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
As 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.