Date of Award

12-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Teacher Education

Major Professor

Thomas R. Turner

Committee Members

Deborah A. Wooten, Dorothy A. Hendricks, Gerald F. Schroedl

Abstract

Well planned and well organized field trips can be valuable learning experiences for middle school students, resulting in gains in both academic content knowledge and personal growth. Students rank field trips among their favorite activities during their school year and often look back favorably on those experiences as adults. While an emphasis on standardized testing has fueled a decline in the number of field trips taken by many schools, when the trips are coordinated with curriculum standards, administrative approval is more likely, student learning is improved, and test scores do not necessarily suffer.

Jefferson County eighth grade teachers and students were surveyed and interviewed to determine their opinions of what factors are necessary for field trips to be effective, that is to provide opportunities for academic and personal growth. Along with a review of the literature, the research showed that these teachers and students see significant preparation as key to an effective field trip; while on a field trip, teachers should engage the students academically; and sufficient follow-up is necessary to help the students retain the knowledge gained on the trip.

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