five smiling students looking at earth globe

How Can Educational Tours Improve the Quality of Education?

By Travel

As an educator or school administrator, it is always your responsibility to be looking for new ways to improve and enrich the education of your students. With most students today having complete access to computers, phones, and the internet, finding new tools to improve the education quality your classes offer is vital towards keeping students interested and engaged. One of those tools is educational tours.

So how exactly do educational tours improve a student’s quality of education? Educational tours offer a variety of benefits that improve education quality, with subject-centered tours, instilling lifetime learning habits, helping students understand the importance of learning in context, developing their social education tools, and giving them a true perspective of the path they might want to take.

In this article, we will discuss the importance for educators and schools to look outside the classroom to create more fulfilling learning experiences, and why educational tours are essential towards holistic education.

Why Schools Need to Start Looking Outside the Classroom

Traditional education has taught us that the more time spent in the classroom, the more children can learn. Many supporters of classroom-intensive learning advocate for fewer extracurricular activities and more classroom hours hitting the books.

But recent studies have found that sticking to the classroom might not be as education and fulfilling as some teachers would tell you. Here are a few disadvantages backed by research to schools that prioritize classrooms and grades as the defining factor in a student’s education:

Grades Tied to Self-Esteem

A paper from the University of Michigan found that roughly 80% of students view their grades as a foundation of their self-worth. Researchers found that school grades were the most relevant indicator of predicting a student’s sense of self-worth or self-esteem.

Regardless of other factors, a student with lower grades would generally have lower self-esteem than their peers with higher grades. Children with lower self-esteem caused by grades were reported to have greater anxiety, distractions, and memory problems caused by the stress.

Increase of Cheating

It should come as no surprise that schools that put a greater emphasis on grades and tests generate more stress and anxiety in their students to score higher on every exam. While some might see this as a kind of tough love, there are lines that show we might be pushing students too far, to the point that they choose to cheat instead.

According to one study, it was found that 64% of high school students admitted to cheating on a test. And perhaps the most interesting finding is the way students rationalize their behavior – they still see themselves as honest people, and think of their behavior as an exception to the rule.

Another study found that students who are praised for their intelligence are more likely to cheat than others, with researchers speculating this is caused by the greater expectations on the smarter students.

Standardized Testing Isn’t Always Objective

There is more than just a correlation between minority or underprivileged students and low standardized test scores. The American standardized testing system is a decades-old system, with the standards set in a time that was much more culturally and racially subjective than today. Some attributes and understandings are simply privileged in these tests, with others denigrated.

Standardized tests do not truly assess a student’s general intelligence; they simply assess how much a student understands of the standards of the test’s creators. There is a reason why SAT scores have almost always been found to favor students from wealthy Caucasian families, with access to tutors and technology.

It is clear that much needs to be addressed with our general understanding of and reliance on testing, classroom-focused activities, and grades. While greater changes to our schooling system and the culture of schooling will take years to implement, there are ways schools and educators can start changing the way they educate students and getting outside the classroom today. One of those ways is with educational tours.

What Exactly are Educational Tours?

Educational Tours from Junior Tours are exceptional travel experiences tailored for the specific educational needs of any student group. They can help students understand the purpose of their learning, and see their education in the true context in which it is used.

With a fully customized, planned, and detailed itinerary, any school and their student group can turn the boring annual school field trips into an educational tour that students will remember for years.

What makes educational tours different from field trips? Field trips might be a lackadaisical bus ride to the museum, or maybe an overnight trip to a national park. But our tours are finely crafted to give students and their teachers and parents or chaperones a truly revelatory learning experience, with a tour guide assisting and guiding you every step of the way.

How Educational Tours Improve Education Quality

young student girl drawing a travel trip landmarkAs a school or teacher, your top priority should be helping students get the most out of their school-related activities. So how exactly do educational tours help to improve the quality of their education?

