field trip: n. A group excursion for the purpose of firsthand observation, as to a museum, the woods, or a historic place.
Every student enjoys taking a field trip. A chance to get out from behind the desk. A chance to stop the monotonous droning of the teacher. A chance to ride on the bus and talk with friends.
But these are not the purposes of a field trip for Oak Hill students as they are not always sitting at a desk nor are the teachers dull. But there are two specific reasons we take our students on field trips.
To Excite the Learner
In the Seven Laws of Teaching, John Milton Gregory states that as part of the teaching process, a teacher must, “Excite and direct the self-activities of the learner . . .” (Gregory p. 98). Viewing a Rembrandt in person, or a cannon shell from the Civil War, or animal life at the pond excites students, encouraging them to discover more. A field trip is a tool our teachers take advantage of to engage students in the lesson and in discovery.
To Build a Catalog of Experiences
One of the goals of education for each student at OHCS is to become an eloquent, persuasive writer. Douglas Wilson in his Introduction to Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life suggests in order to be a good writer, one needs life experiences.
Know something about the world, and by this I mean the world outside of books. This might require joining the Marines, or working on an oil rig or as a hash slinger at a truck stop in Kentucky. Know what it smells like out there. If everything you write smells like a library, then your prospective audience will be limited to those who like the smell of libraries. (Wilson 10)
Our students are not quite ready to work on oil rigs but they are ready to begin building a catalog of experiences to enhance their writing. Each time students take a field trip, they are adding to their catalogs. Even the trip on the bus will be an experience to pull from in future writing.
We live in an area rich in history and resources. Our field trips include museums, galleries, cathedrals, historic battlefields and more.