Planning a trip, whether to a local pumpkin patch or a European study tour, takes experience and a new course at Corban is helping students get that.
Preparing and Leading Educational Travel Experiences was 3-credit course offered during the fall semester. The class was designed by Assistant Professor of Education Aaron Imig, Ed.D. His goal was to prepare students to plan and lead educational tours, whether for kindergarten students to a local museum or on an international adventure.
“I’ve led five different educational trips and I know the value of the mobile classroom,” Imig said. “There are many things you can’t learn in the classroom, but teachers need to understand what it takes to plan a trip for it to be successful.”
Throughout the semester, students learned how to align course material with trip opportunities. They learned how to compare travel agencies and how to market trips to students and parents.
“You need to learn how to decide what field trip to take and when to take it,” Imig said. “You need to know the state standards and how they apply to a trip. We first looked at the big picture and then we narrowed it down to the minute details.”
The course ended with Imig’s five students traveling with high school students from Salem Academy on a European study tour that included London, Paris, Munich and Salzburg.
“No matter what grade you teach or what trip you are going on, the materials and knowledge you gain from this class can be adapted,” said master of education student Sarah Anderson. “The management skills, planning techniques and technicalities I learned will be beneficial for when I want to take 30 fifth graders to OMSI or 30 kindergartners to a pumpkin patch or zoo.”
Anderson said the trip to Europe helped her understand the balance between allowing her students freedom and when to intervene. It also emphasized the importance of building relationships with her students.
“I developed wonderful relationships with students that I have never had in class before,” she said. This trip allowed me to trust students more and proved that it was OK to give students responsibility.”
Corban is the only university offering a course like Preparing and Leading Educational Travel Experiences to its education majors. Imig said he hopes to offer the course every two years.