Have you noticed that your school has reduced support for field trips within the most recent years?

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Have you noticed that your school has reduced support for field trips within the most recent years?

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There are many factors affecting school field trips. Support from the school, parents, teachers and whatever outside facility or organization is involved is required. When asked whether their school had seen a reduction in support for field trips within recent years an overwhelming majority of teachers responded with a positive vote.

The educational benefit of field trips hasn't changed. Field trips allow teachers to supplement learning with hands on experience in the chosen subject. If the class is studying fish biology, for example, then a trip to a local fish hatchery helps to put the facts in sharper focus. Seeing, touching, and experiencing the facility helps cement the learning for many students, particularly those who are visual learners.

At the very least field trips provide a break from the ordinary. Students look forward to participating in something different from the regular classroom routine. Many classes are given the opportunity to take part in non-academic field trips as well. Trying out a sport that is not offered at school is one example. For students whose parents can't afford extra-curricular activities, these types of opportunities are invaluable.

So why have schools seen reduced support for field trips in recent years? The most obvious explanation is financial. Many field trips involve parent volunteers to provide transportation. With the rising cost of gas many parents feel unable to participate in this way any longer. As the cost of living increases many families are finding that both parents now need to work, where only one had been an income earner previously. With both parents' schedules being less flexible many classes find it difficult to obtain enough parent volunteers for field trips.

Even taking out the parent participation factor, other rising costs have made field trips more difficult to plan and implement. The cost of running a school bus has risen as have entrance fees for events or attractions that teachers may think suitable field trip material. With increased pressure on school budgets extra funding is often not available.

It's unfortunate that so many reasons are conspiring to thwart teachers' attempts at organizing school field trips. The benefits to students are obvious, especially those in less affluent areas, and many students will miss out on valuable learning opportunities.