1) Subject-Centered Tours

The benefit of working with Junior Tours year after year is that you never have to look elsewhere for a different kind of trip. Junior Tours works overtime to provide any kind of trip you and your students might be looking for, making your desired subject the central theme of every educational tour.

At Junior Tours, we offer the following tours by subject:

  • Drama: New York, Chicago, Toronto
  • Art: New York, Chicago, Washington D.C.
  • Music & Band: Concert Performance Music Festival
  • Foreign Language: Montreal/Quebec, New Orleans, Chicago, New York
  • Business: New York, Chicago, Atlanta
  • Fashion: New York
  • African American: Atlanta, Washington D.C., New York
  • History: New York, Williamsburg, Washington D.C., Boston, Philadelphia

Every item on the itinerary works towards enriching the learning experience related to your group’s chosen subject. We understand how important it is to keep students engaged and interested, which is why we will work with you to make sure that the entire trip is as enlightening and relevant as you and your students want.

2) 24/7 Learning Experience

There is no greater commodity than time, and the more people involved, the more important every minute becomes. With dozens of students, teachers, and chaperones involved, it is crucial to make sure that every minute of a field trip is planned and executed as effectively as possible.

Our leadership at Junior Tours understands the stress and difficulty of managing a large group of students outside of campus (believe us – we’ve been there). With years of tours under our belts, we know exactly how to manage and move a group from one place to another, turning what could be a slow and tedious field trip into an efficient 24/7 learning experience for everyone involved.

Educational tours from Junior Tours come with professionally trained tour escorts that will lead, guide, and motivate your students and chaperones 24 hours a day. Trips like these can’t survive on their educational benefits alone – students need to see and follow the enthusiasm and energy of a seasoned pro tour guide, who is not only an expert in their chosen subject matter, but also an expert at getting the most out of every situation.

Rest assured – you can promise your parents that every hour their child spends away from home will be an hour well spent. Not only will we make sure that every waking hour is spent learning, but that your students will start to see that learning is a lifelong, 24/7 quality endeavor.

3) Learning in Context

As great as it can be to sit in a quiet classroom setting and lecture students for hours with a whiteboard and their textbooks, with zero distractions and opportunities to waste time, an academic experience that offers nothing else can be detrimental to a student’s overall growth.

The biggest problem with classroom learning is that it is all, simply put, by the book. It creates students who are “book smart”; students who understand the concept of what they are learning, but not always the purpose of it.

Perhaps now more than ever, it is crucial for students to understand the meaning of context. That certain social truths aren’t always as objective as they might seem on paper, and that understanding how learning can be differently interpreted from the true context of a situation is incredibly important for a quality understanding.

With some subjects, the facts and numbers aren’t nearly enough, because facts and numbers can’t illustrate the sobriety or severity of what the students are learning about. And this is something students need to learn before heading off to university.

Whether it’s understanding the true importance of a historical event by visiting sites and seeing the historical settings, or putting your students in the actual city or culture where fashion, business, drama, and art thrive to give them the full taste of what they are learning, learning in context for students who are growing up in the disconnected digital age has never been more relevant.

4) Social Education

The smartest people are not always the most well-rounded people. Some people are geniuses in school, but never truly show it or live up to their potential because they are lacking in other areas of their growth.

Perhaps they never truly learn how to work with others at school, or they lack the right motivation, or how to transpose their learning and understanding into situations that involve group dynamics. If a school produces countless students that are incredibly smart but lack the social tools to apply their education to helping their community or even themselves, is that school actually helping their students?

Educational tours help students learn outside of the traditional classroom setting, which for some smarter students, becomes a handicap over the years. By taking your students on a field trip where they are forced to move, interact, search, ask, and see for themselves, we help your students develop or improve the social tools they need to truly apply their education in an active way.

Produce students who are not only intelligent but socially capable of applying their intelligence towards helping themselves and those around them. In a world growing increasingly digital and alone, students have to be shown that there is more to learn beyond the screen and the classroom by interacting with each other and the world around them.

