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New routes for the field trip

Tait, Gordon & Huber, Deborah (1999) New routes for the field trip. In Symes, Colin & Meadmore, Daphne (Eds.) The Extra-ordinary School : Parergonality & Pedagogy. Peter Lang, New York, pp. 75-90.

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Abstract

As with the broader field of education research, most writing on the subject of school excursions and field trips has centred around progressive/humanist concerns for building pupil’s self-esteem and for the development of the ‘whole child’. Such research has also stressed the importance of a broad, grounded, and experiential curriculum - as exemplified by subjects containing these extra-school activities - as well as the possibility of strengthening the relationship between student and teacher. Arguing that this approach to the field trip is both exhausted of ideas and conceptually flawed, this paper proposes some alternate routes into the area for the prospective researcher. First, it is argued that by historicising the subject matter, it can be seen that school excursions are not simply the product of the contemporary humanist desire for diverse and fulfilling educational experiences, rather they can, in part, be traced to eighteenth century beliefs among the English gentry that travel formed a crucial component of a good education, to the advent of an affordable public rail system, and to school tours associated with the Temperance movement. Second, field trips can be understood from within the associated framework of concerns over the governance of tourism and the organisation of disciplinary apparatuses for the production of an educated and regulated citizenry. Far from being a simple learning experience, museums and art galleries form part of a complex of disciplinary and power relations designed to produce a populace with very specific capacities, aspirations and styles of public conduct. Finally, rather than allowing children ‘freedom’ from the constraints of the classroom, on the contrary, through the medium of the field-trip, children can become accustomed to having their activities governed in the broader domain of the generalised community . School excursions thereby constitute an effective tactic through which young people have their conduct managed, and their social and scholastic identities shaped and administered.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 28830
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Governance, History of education
ISBN: 082043812X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology of Education (160809)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Deposited On: 25 Nov 2009 16:11
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2011 00:48

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