual trips may be better than nothing and students may still learn quite a lot from those virtual field trips.

Students may become more motivated

While many students just hate sitting in the classroom and school in general, they may really enjoy school trips since they will be able to get outside and to enjoy nature and the good weather. In turn, those students may also become more motivated to learn in school if they get out of it from time to time and explore new things

Disadvantages of Field Trips

  1. Field trips can be dangerous
  2. School excursions can be costly
  3. May not be possible if number of students is too high
  4. Transportation issues related to school trips
  5. Insurance problems may arise
  6. Parents may not agree with field trip activities
  7. Excursions may not be in line with the preferences all students
  8. Teachers may be personally liable during excursions
  9. Students may get lost
  10. Schoolkids may not show up for excursions
  11. Organizational efforts
  12. Field trips can be stressful
  13. Can be physically demanding
  14. Time cannot be used for other classes

Field trips can be dangerous

Apart from the important advantages of field trips, there are also some downsides related to school excursions. For instance, one problem of school trips is that they can be dangerous in some cases.

For instance, if you go hiking, there might be some areas that are not properly secured. Hence, if you organize a school trip, make sure that you keep it as safe as possible and also that you choose the destination in this regard.

School excursions can be costly

Another disadvantage of field trips is that they can also be quite costly. Especially students from poor families may struggle to afford those school excursions and therefore, make sure that you choose the destination of your excursion so that everyone could afford it.

May not be possible if number of students is too high

School excursions are also quite problematic if the number of students each teacher has to take care of becomes too high. Hence, if there is not enough qualified staff who can help with those trips, chances are that those excursions can’t take place in a safe manner.

Transportation issues related to school trips

Transportation is another big issue when it comes to school trips. Quite often, big buses or other means of transport have to be organized. In many cases, it is hard to find suitable tour operators and therefore, school excursions may also not be possible in this regard.

Insurance problems may arise

Another big downside of school excursions is that they often also imply significant insurance issues. In many cases, insurances don’t want to pay in case students or teachers get injured during excursions. This makes it quite hard to permit those excursions for schools since they might be liable for any damages that may happen during those excursions.

Parents may not agree with field trip activities

Moreover, in many cases, parents will also not be too happy with the field trip destination. In fact, parents complain on a regular basis about such things and it is really difficult for teachers to find a common denominator so that everyone is happy. Thus, also trouble with parents can be another issue related to school trips.

Excursions may not be in line with the preferences all students

People are different and also students will have many different opinions regarding how fun looks like for them and what they want to do during their field trip. Hence, it might be hard for the teacher to determine a destination that fits the preferences of all students in the class.

Teachers may be personally liable during excursions

Since insurance companies will often refuse to pay in case a student gets injured during a field trip, teachers may be personally liable for any damage in the worst case. This can lead to huge financial burdens for teachers and therefore, teachers may not be willing to take students on field trips anymore as long as the insurance companies don’t pay for any damage during those trips.

Students may get lost

Another problem with school trips is that students may also get lost. It is often quite hard for teachers to monitor all children at the same time and especially with a big group of students, the chance that students get lost over time is quite significant.

Schoolkids may not show up for excursions

Students who don’t like school excursions at all may also simply not show up for those excursions. Instead, they may rather take the day off and play video games or other things instead. This often makes it hard for teachers to plan an activity since they don’t know how many kids will really show up on time.

Organizational efforts

In general, there are also plenty of organizational efforts related to school excursions. As a teacher, you have to figure out a destination, contact the tour provider and also make sure that nobody gets lost. Hence, the organizational efforts can be significant and not all teachers are willing to put in this extra work.

Field trips can be stressful

While field trips can be quite educational, they can also be quite stressful. There is often only a limited amount of time for certain activities and in order to make sure that every student will be back home in time, the timeframes are often rather strict. In turn, this can lead to serious levels of stress, not only for students but also for teachers.

Can be physically demanding

Depending on the destination and the activity of your field trip, it can also be physically demanding. For instance, if you go on a hike which takes several hours, chances are that some students will not make it and you may have to end the trip sooner than planned.

Time cannot be used for other classes

It should be obvious that the time that is used for field trips can not be used for other learning activities. Thus, if the learning effect of those excursions is rather limited, students may be better off by just being educated in a conventional manner.

Top 10 Field Trip Pros & Cons – Summary List

Field Trip ProsField Trip Cons
School field trips can be funField trips can be expensive
School trips can improve cohesion in classLiability of teachers
Excursions can motivate studentsInsurance issues related to excursions
Also teachers can expand their knowledgeMay be potentially dangerous
Different approach towards teachingSchool trips can be stressful
Pupils can spend time in natureNot possible with too many kids
Field trips can improve fitness of studentsStudents may get lost on field trips
May help to reduce stress of studentsParents may not like field trip ideas
Virtual field trips are possible nowField trips can be physically demanding
Information can be presented differentlySchoolkids may not show up

Do School Excursions Make Sense?

As we have seen before, it can indeed make a lot of sense to organize school trips. However, there are also many issues related to those trips and you as a teacher should make sure to solve all the problems of field trips in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises later on.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_trip

https://www.schoolnews.co.nz/2019/07/what-makes-an-excursion-more-than-just-a-field-trip/

https://juliantours.com/how-to-prepare-for-a-school-trip/

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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