The Excursion: The Debriefing and Evaluation

excursion
Excursion (Photo credit: Magalie L'Abbé)
by Richard D Boyce

Part A: Debriefing Students

An excursion is simply a day off school work for students if there is no follow up by teachers.

Therefore, it is important to have a dedicated follow up to encourage the students to take the excursion seriously. Thus it is best to have some type of assessment task or report in your follow up.

Below are some ideas of what you might do.

1. Collect all work sheets from students after you discuss the answers with them.
2. Draw out any special ideas you hoped the class got from the excursion.
3. Give the assessment tasks based on the excursion.
4. Discuss the excursion generally with the students to gain an insight into its success.
5. Some students may have ideas on making the excursion better. Seek out any ideas they have.
6. It is also important to discuss the behaviour and cooperation of students during these activities.

Then feedback should be given to the students as to whether they have met the standards of behaviour discussed in the pre-excursion student briefing.

As a precaution to prevent lost work sheets, teachers could collect all work sheets from all students as they alight from the bus (check your roll numbers against the number of sheets you have as a further precaution). Time can be given in class to complete the work sheets as the teacher begins the follow up work related to the excursion.

When the work sheet is part of the assessment task for the excursion and is to be completed at home, make sure the return date is both in bold type and highlighted. Always have a significant number of spare copies of the work sheet for students who lose or destroy them.

Part B: Debriefing Staff and the Evaluation

It is equally important for you alone or with your colleagues to carry out a debriefing/evaluation to test out how successful it was and what areas you need to improve for next time. Your aim should be to create the best educational experience possible for your students. It is important that the work and effort put in by the teachers creates a positive impact on the students.

Here is a list of issues to address. It is by no means exhaustive.

Program

Was the program successful?
What activities can be more successful with changes?
What needs to be deleted from the program?
Were outside instructors value for money and contributed significantly to the excursion?
Were they safety conscious, on time, deal fairly with the students, developed the goals of the excursion?
Did the students react well to their contribution?

Venue/s

Were the venues satisfactory?
Were the facilities well used?
Were the facilities in excellent condition?
Could these facilities be better used in our program?
Were food and drinks available at the venue/s?

Transport

Was the quality of buses satisfactory?
Was the excursion too long? Did time in the bus become a discipline issue?
If the bus trip was long, did the bus stop at times for toilet and a food break at a convenient times and places?

Goals of Excursion

Were the goals of the excursion achieved?
Should the goals be changed by adding to, reducing or amending?
Did the venue site fit well with the excursion goals?

Other Issues

Were the disabled students able to participate fully?

Recommendations for Future Excursion

These should be supported by an evaluation of the excursion's success. Debriefing minutes should be kept and put in that year's file.

This article is part of the advice in an eBook, "Camps, Tours and Excursions". It can be found on the website http://www.realteachingsolutions.com

Our author and his editors have organised many excursions, tours and camps during their careers. This book is practical advice that can only be gained from actually doing the job 'at the coalface' of school camps, tour and excursions. These activities have been carried out in a variety of subject areas and year levels.

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