The Question of Discipline on a School Trip


Maintaining discipline on a school trip can sometimes be a challenge for the unwary. However, even for the novice teacher, following a few basic principles can ensure success.

Students and school expeditions

Experienced education professionals will know that it is easy to make sweeping generalisations about a school trip and the issue of maintaining discipline of a group outside the school environment. In the real world there are so many variables involved that it is difficult to pick out one or two in isolation and meaningfully discuss them.

Even so, there may be a number of factors that might be commonly encountered when trying to analyse why discipline and behaviour problems have previously arisen on a trip:

Interest levels. Tour leaders know well that students who are not fully occupied may tend to find ways to provide their own entertainment, possibly including things that can rapidly prove to be a discipline and behaviour challenge.

Lack of exercise. Younger people who are fit and active typically do not respond well to being confined for extended periods. This may be a particular risk in situations where there are gaps in their itinerary.

Conflicts of interest. School trip itineraries with a heavy focus on subjects that are not of interest to many of the students concerned may lead to friction and frustration between those that do wish to be participating in a given activity and those that do not.

A lack of facilities. There is no reason to presume that students are any less discerning than older people and they may be perfectly capable of recognizing that their environment lacks the basic amenities needed for a comfortable stay.

For these reasons it is essential to have an itinerary that is focused on the interests of the individuals concerned and delivered against a background of excellent facilities and activities.

Sports and performing arts tours

One way of delivering this environment is through interest-focused sports or performing arts tours. These are organised based in superbly equipped major centres of excellence around Europe. The students concerned are able to select their areas of interest and receive specialist coaching in things such as an individual sport or perhaps the dramatic arts. These intensive coaching sessions are supplemented by the opportunity to visit local attractions and places of interest in the country or locality concerned.

Of course, on any school trip it is important that the tour leader and support staff are in a position to help motivate their students and to deal with any occasional issues that may arise. This primary responsibility cannot be delegated to the sports or arts centres concerned. However, given the emphasis on participation, engagement and activity, some of the prime causes of behavioural issues with students when travelling are, in fact, eliminated.

This is one of the reasons why this type of tour is becoming increasingly popular and why the school tripis something that need no longer cause unnecessary traumas for the organisers concerned.

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