School trips can help pupils’ writing skills

Trips to zoos, castles, country parks and other ‘memorable experiences’ can help struggling pupils with their literacy skills, according to a new report.

A survey of more than 800 primary and secondary school pupils showed that a programme which gets pupils to write about memorable experiences in their lives improves their writing standards by an average of nine months. For disadvantaged pupils on free school meals the figure doubles, to 18 months, the Independent reports.

Pupils were enrolled on a programme which began by giving them a memorable experience to write about, from an exciting school trip to listening to stories from war veterans. They were then given tuition in writing techniques and asked to write a letter or an article about the experience. They were also taught how to mark their own work.

Kevan Collins from the Education Endowment Foundation, the charity that published the report, said: “This project starts by giving all children access to an enjoyable experience and then uses a structured approach to writing and reviewing to significantly improve their skills. It’s rare to find schemes that demonstrate such a large impact when they are rigorously tested. That’s why we are excited about the potential this project could have in helping struggling students significantly improve their writing skills.”

Have you used memorable experiences like trips to the zoo to help your pupils’ literacy? Share your views with the Eteach community!

2 thoughts on “School trips can help pupils’ writing skills

  1. I am very pleased to hear this as I am taking year 4’s away after half term for a few fun filled days and will be getting them to write a diary about their experiences! If it improves their writing I will be over the moon :)

  2. Yes, what a wonderful idea! How nice to hear something positive for a change in Education!

    It’s simple common sense: when we do something fun and interesting (like taking a school trip) that we want to share with others, that can be a good motivation to do something that may be normally less fun and interesting to us (like writing). Students want to learn to email or blog their parents and friends and relatives about their trip – a practical skill they will use even after they finish school. A school essay (or better, yet a journal entry) about their trip can help them learn to do this!

    In the various Asian countries I have taught, like Sri Lanka and Thailand and Malaysia, students also take many school trips to various attractions, such as botanical gardens, temples, palaces, and theatrical performances. The students enjoy and learn so much from the trips, and even when I teach tuition class in English or another subject, I often assign them to write an essay or story about a trip they have been on recently.

    Writing about school trips also integrates writing into the whole curriculum. A school trip to a botanical garden teaches students about Science. A school trip to a castle teaches them about History. A school trip to watch a drama teaches them about Arts. So writing about school trips teaches students not only about English, but about whatever school subject the trip relates to.

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