Making Global Trips a Community Experience

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Global trips have served as an extremely powerful experience for the lucky children and adults who get to go but have had limited value for the rest of the community. The students who traveled have an amazing memory that is difficult to explain to their peers. Their assembly presentations often feel disconnected, out of context in the daily life of the school. The students who stayed home have little understanding of what happened during the trip. Beginning and Lower school students are only vaguely aware of the experiences of their older peers. What if our entire school community could participate in each trip that goes out, even though they were not traveling themselves?

In recent years, Catlin Gabel’s global trips have become increasingly “academic,” with students seeking to better understand specific topics through travel. Students have studied history, culture, language, comparative religion, and natural history while abroad. The trips slated for 2010-11 make this trend more explicit and specific, exploring topics such as …

These topics provide experiential subject matter that directly relate to the current subject matter in many of our classes. What if we integrated the current year’s global trips into our courses? All students would participate in a shared, compelling learning experience. They would learn how the typical school content and skills relate to real-world issues in international locations. They would have first-hand contact with peers who travel to these destinations and either virtual first-hand or second-hand contact with individuals in those countries.

The traveling students would serve as school ambassadors for a collective learning effort, carry their questions to the destination country, and report back to the community what they discovered, either live or after the trip. They would experience their trip in the context of a schoolwide effort rather than in isolation.

We hereby invite you to integrate instruction on next year’s trips into your lessons, enriching your courses and our whole community through these travel experiences.