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World should be students' classroom, take them out


By Daniel Adkins Academic Director, Murdoch University Dubai

Dubai, April 24, 2016

Educators now realise the importance of using field trips as a core component of the curriculum.

"I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand," Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher, observed. Nearly 1,500 years later, American educationist Dr Edgar Dale, expanded on this with his famous "Cone of Experience".

At this point, most educators believe that the more sensory modalities that can be engaged in the learning experience, the greater will be the understanding of the world should be students' classroom, take them out material and the retention of the knowledge. One essential aspect of this experiential learning is the judicious use of field trips.

Many adults remember that when they were in school, if there were any field trips, they were generally unrelated to the curriculum and were considered by most students as just a day out of school. Educators now realise the importance of using field trips as a core component of the curriculum. Traditionally, visits to museums simply involved the students walking through the museum, sometimes with a guide pointing out things that they felt were particularly interesting. A teacher using a curriculum-based approach to a field trip would instead previsit the museum, and identify specific exhibits that directly address learning outcomes in the curriculum.

The experiential learning of the field trip would then begin prior to departure with the teacher posing questions to the students for which answers can be found in the museum. The students would enter the museum with specific information to find and questions to consider.

At each relevant exhibit, the teacher would use Socratic questioning with the students to encourage critical thinking and concept synthesis so the students discover and develop the answers to the curriculum related questions. At the end of the field trip, the teacher would facilitate a group discussion of what was learned and what implications flow naturally from this knowledge, always tying back to the learning outcomes of the curriculum.

Using such a curriculum-focused approach to field trips means the whole world becomes a classroom and students understand that learning is not confined to the school room or school hours. Murdoch University Dubai believes in a hands on learning experience in addition to classroom sessions.

Over the years, media students have been attending the Emirates Airline Literature Festival and the Dubai International Film Festival putting to use their classroom knowledge into practice by shooting short videos, conducting interviews and being part of social media teams.

Our IT students attend interactive sessions at the Google office, while our business students undergo day-trading simulation programmes.We are always exploring innovative ways to extend learning outside the classroom.

Source: Khaleej Times