Understanding Teachers' Perspectives on Field Trips: Discovering Common Ground in Three Countries



The school field trip constitutes an important demographic market for museums. Field trips enlist the energies of teachers and students, schools and museums, and ought to be used to the best of their potential. There is evidence from the literature and from practitioners that museums often struggle to understand the needs of teachers, who make the key decisions in field trip planning and implementation. Museum personnel ponder how to design their programs to serve educational and pedagogical needs most effectively, and how to market the value of their institutions to teachers. This paper describes the overlapping outcomes of three recent studies that investigated teacher perspectives on field trips in the United States, Canada, and Germany. The results attest to the universality of some of the issues teachers face, and suggest improvements in the relationship between museums and schools.