Educator’s Role in Ensuring Safe School Excursions

’23 dead in Nepal student bus crash– New Straits Times, 22 December, 2018 [1]

 ‘School trip takes a horrific turn’– The Star, 25 March, 2014 [2]

How do you feel after reading these headlines? Insecure and uncertain? Thinking of cancelling the school excursion that you had in mind before this? Thinking about what you can do to make sure that your excursion will go on smoothly?

Putting aside the risks, there is no doubt about the advantages of school excursions. Nothing beats the experiential learning that it provides for learners. School excursions can serve as a culminating experience, as a catalyst to stimulate interest in a new topic, or for the learners to engage in the real world with the opportunity to share different perspectives with experienced worker from the related field. [3]

With that in mind, how can educators minimize risks in school excursions? Let’s take a look at our top 5 tips to ensure safe school excursions.

 

Planning

  1. PLANNING, PLANNING, PLANNING

Planning is always the key. Apart from educational objectives, the other aspect to consider while planning your school excursions is risk management planning, which includes road safety education, first aid education, learner’s physical limitation, awareness of emergency numbers, transportation, weather forecast and communication. If possible, visit the Place of Interest (POI) yourself beforehand as studying the environment will help you plan for your excursion risk management. Also, do not forget to design, tailor and follow your school’s procedure for approval.

According to Kim Werner, first-grade teacher at Moscow Elementary Center in Pennsylvania and a veteran of more than 20 field trips, the key is in the details. “Be prepared. Know anything and everything about where you are going. Find out medical information about your students. Keep multiple copies of your information (class and group lists, reservation and transportation information) and keep a check-list to refer to often.” [4]

 

 

Safety

  1. DISCUSSING THE SAFETY PROCEDURES

Safety procedures are crucially important to keep the excursion safe and enjoyable. Be sure to brief your learners about the emergency procedures, preparation for weather conditions, staying with a group or a partner, and letting them know the nearest locations for medical services and police stations. Remember to review all the procedures with your learners way before the school excursion as accidents can be preventable with proper guidelines.

Other than that, focus also on the consequences of violating the safety rules. Both the educator and learners should be responsible to look out for one other. One effective

way for the learners to understand the importance of safety is to involve them in the discussion about safety precautions and consequences. Depending on the age of the learners, you can either make them do their research about the POI or you can list out the potential hazards to be discussed together.

 

 

Parents Communication

  1. COMMUNICATING WITH PARENTS/GUARDIANS

Make sure to receive parents/guardian’s approval before their children participate in any school excursions. Parents should be updated with all important information before, during and after the excursion. Effective parental communication system will be helpful for both parties to ensure school gets updated children’s medical and health information, and to allay parents’ fears and worries during the excursion. With current technology, many social apps could be utilised for efficient real-time communication (eg: creating a group chat specifically for the excursion).

 

 

Alert

  1. STAYING ALERT AND COUNT ALL DAY!

Never ever let your guard down. During school excursions, it is most likely that your learners will be having tonnes of fun exploring and discovering the new environment; and as you know, accidents can happen when you least expect it. The situation could be worse if you lose a learner from the excursion! Therefore, appoint a ‘counter’ to help you with the head counting every single time when everyone arrives and leaves a POI. Stay alert- better be safe than sorry!

 

 

Find Service

  1. FINDING A GOOD EDUTRAVEL OPERATOR

Creating a smooth and unforgettable learning experience for the learners can be collaborated with an experienced EduTravel operator. There are many companies now that serve as a middle person to plan the entire school excursions- sorting out the transportation, accommodation and activities, based on your school’s learning syllabus. However, it is critical to find a trusted and experienced operator that is committed to safety above all else, has a systematic risk assessment framework, and takes the extra effort in inspecting the POIs beforehand to ensure on-the-ground understanding of the risks and hazards.

In Malaysia, BeED is an EduTech company that provides a dedicated team of trained professionals to help customize education trips that best suit every institution’s individual needs and preferences. Whether it be a local trip or an excursion abroad, BeED is the one-stop edutravel company that specializes in A-Z school excursion planning and helps mitigate risks with their thorough risk assessments. Besides that, BeED strives to minimize educator workload, promotes community engagement and cultural exploration to lead to an overall improvement of the teaching and learning process.

 

To understand more about BeED, check out their website at www.beedtheworld.com and do contact them at enquiry@beeducation.biz if you need any help with your school excursion planning!

 

 

REFERENCES:

[1] AFP. “23 dead in Nepal student bus crash.” New Straits Times. 22 Dec. 2018. http://www.nst.com.my/world/2018/12/442939/23-dead-nepal-student-bus-crash

[2] Joibi, Natasha and Murad, Dina. “School trip takes a horrific turn.” The Star Online. 25 Mar 2014. http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2014/03/25/school-trip-takes-a-horrific-turn-one-killed-four-injured-en-route-to-lunch-in-hulu-langat-after-cam

[3] Carroll, Kathleen. “A Guide to Great Field Trips.” Skyhorse Publishing. 2014. Web. 11 Mar. 2019.

[4] NEA Member Benefits. “5 Tips for Successful Class Field Trips.” NEA Member Benefits. Web. 11 Mar. 2019.

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