So often students see history as a boring subject that they just want to get through as quickly as possibly. By taking trips that show history in a completely different light, students gain a new appreciation for the past and get a clearer understanding of how it affects their future.
Class field trips are great, but many are just a simple excuse to try and connect learning to an experience. By creating trips with real historical significance, students gain a new perspective when it comes to the world around them. There are so many different benefits to these types of trips and each year, more teachers and administrators are trying to incorporate some type of historical experience into their classroom plans. The result includes students with a better understanding of how history affects them and even shapes their future.
Talking about the Revolutionary War in class is one thing; a teacher can explain what it was like for families to give up their metals to be cast into bullets, students can read through an account of the Boston Tea Party and try to come up with a mental picture of what the events may have felt like, but imagine being able to watch someone actually melt down metal and create bullets. Imagine strolling along the Freedom Trail and being able to see the actual setting of major revolutionary events. Being able to walk in the footsteps of great Americans brings the pages of a history textbook to life and allows students a unique look into the past. This is the goal of all American school trips.
Gaining a New Appreciation
Seeing the past unfold before their eyes tends to give students a new appreciation of historical events. For example, seeing a battle take place in a field I the midst of Williamsburg, students can understand what it would have been like to watch fallen comrades cry out for help as the battle wages on. Even taking part in a meal that would have been served in colonial America can help people have a better idea of what life was like and what was on the line when people began to rebel against their leadership. An experience can bring something to life and give students a new perspective on a historical experience.
Understanding the Larger Picture
It is completely normal for students to be self-centered. They often fail to see the world around them and understand that they are just one small part of it. Trips through American history give students the chance to think about what goes on around them and how they fit into the larger picture. The goal of many of these student trips is to place students in a situation that allows them to look outside of themselves. For example, students may take for granted that they are able to enjoy free speech in class and their voices are heard through their representatives in Congress. Some may even look forward to voting, but it is important to show the students what it cost for them to enjoy those rights.
It is an amazing gift to help a student look outside of him or herself to gain a real perspective on history and its effects. Getting out of the classroom and stepping into history makes the subject more than just a list of dates and important people. It is much easier to draw connections between life as a student knows it and the past when he or her has been able to see things differently. When history comes to life, a new understanding is achieved.