Gaining essential soft skills through valuable educational trips

Gaining essential soft skills through valuable educational trips

A recent article on The Guardian website highlighted the importance of educational trips and how they are ‘a unique chance to educate students about green issues while teaching a host of curriculum subjects and life skills’. The article describes various trips that have been undertaken by students, including ASDAN registered centre Ringwood School’s trip to Delhi to ‘help improve the health and education of children living and learning there’. The two students from the Hampshire school were so inspired by their trip that they proceeded to start a campaign to encourage others to canvass for universal primary education ­– a lack of clean water and sanitation prevents many children from attending school in Delhi.

It is increasingly acknowledged that educational school trips offer so much more than simply time away from the classroom. They allow students to take control of their learning, add depth and meaning to subjects and help to create well-rounded individuals who are involved in their local and global communities. The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLoTC) explains how learning outside the classroom ‘improves social mobility, addresses educational inequality and supports improved standards back inside the classroom, raising attainment’. It is also ‘known to contribute significantly to raising [educational] standards and improving pupils’ personal, social and emotional development’.

This is all incredibly valuable at a time when there is a growing demand from businesses for new candidates to possess crucial soft skills, such as communication, teamwork and problem solving. An article earlier this year highlighted research by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Confederation of British Industry (CBI) which concluded that ‘young people may be more academically qualified than ever – but they’re hopelessly unprepared for the world of work’. Educational school trips give learners the opportunity to gain these essential soft skills.

Looking back at various schools trips, I certainly developed skills such as teamwork and organisation, especially through residential trips in secondary school. Being a relatively shy child, I was often out of my comfort zone in terms of trying new things and being away from home but these trips gave me a real sense of accomplishment that I probably wouldn’t have achieved in the classroom. This in turn increased my confidence at school and allowed me to gain crucial soft skills, which undoubtedly contributed to my experience at sixth form, university and working life.

ASDAN has recently updated two of its popular Short Courses that can be used to support school trips. Our Adventure and Residential Short Course offers an ideal way to structure and record trips and visits, from activity days and museum visits to camps, residentials and trips abroad. Similarly, our Environmental Short Course, endorsed by The Wildlife Trusts, covers a broad range of environmental activities covering aspects of the atmospheric, natural, built and wider environment.

Both of these flexible and engaging courses can accredit up to 60 hours of activities and projects and can be carried out in a variety of settings. They are also available on our new e-learning platform Short Courses Online.

Author: Emma Jones, ASDAN Development and Communications Administrator

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