Today we had a disappointing field study.
First, the field study experience we paid for did not happen. The location personnel did not support our visit similar to the past. They did not give the kind of quality presentation we expected, instead they seemed to give us a performance that represented little regard for us or our students.
Also a few students did not behave appropriately. Partly this was due to the disappointing quality of the presentation and the late start, but it was also due to the fact that we clearly need to provide more structure and review manners and expected behavior with greater focus for some. While some students clearly have experience interacting with museums and "museum behavior," for other students this is new requiring greater preparation.
Finally, it may be true that the museum was simply too small and not focused enough on what young students need with regard to learning about history. It may be that this museum is a better field study for older children who are doing research related to a specific time period or focus area. And, I wonder how our shift to greater skills and less of the rich project-based learning we did in the past from K-5 related to social studies affected this trip too. I noticed that during an earlier social studies field experience, children had less background knowledge than in the past, and I wonder if the fact that we let go of many wonderful history-related projects and field studies throughout elementary school contributed to this too. Thankfully the state is re-looking at social studies throughout the grades, and while people complain about standards, standards do sometimes fuel good, comprehensive programs.
If you read my blog, you know that the students in my school have had many wonderful field experiences over the years. We're bound to have one now and then that doesn't live up to our expectations. I look forward to working with my team as we think about the trips ahead, and what we might do to support a wonderful experience for all students. I also look forward to planning future trips and thinking about which trips support the best learning experiences. Onward.