5) Real Perspective

There is no denying that our students are the future. And one of the best things a school can do for its students is helping to set them on the path they might want to take. With an educational tour, we can set the gears in motion that will help your students kickstart the rest of their lives. While some students may just see the trip as a fun educational activity, other students will see it as the first look into their dream careers (whether they know it or not).

Educational tours offer students the real, in-your-shoes perspective of what they might want to study or become. It’s a kind of personal growth that is impossible to experience in the classroom or online, something that you can’t read about or watch on a screen.

A student might believe all their life that they want to pursue theater or music or art, but it isn’t until they are standing in the place where their passion is actually performed that they can realize whether this dream is right for them. Whether it’s asking for tips from people in the careers they might want to pursue, or just seeing the setting for themselves, the experience can be eye-opening for students young and old.

It’s a revelatory feeling that can make or break a student’s dreams, filling them with motivation or making them question their choices, but ultimately they will be thankful for the experience.

Start Planning Your Educational Tour with Junior Tours Today

Junior Tours has been offering tours for over the last 50 years, and we pride ourselves on providing countless students with learning experiences they can carry with them for a lifetime.

We customize and personalize every trip with the love and care necessary to create something truly memorable, and with no hidden costs and affordable prices, we make sure every student can take part in our trips. Keeping your students excited and involved doesn’t always have to involve technology – with Junior Tours, we can give your students a quality trip they will never forget.

Contact us at 1-800-631-2241 or send us your information and request for a student tour quote today.

lighted billboards of the Broadway best show

New York City Tours, Designed for Drama Students

By Drama

Going on a student tour with a group of students encourages students to learn more, teaches them about things they might be interested in, and encourages them to pursue their dreams. Drama students may love a tour of New York City, the chance to view a Broadway show and the opportunity to learn more about the theaters of the Big Apple. Guided tours provide an abundance of activities designed to appeal to drama students who want to learn and see as much as possible.

Famous NYC Attractions

While the tour focuses on drama, there is plenty to see and do outside of theater-related activities. Students taking a guided student tour can see famous landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, 5th Avenue, the Empire State Building, and Times Square. They’ll tour through the city, stopping at many of the places they’ve always wanted to see and will have the experience of a lifetime while they’re in New York City.

Broadway Shows

Anyone interested in drama will love the chance to see a Broadway show. The show they can see depends on when the group takes the tour, but they’re going to love the chance to actually watch a Broadway show and see famous Broadway actors on stage. Depending on the tour chosen, it’s also possible to add a second Broadway show to the list of activities during the trip.

Meet a Broadway Professional

While seeing a Broadway show is exciting, drama students may be able to meet a Broadway professional. This gives them the chance to learn a lot more about what acting on Broadway is like as well as what they might expect if they’re interested in trying out for a Broadway show in the future. When this is included in the tour, it’s an unforgettable experience for all of the drama students.

Workshops for Drama Students

Some of the student tours include workshops as well as sightseeing and shows. During these workshops, the students get the chance to learn even more and to try their hand at some of the things they’ll learn. All of the students will have a fantastic time during the workshops and will return from the trip with a new appreciation for the arts as well as new skills they can put to use the next time they’re in a local play.

New York State Theater and Metropolitan Opera House

Drama-related sightseeing trips can be included as well to ensure the students get to visit the places they’re interested in. The New York State Theater and the Metropolitan Opera House are two stops the drama students won’t want to miss while they’re on a drama tour of New York City. Both of these places include a history of the arts in New York and abroad. The students will get the chance to see inside of the theaters and have the opportunity to learn more about the history of drama along with the history of these and other drama-related stops on the tour.

