ERIC Number: EJ1027941
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
The Educational Value of Field Trips
Greene, Jay P.; Kisida, Brian; Bowen, Daniel H.
Education Next, v14 n1 p78-86 Win 2014
The school field trip has a long history in American public education. For decades, students have piled into yellow buses to visit a variety of cultural institutions, including art, natural history, and science museums, as well as theaters, zoos, and historical sites. Schools gladly endured the expense and disruption of providing field trips because they saw these experiences as central to their educational mission: schools exist not only to provide economically useful skills in numeracy and literacy, but also to produce civilized young men and women who would appreciate the arts and culture. More-advantaged families may take their children to these cultural institutions outside of school hours, but less-advantaged students are less likely to have these experiences if schools do not provide them. With field trips, public schools viewed themselves as the great equalizer in terms of access to our cultural heritage. Today, culturally enriching field trips are in decline. Museums across the country report a steep drop in school tours, and research shows a generational shift from "enrichment" to "reward" field trips. If schools are de-emphasizing culturally enriching field trips, has anything been lost as a result? Surprisingly, there is relatively little rigorous evidence about how field trips affect students. The research presented in this article is the first large-scale randomized-control trial designed to measure what students learn from school tours of an art museum. The authors find that students learn quite a lot. In particular, enriching field trips contribute to the development of students into civilized young men and women who possess more knowledge about art, have stronger critical-thinking skills, exhibit increased historical empathy, display higher levels of tolerance, and have a greater taste for consuming art and culture.
Descriptors: Field Trips, Museums, Art Education, Evidence, Critical Theory, Student Surveys, Control Groups, Experimental Groups, Intervention, History Instruction, Rural Schools, Disadvantaged Schools, Poverty, Social Attitudes, Knowledge Level, Student Interests, Disadvantaged Youth, School Policy, Kindergarten, Young Children
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arkansas; Massachusetts