A practical application of education is a lot more effective in comparison to direct instruction. Despite copious amount of notes and endless hours of studying, nothing quite compares to actually experiencing a lesson hands-on.
In elementary school, field trips are an integral part of the curriculum. Students often take a day off from traditional lessons to travel to an art museum or see a play. Oftentimes, students even embark on overnight trips, such as the Coloma trip while studying the California Gold Rush, adding a deeper and more personable level to the history curriculum.
As students enter middle school and beyond, the concept of an effective and educational field trip often becomes obsolete. Students attending separate classes with separate teachers for each subject makes the idea of devoting an entire school day to delve deeper into one particular subject unrealistic. Unfortunately, any high school student who misses an entire day of school — even for a field trip — ends up with extra assignments and homework in need of completion in order to compensate for the missed class hours.
Therefore, it is understandable why field trips become so uncommon for a typical high school student: they seemingly cause more work and trouble than their apparent face value. However, Palo Alto High School ought to start accommodating more field trips. The Campanile believes field trips should become an integral part of secondary education. As advocates for the concept of project-based learning, we believe that field trips only add to the overall learning experience by offering a more hands-on approach to standardized curriculum.
It is acknowledged that some students take advantage of field trip opportunities and do not utilize them for their academic value. In the past, some Paly students have set a precedent for inappropriate conduct during field trips, which discourages continued activities in the future. However, it is unfair to base decisions regarding the classes taking field trips on the unfortunate behavior of a couple past students. That does not mean that students should continue to get away with unruly and potentially illegal behavior during a trip. Students need to understand the true value of whatever trip they might be embarking on, along with the consequences they may face should they choose to act irrationally.
Teachers and staff members also need to be willing to accommodate field trips that better the learning experience. In terms of the additional makeup work that many students face upon returning from a field trip, teachers should be more understanding of how hard it may be for a student to complete twice the amount of work in one night.
Through the mutual agreement and understanding between students and teachers, the secondary school environment will be equipped to allow various field trips throughout the year.
Although this sort of compromise might be hard to reach, The Campanile believes the true value of field trips outweigh the faults. Field trips should be instituted throughout the year and not just reserved for elementary-level education.

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