Student tours are an excellent way for students to be able to visit new places, learn more, and to divulge in their hobby. Drama students will enjoy a student tour of New York City designed with them in mind and will love visiting all of the places on the guided tour. Check out the drama-focused student tours in New York City today to learn more about the types of tours you can go on as well as what you might expect if you’re taking drama students on a guided tour to New York City. The students are going to thoroughly enjoy every part of the tour.

student group on skiing

Most Important Travel Trends for 2019

By Uncategorized

You’re already up to your ears, planning for the coming school year and the student trips you intend to enliven classroom learning with.

You’ve got big plans for tying student travel into the curriculum, but are you aware of the most important travel trends for 2019?  Read more in this post about what those are and how they can inform your student travel planning for the coming year.

Winter Wonderlands

Winter travel is more popular than ever in 2019, offering snow enthusiasts the best of the season of cold weather.

Winter sports strike a chord with many young people and the USA features great winter sporting destinations like Aspen.  But you may want to go further afield to the world-famous slopes of Whistler, Canada!

There are so many options for student travel in winter, from snowboarding to skiing, to enjoying a crackling fire in the mountain retreat of your choice.

Going Green

With the environment and sustainability taking center stage, it was only a matter of time before these social concerns asserted themselves in the travel industry.

And green travel is huge for the coming year.  Young people especially are concerned about the state of the world we live in and traveling green is just part of that.  Everywhere, hotels are asking that we re-use guest towels and turn out lights we’re not using.

But eco-tourism offers students additional educational opportunities, which come in the form of trips to nature reserves and national heritage sites which inspire and inform while they’re adventuring the green way.

The Roar of the Greasepaint

Drama teachers will be thrilled to learn that theater tourism is a vital trend in 2019.  Your drama students get an education that’s up close and personal when you take them to famed theatrical destinations like New York City’s Broadway.

But don’t forget Orlando, where Disney’s famed Y.E.S. Program offers students the opportunity to learn more about their thespian aspirations.  Professionally-led workshops beckon in this mecca of theme parks and student adventure.

Taste Bud Travel

Food lovers get a boost in 2019, with food tourism being one of the biggest trends of the year.

The loss of food travel icon Anthony Bourdain may well may have something to do with the uptick in interest in tours which highlight regional and ethnic cuisine.  This is an opportunity not just for those students who have culinary inclinations, but for those who seek to understand the connection between food and culture, as the great Bourdain did.

And with the US being the ethnically-diverse food wonderland it is, the possibilities are endless, from Little Havana in Miami, FL, to mining the ethnic neighborhoods of New York City for its culinary treasures.

Junior Tours

Since 1967, Junior Tours has been supporting hardworking teachers with extraordinary educational trips and tours that live in students’ memories and enliven their studies.

We believe that learning is an adventure and what’s more adventurous than taking learning out into the world?  Discovery, adventure and education create a symbiosis which translates into experiential learning that sticks.

Contact us.

woman teacher studying something on paper

A Teacher’s Guide to Student Travel

By Travel

Student travel is a huge topic for teachers and while we don’t pretend we can fit all the deets into one brief blog post, we do hope to illuminate a basic framework for planning that can benefit all teachers.

Whether you’re a newbie, a seasoned educator, student travel requires a steady hand and this post seeks to steady the hand on the controls.

A teacher’s guide to student travel may not be comprehensive, but it’s succinct and helps you plot a course in the right direction.

Finding the Right Destination

Walking into your classroom and announcing the destination you’ve chosen isn’t going to be popular with most of your students.  Rather, choose 3 destinations and then treat your students to a brief tour of each and its attractions.

This gives your students the opportunity to chime in and to dream along with you.  Encourage group discussion on this item.  You may even want to hold a simple essay contest, inviting students to reveal their favorite of the 3 destinations in 500 words or less!

Finding the right destination involves student buy-in, which generates enthusiasm and excitement.

Budget Matters

Once you’ve got your destination nailed, you’ll need to turn to the budget.  This must prepared before you even think about reaching out to administrators for approval.  They’ll need to know the bottom line.

Remember that the biggest line items in your budget are going to be transportation and accommodation.  Sewing these up first lets you see how much “play” there is for other items like site tickets and special outings.

