The Field Trip Formula

Mehr Singh Co-Editor-in-Chief Although most Latin students genuinely enjoy most classes, any excuse to leave class is usually celebrated. Field trips can sometimes be the easiest excuse, especially when students can miss two or three periods in the day. However, many Latin students can find field trips “annoying” and “just a waste of time.” There never seems to be a definite opinion on whether the field trips are actually beneficial or they are just way to justify leaving the classroom. In conjunction with lessons in the classroom, the Modern Asia group went to the Maharaja exhibit at the Field Museum. The two Modern Asia classes explored the exhibit while participating in analytical discussions about certain artifacts. As sophomore Bayley Sherman explained, “connecting various artifacts on display to what we were learning in the classroom was really helpful.” Yet, besides the objects themselves, the discussion aspect of the field trip seemed the most successful. Mr. Greer, one of the teachers of Modern Asia, explained “all of us gathered around a painting called ‘The Delhi Durbar of 1903’ and had a discussion.” After going to the exhibit and seeing the paintings illuminating the tension between the English and Indians myself, looking at the piece was probably a history lesson in itself. On the other hand, some field trips just don’t serve a purpose to many Latin students. Looking at trends in unsuccessful Latin field trips, senior Gaby Dago mentioned: “I think sometimes they can be so long and drawn out that students lose the lesson that they came there for.” Aimless hours can certainly make missing classes feel like a waste of time. Aside from the time spent, the amount of students and the destination of the field trip are factors in evaluating the success of a field trip. Chicagoans seem to feel field trips to Chicago landmarks are redundant. Junior Vic Bruene mentioned: “Field trips to places we already know about aren’t as successful, and you need to have small groups of people who really enjoy wherever they’re going or seeing.” Senior Jeremy Leon took it a step further, saying a tour on one of his field trips wasn’t meant for high school kids but rather seemed to have been “catered to Chicago’s fifth grade community.” After talking with students who’ve experienced both types of field trips, it still doesn’t seem quite clear as to what makes a field trip work. Perhaps it is when field trips make abstract ideas more concrete and provide a forum for discussion, or maybe they’re more useful for a small group of kids who are actually interested in the trip itself. Until the Latin community can attain the formula for successful field trip, it might be the in-school field trips that work the best. For example, English classes took a “field trip” to the auditorium during Lit Fest. Rather than having to miss any classes, out-of-classroom learning can still be successful through presentation and discussion at Latin.]]>