Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sharles' Study Abroad: Study at the Farm

One of the groups at De Klinker had the opportunity to go on a field trip this past week.  This group went to a local family owned potato farm. This field trip had numerous educational benefits that would assist in not only authentic student learning but also student demonstration of independence and self competence.

The students learned first hand the processes that go into growing, harvesting, and supplying potatoes to the public. The students were able to help sort the potatoes from the unusable roots before going into refrigeration. Once in the cooling rooms, the students were amazed by the massive amounts produced from the harvest. They even had opportunity to harvest their own stockpile of potatoes to take home to their families. They were introduced to “experts” of the trade who were able to help the children understand key ideas and answer any curious questions. This experience has led the students to think deeper about how the potato gets from the ground and into their homes.
20150929_140759The student age in this group can range anywhere from eight to ten years old. At this point in childhood, the student enjoys demonstrating their own independence. Usually in classrooms teachers will scaffold this developmental need by assigning certain tasks that students can successfully complete on their own or with the help of their peers. For this particular trip, the students were able to carry out major independent actions. The first came with riding their bicycles. Each student would ride their bicycles to school and then depart as a class towards the farm. After being guided as how to safely ride on the public transportation routes, the students gladly took their spot in a double file line following their teacher.  This was the same strategy followed for the trip back to the school. I think it is important to note that the students have certain experience when cycling. The culture itself relies heavily on this mode of transport. Another form of independence came with the harvesting of the potatoes. The students were able to work and provide food for their families by digging up their own potatoes. They showed much ownership of their fruit of the field when reunited with their families at the end of the school day. These actions are preparing the children for adulthood by providing them with specific life long skills such as work ethic and determination. This just goes to show that every lesson we teach our students can and should be related to real life experiences. In essence, the students will use these tools to create a better community in which they live in the coming future.

20150929_121934From this experience I have had the opportunity to see through a different perspective. I realize that there are things that hinder the classroom from traveling various places. These things may include absence of funding, restricted permissions, lack of transportation or even school safety precautions. Perhaps the most common is the funding issue. Although funding may lack, there are certain steps that can be taken to produce an authentic learning experience as in this day’s experience. This teacher did not let these issues hinder her desire for an authentic learning experience and this should be the same for all teachers who see potential with local opportunities. With this in mind, I do realize that in the states, we would not be able to simply ride our bicycles to a near by destination. Our culture isn’t set up for such an endeavor. However, perhaps thinking of our students first can motivate our planning procedures. What can we do as the guides of our students’ learning experiences that will cause them to explore their potential? What can we do within the classroom that will allow them to seek more than the adequate amount of knowledge?

1 comment:

Vikram Kadam said...

nice blog for study abroad study at the fram
study in France