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Teaching Technique The Reverse Field Trip

Updated on June 24, 2009

Teaching Strategies


Teaching Technique_ the Reverse Field Trip.


I was assigned to a new school. On my first day the principal said. “I have heard of you, you like to take the students on field trips, there will be no field trips at this school.” I have never met the principal before, but his comments did not affect me whatsoever.

My concern is how can I best educate my students? I knew that the lecture method is the technique that is least likely to achieve the results I wanted. I was guilty of the sin of taking students on field trips. I then thought can I bring the field trip to them.

This is not a grand new idea. Johnny Carson had been bringing animals on his show for years. The problem was in high school there were 55 minute classes, six class periods and guests often could not stay all day. (It did not seem proper to even ask them to stay from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.)


I discovered that there was a very active Memphis Aquarium Society with many retired members. When asked they agreed to come out set up small tanks and give lecture demonstrations ALL DAY.


In my city there was a teaching museum called the PINKPALACE. They had a concept called SUITCASE EXHIBITS that were available for loan. Teachers could check them out with teaching curriculum materials for weeks.


There was a local pet store that sold exotic animals. The pet store owner agreed to do the Johnny Carson type presentation for half day. I video taped it, and showed the video the second half. With the promise to my students I would reverse the process with the next visitor.


I then discovered I had a core group of parents who were supporters of “students learn by doing” These parents and their students agreed to go on Saturday Field Trips. On these trips we video taped all we saw, with special “behind the scene footage”. We then showed these video tapes to my classes the following Monday with live commentary by the students who went on the trip. More and more students convinced their parents to participate in the Saturday excursions and it became most popular.



I then discovered that our cityBotanical Garden occasionally gave free cuttings of some of their exotic plants. The next Saturday trip involved not only an exciting resulting video but also a give away of the free cuttings.



 The concept here is to make your class come alive. Search NOT for excuses why you can’t but rather look for and find solutions how you can.  Take the attitude that I AM UNSTOPPABLE, I will not let politics, negative attitudes or lack of finances slow me down. I will find a way to introduce to my students the joy of learning; We live in an exciting time, in a wonderful country. Let no one stop you from reaching, teaching, motivating, inspiring and helping our youth. They are our future.


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