Teachers and teaching artists, what do you think about field trips to arts and cultural institutions? I’ve been on both sides as an artist and an educator. When I was Education Director at a theater for young audiences, I spent a good deal of my time advocating to teachers about the educational value of a field trip to see a play we were doing. I wrote extensive study guides and curriculum materials that linked the play to state standards, hoping to fill those seats.
Then I was a classroom teacher for two years, and I suddenly understood the obstacles: no money, no time in the school day, a mountain of work to organize busses, collect permission forms, and rearrange the school day schedule. I found out what a challenge it was to actually find time to use those extensive study materials that arts organizations so carefully prepare for teachers and students! And yet, the experience of the field trip, watching the faces of my students as they watched the play, was always worth the headache. For my students who were studying theater, there was simply no substitute for the experience of seeing live, professional theater.
Here is a link to a great study that just came out about the value of field trips to arts and cultural institutions, published by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Arts in Bentonville, Arkansas. Let me know what YOU think about field trips for K-12 students.