Yes, It CAN Be Both Educational AND Safe
Educational travel is still one of the most effective means of taking your classroom instruction outside of the four walls to complement theory with life experience. We know that students have varying learning styles and there has been increasing pressure at all levels to adapt how we teach to meet these needs. Integrating the community and world at large into our curriculum through direct contact and travel is both effective and motivating to both students and staff.
Educational travel does have its challenges, requiring staff willing to take the time to organize a tour program that is realistic and accessible to as many students as possible. It is also important to address the issue of safety and security of educational travel and to be able to reassure school administration, parents and school boards.
Using educational travel companies that can provide the resources necessary to ensure curriculum linkage is a must for schools. Also important is finding an experienced travel operator with the ability to assist teachers in organizing safe and cost-efficient programs that their students can afford. Despite a more turbulent post 9/11 world, student travel is in many respects safer today than ten years ago. Insurance is available that will permit schools or boards to cancel a tour if there are legitimate concerns over safety or security of a planned tour going beyond government travel advisories. Night security in hotels is also available in most countries to assist staff in monitoring student safety and behaviour. Industry standards for school travel safety—including bus and hotels, restaurant and venues as well as tour leaders—are both monitored and promoted through independent organizations such as the Student Youth Travel Association (www.syta.org), the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (www.acta.ca) and tour agencies that adhere to these standards.
The important thing is to not abandon educational travel as a viable educational asset to classroom instruction. Travel is a natural motivator for your students and provides significant learning outcomes from the direct experience. Your educational travel specialists can help select a relevant destination and can fully customize your tour to meet your school objectives and curriculum.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ron Jeffery has been the coordinator of high school academic group travel with Innovative Group Travel (www.innovativegrouptravel.com) since retiring from a 30-year teaching career in 2006.
This article is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s November 2010 issue.