Give Your Trip a “Shape”

Your trip needs to have a curricular objective to get it past those administrators we just mentioned.  But its shape can be determined to mesh with that and even, expand on it.

Depending on the class you’re taking, you’ll want to highlight an aspect of the curriculum that matches the interests of your students and is perhaps, a little off the beaten path.

Adding a little mystery that serves to illuminate what you’re teaching in new ways is a gift to your students.  You’re teaching them to move beyond the obvious and to personalize their learning with insight.

Itinerary, then Approval

Once you’ve got the previous 3 items in hand, you’ll need to write up an itinerary that’s faithful to curricular goals, but which highlights the effectiveness of the chosen destination for imparting the knowledge you need students to absorb.

Go well prepared, taking with you all the information you’ll be asked for about your tour provider, chaperones, guidelines for behavior and other necessary supports.

Remember that administrators are charged with ensuring that the goals of your educational district are satisfied in all you do.  Make their job easier by giving them all the information they’ll need to grant you the approval you’re seeking.

Junior Tours

Junior Tours has been making education exciting with student travel since 1967.  Founded by a teacher, we support educator goals with experiential travel that makes learning fun.

Ready to take your classroom into the world?  Contact us!

Universal Studios Theme Park in Orlando

The Hottest Spot for High School Senior Trips: Orlando

By Travel

With a nickname like “The City Beautiful”, Orlando has a lot to live up to.  And that’s why it’s the hottest spot for high school senior trips.  Orlando is a breathtakingly beautiful point on the US map and one which doesn’t disappoint when it comes to adventures, unique experiences and discovery.

Your high school pupils have worked hard to get where they are now.  They’ve done their homework.  They’ve excelled.  Now they’re ready to join the real world of careers and achievement.  What better way to celebrate than taking them to the hottest spot for high school senior trips:  Orlando.

Theme Parks for Days

When it’s time to celebrate, there’s nothing more exciting than a visit to one of Orlando’s many theme parks.

Both the Disney and Universal Studios have major franchises here, broken down into areas of interest to ensure that every student coming along gets their most cherished theme park experience checked off the list.

From EPCOT’s Geosphere to The Magic Kingdom’s thrilling rides, Disney takes you wherever you want to go, offering theme park experiences that run the gamut from Hollywood to wildlife and water.

Universal Studios rises to the adventure challenge with a journey through the world of film and television and some of the most incredible rides ever conceived.  Enjoy a singular experience with the Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando Resort and celebrate the union of technology, art and music with these internationally acclaimed performers.

Under the Spotlights

student performance group in Universal Studios, Orlando
Your performing arts students are treated to exceptional opportunities to perform here, with audiences who come from all over the world.

Across the selection of theme parks hosted by Disney, you’ll find manifestations of their renowned Disney Performing Arts OnStage program.  See your students shine, showing off their hard-earned chops in choirs, orchestras, marching bands and even dance performances.

All this and the chance to shine even more brightly by taking advantage of the selection of professionally-led workshops on offer.

And once they’ve learned something new, they can amaze themselves by competing against other student groups at Festival Disney.

Wet, Wild and Spacey

Take your high school seniors to where the going gets wet at the Wet n’ Wild theme park, which replicates ocean waves they can even surf on.  But if that doesn’t float their boat, your scientifically minded charges might find what they’re looking for at the famed Kennedy Space Center.

Students will learn the true story of how the USA forged new frontiers in the cosmos, launching astronauts into the mysteries of space.  They’ll see how satellites have changed the way we live and leave with a sense of pride in our nation’s answering the challenges of the universe.

Junior Tours

For over 50 years, Junior Tours has been treating students to unique educational experiences.  We bring destination knowledge and superior vendor selection to your high school senior trips, coupling educational opportunities with the thrill of adventure and the joy of discovery.

Ready to share Orlando with your students?  Contact us for a free sample itinerary and quote.