Teachers and students have leaned into the challenge of moving from school-based learning to home-based learning…
Students have the opportunity to see new things and learn about them in a more unstructured way.
Most students are excited about class trips and anticipate leaving the school environment to explore a museum, see where our government operates or spend a few days away together to experience a historically or culturally significant place. In addition to open-social time during transportation to and from, students can determine what they learn and how they learn it. Said differently, student learning can be interest-driven, not teacher and curriculum driven.
Recently, our Grade 11 Biology students visited the Canadian Museum of Nature. When asked about their trip, a group of students were keene to tell of their experience. “We learned about fossils and dinosaurs, got to pet polar bear fur, saw a really cool Indigenous Arctic ice sculpture, learned about our oceans and global warming, and saw centipedes and all kinds of insects.” Museums actively engage visitors with multimedia experiences and enrich learning with sensory and intellectual inputs. Rachel explained, “we learned about microevolution in class and being able to see it at the museum, brings what we’ve heard in class to life.”
Grade 10 students visited Parliament Hill for their Civics class. “This year students had a unique opportunity to meet the speaker of the house,” said their teacher, Ms. Visser. “They also saw the Conservatives deliberately filibuster, use delay tactics, in the passage of the Liberal budget.” Fellow teacher, Mr. Jaspers-Fayer, stated, “a trip to parliament helps bring the theoretical into reality. Students see parliamentarians in action during question period and also get to meet them personally and ask them questions.” He mentioned they were able to listen to presentations by Dan Monafu, a civil servant, and a Redeemer alumnus, Lucy Brinkman. “It was interesting to visit our legislative assembly”, exclaimed Lindsay, a Grade 10 student. “I got to see where major decisions are made for our country.” She was also excited to have seen Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Sarah commented on a portrait she saw of Canada’s eighth Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden, who served during World War I. “We learned about Borden in history class and seeing his portrait makes him more real to me.”
In addition to local class trips throughout the year, all Redeemer students enjoy three days away from school in early May. “I think the Grade 9 trips are an opportunity to personally experience some parts of our curriculum and school mission in fun and more engaging ways, said Mr. Vance, one of the organizers of our Grade 9 experience. “For example, service is a big part of our mission statement, and on Wednesday we’re going to split into groups to serve our community associations, local businesses and churches. We know that cultural engagement is important, and on Thursday we’re going to have a photo scavenger hunt featuring culturally significant locations downtown Ottawa. Physical fitness is a big focus, and on Friday we’re going to spend the day at the aerial park at Camp Fortune.”
While the Grade 9s stay close to home, our Grade 10 students travel as far as the Niagara region on a trip “designed to deliver a cultural and historical experience that would never be possible in the classroom”, wrote teacher, Mr. Hamilton. Highlights of their upcoming trip include taking in a show at the Stratford Festival, visiting an automotive manufacturing plant, getting wet at Niagara Falls, and taking in the Royal Ontario Museum to learn more about the history and science that has shaped our world. Grade 11 students will spend a few days at a local Christian camp. They will have an opportunity to serve Camp IAWAH by getting the camp ready for the summer, chopping wood and painting picnic tables, as well as use the camp facilities and natural environment to have some fun. Grade 12 students enjoy a few days learning about our neighbours to the south during a visit to New York City. They get to see Manhattan’s iconic buildings and landmarks, take in a Broadway Show, and explore multicultural neighborhoods with a walking tour and boat excursion.
Regular class trips to local points of interest as well as annual class trips to complete the year are an important aspect of a Redeemer education. “Field trips provide our students with real world knowledge which is essential to their development, extending learning beyond the walls of the classroom,” acknowledged Linda Delean, principal. “Learning is enhanced when students view it first hand and participate in the experience.”