Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cultural Field Trips Provide Exceptional Results

The nature of culturally enriching field trips is that they are often to places that students don’t yet know they might enjoy. An earlier p study examined the impact of field trips to an art museum. The researchers found significant benefits in the form of knowledge, future cultural consumption, tolerance, historical empathy, and critical thinking for students assigned by lottery to visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (see “The Educational Value of Field Trips,” research, Education Next, Winter 2014). 

A new study examines the impact of assigning student groups by lottery to see high-quality theater productions of Hamlet or A Christmas Carol. This is the first randomized experiment to discover what students get out of seeing live theater. The  results are generally similar to those found in the previous study. Culturally enriching field trips have significant educational benefits for students whether they are to see an art museum or live theater. Among students assigned by lottery to see live theater, we find enhanced knowledge of the plot and vocabulary in those plays, greater tolerance, and improved ability to read the emotions of others.

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