during field trips (Griffin, 1994; Griffin and Symington; 1997; Kisiel, 2006; Price and Hein, 1991). Price and Hein (1991) found a range of teacher involvement, from cases in which teachers congregated in such areas as the cafeteria and were not involved in the field trip activities, to cases in which teachers remained with the students and were actively involved in all phases of the trip. This review indicates that teacher involvement in various aspects of field trip planning and implementation is important. For example, a correlation was found between involvement in planning field trip activities and greater buy-in by teachers. When teachers are involved in planning, it is more likely that the activities will align with classroom curriculum and be viewed as valuable experiences by the teachers. Furthermore, alignment of classroom and field trip content and teacher buy-in are important, because they have been connected with student learning from field trips (Price and Hein, 1991; Griffin and Symington, 1997).
Reinforcement After the Field Trip
Teachers often plan to do follow-up after visiting informal institutions but in fact do little more than collect and mark student worksheets completed
investment and meaningfulness has parallels with work done by a group of museum professionals (e.g., Serrell, 2006) in generating criteria for exhibition excellence based on principles from the visitor studies literature. This group defined an “excellent exhibition” as one that is (1) comfortable—opening the door to other positive experiences; (2) engaging—enticing visitors to attend; (3) reinforcing—providing reinforcing experiences and supporting visitors to feel competent; and (4) meaningful—providing personally relevant experiences that change visitors cognitively and affectively (Serrell, 2006).
Research in various settings has shown that interest is in fact a gateway to deeper and sustained forms of learning. For example, when participants have a more developed interest for science, they pose curiosity questions and are also more inclined to learn and/or to use systematic approaches to seek answers (Engle and Conant, 2002; Kuhn and Franklin, 2006; Renninger, 2000). Interested people are also more likely to be motivated learners, to seek out challenge and difficulty, to use effective learning strategies, and to make use of feedback (Barron, 2006; Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, and Whalen, 1993; Lipstein and Renninger, 2006; Renninger and Hidi, 2002).