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The impact of educational travel on high school social studies students Mergens, David

Abstract

This study investigates the impact and value that high school social studies students and teachers see in educational travel. Many students and teachers participate in school-based trips, but little research has been done that investigates the deeper implications of educational travel, as to identify and maximize the positive benefits of such experiences. For the purposes of this project, educational travel is defined as school-based educational trips that last longer than a day, and involve elements that include guided tours, hands-on learning, interactive tasks, and community service. Further, I have divided educational travel into three categories that pertain to a trip’s design and focus: 1) tour-guided; 2) task-specific; and 3) socially immersive. Participants in this study included six of my former students and three of my former teaching colleagues. All participants had experiences with educational travel prior to this study. Data were collected through a series of conversational interviews, which I transcribed and analyzed. This allowed me to analyze participant responses and form organizing concepts, to which I plotted emergent categories. My findings showed that students and teachers see tremendous value in educational travel with respect to developing confidence, building historical and global mindedness, and fostering empathy and self-awareness. My findings also showed how educational travel experiences can influence the choices students make later in life regarding post-secondary education, careers, and philanthropy. This study contributes to social studies education scholarship in that it shines light on the impact educational travel has on high school students and offers insight into maximizing the positive benefits associated with such experiences. Nevertheless, this study is small-scale, and further research is needed to address some limitations, which include the implications of educational travel for students from different socio-economic contexts, as well as attaining a deeper understanding of the long-term benefits of educational travel.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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