As I check my Facebook feed this summer I see all my friends travelling and experiencing new and wonderful adventures. They are creating memories that will last a life time and stories that will continue to be passed along. I am reminded of how providing this type of opportunity to students is the reason I love what I do at Brightspark.
Travel complements the teaching in the classroom. It is one thing to learn the dates, names and facts of our history in the classroom, and another thing to experience learning hands on and in location where students can make special connections and understandings that will stick with them for a lifetime. Exploring new frontiers often stimulates the creativity of youth. The engagement of new environments and cultures triggers the excitement to be open and try new things. What if that one trip changed a student’s educational career path? I know it did for me. I never enjoyed history until my school trip to Florence, Italy. Everything I saw and learned, the sights, the smells, the people, opened up my eyes to the world and led me to graduate university with a degree in history.
What about the personal connections that are made while travelling? Some of these relationships continue to last a lifetime. While on tour, students often group with schoolmates that they have never talked to before and get to know each other in a different way. I have seen students paired for rallies and scavenger hunts that make a connection while working together for a similar goal. This can lead to an amazing friendship that may not have been discovered if not for the trip. Special connections are also made between teacher and student as they participate in tasks they normally would not, such as having dinner together. These moments allow for new types of conversation and a unique bond to form, possibly creating a better environment for engagement in the classroom.
The exposure to new areas of the world tears down old barriers and launches travelers beyond their previous limits. Students learn about the world outside their own community. School trips also often give students the sense of accountability and teach self-sufficiency. By making their own choices, whether ordering at a restaurant or purchasing treats in a busy shop, students come to the realization that, yes, they can do this all by themselves. This sense of independence then leads to confidence, which is a solid foundation for any young person.
We must look at travel as an investment in the youth of today who will one day shape the future. These travelers will take what they have learned and seen and apply it to future endeavors. Whether a parent, teacher or friend; let’s try to get as many students as possible out on the road gaining educational development and creating new adventures.