Field Trips: Pre-Impact, Impact, and Post-Impact Planning

For one of our classes we went on a “field trip” and revisited the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. It was my first time going there since I was in middle years, so it was purposeful for me to experience what the museum has to offer now that I am older and wiser. We walked through the exhibits on the bottom floor, consisting of Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, and First Nations galleries. The purpose of the trip was to keep close attention to the First Nations gallery and observe what we saw and what we didn’t see. Before we entered the exhibit we were given a hand out that students would be given to guide their learning. The sheet acted like a game in a sense that people wanted to be the first ones done. This really narrowed down what people were looking for as they had tunnel vision to find the information that they needed. At the end of the tour we discussed how the sheet was counterproductive, as some of the fill in the blanks were more like a checklist of things to see and required a low-level of knowledge. We also discussed issues that we had about the exhibit. The main issue of debate was how the exhibit lacked information on residential schools, as the only thing that mentioned them was a quilt made by students of a one that was only display like a piece of art.

This field trip highlighted the importance of pre-impact, impact, and post-impact phases of planning for field trips. I was first introduced to this approach of planning in an Outdoor Education course that discussed that proper planning is the most important aspect of a field trip and should not be overlooked by teachers. The pre-impact phase should introduce students to what the experience will include and prepare them for the trip. Discussing appropriate behaviors and what is expected of them should also be mentioned in the pre-impact phase. Any kind of preparation should be considered and addressed during this stage.

I am going to quote Nick Forsberg, Twila Wilson And Nancy Morrell’s explanation of the impact phase from their research project “Education Beyond Traditional Classroom Walls: Voices from the Valley” as they describe it best:

Very often this phase is viewed by many as the key component in the whole process. While acknowledging that it is very important, it is no more important than the pre-impact or post-impact phases. For one only has to see that if it were not for extensive planning and preparation in the pre-impact phase, the trip itself would not come to fruition or be as effective. And were it not for a post-impact phase, what is actually being completed during the impact phase has no context or relevancy if it is not transferred back to the ‘school’ and into one’s own life. Thus, the impact phase serves as the ‘place’ where students, teachers and student teachers engage in the teaching and learning that is very often associated with curricula. This phase brings to life the importance of values such as responsibility and caring for each other and the democratic skills necessary to live and learn in a warm and nurturing environment. (1999)

The post-impact phase is the follow up stage where students revisit, reflect and analyze their experiences of the trip. It is important to debrief the impact phase in order for students to fully comprehend their experience. The emphasis of the trip should be the pre- and post-impact phases in order to ensure that the trip is as effective and beneficial as it can be.


About Adam Brock

My name is Adam Brock and I am a third year student at the University of Regina! I am currently in the Secondary Education Program, with plans to major in Mathematics and minor in Outdoor and Physical Education. I was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada and look forward to travelling after my years at the U of R.

Posted on April 13, 2015, in Education Core Studies (ECS) 350, Topics Of Interest and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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