In this month’s excerpt from Education Week’s field trip series, a theatre arts educator provides suggestions for engaging students before, during, and after an artistic field trip, such as attending a play, music venue, dance performance, or museum exhibit.
Response From Effuah Sam
Mrs. Effuah Sam has 15 plus years knowledge and experience in the education field at the university, high school and middle school levels. Sam currently serves as a Theatre Arts educator. In addition, she works on building strong teams and has formed several community partnerships centered on the performing arts and engaging youth for social change. With training in speech communication, theatre, and educational technology; she believes education is one of the greatest vehicles for change in our global times:
Here are a few suggestions for maximizing the learning potential of artistic field trips:
- What is Etiquette?: Have lengthy discussions about the expectations for the venue and/or educational journey. What are the rules and/or etiquette for the establishment? As you eat at the dinner table, what should you do and not do? When we go here, we will do ‘x,y,z.’ Be very clear and provide information in letters home and through communication pieces to parents/guardians. Talk about copyright, piracy and what is means to be an artist and who owns the artistic work; per item ‘c’ below, talk about photography/videography and policies of the venue.
- The Educational Journey (Not Just a Trip, Learn Something): Explore and preview what is to be experienced through writing, reading, pictures, and reenactment/clips, but limit it. As one should consider what will be authentic and magical when you take out the “surprise.” If there is critical background to know for understanding, interpretation, and/or greater appreciation, by all means share! But, you want the critic (verbal, written) and evaluation process in follow-up to be authentic and not shaped by prior review materials.
- Enjoying Art/Artistic Appreciation: Allow students to enjoy the experience fully. Where handouts, pamphlets, playbills, and other ancillaries can be obtained, try to acquire them as keepsakes, scrapbook art, and further instructional materials for a later date. Group shots boarding the bus, at the venue, prior to the artistic viewing, and following should be allowed to capture moments- but, be mindful of camera/videography policies and adhere to them.
- Valuing Artistically: Following the educational journey, connect to your subject area and that of others. How does this experience relate and what are the “take a ways”? What did they learn about themselves, others, and the art form explored in the trip? What will they do differently based on this experience? Critique and evaluate the artistic work- what might they change, keep, or do differently? Recreate aspects of the experience in your room (i.e., rewrite the play, play pieces of the music-faster, slower, draw their interpretation of one of the works, act out a scene with a different ending/characters, etc.).
- Thank You’s Continue Art Journeys: Show appreciation and gratitude to those who made the trip possible. Have students write or create tokens of appreciation. Explain the coordination process and/or all that went into the experience. Prior to the trip tell students to thank the transportation providers when boarding and/or exiting the vehicle(s). Follow-up personally in order that the venue knows what you did prior and/or after the experience and what the trip meant for your students; this may be the ticket for continued access to this venue/facility for similar experiences. Those who support the arts and those who provide such experiences often need the documentation for continued sponsorship and grant based funding and some may even ask or need a survey or two filled out.
From Education Week, “Great Field Trips Expand the Mind,” by Larry Ferlazzo on December 14, 2016.