Teachers often tell me about the importance of field trips when it comes to introducing their students to new sites, ideas, and worlds. I recall taking one such field trip with a Sweeney Elementary School group a couple of years ago to the planetarium at the community college. As a kid, I used to take part in about one field trip per year, usually to the Museum of Natural History in New York City, where I became fascinated with the dinosaur section of the museum. Once I stayed there by the mastodons after the rest of the class had moved on to another part of the museum, and I remember both me and my teacher getting panic attacks – she was freaking out in terms of losing a student, and I was probably afraid I’d be locked in the museum at night with the mastodon. Anyway, a new study being reported in Education Week speaks to the importance of these sorts of field trips in developing critical thinking skills.
Oh, and in my first year of attending a community college in New York, my criminology instructor (it was an elective course) took us to Times Square in New York City in the late 1970s to show us the criminal element. That was enough to convince me that I did not want to go into law enforcement.