Residential experiences have been a traditional core element of outdoor education. Studies researching the effect of residential trips have stated that these experiences are a powerful developmental experience and high-quality residential learning does appear to boost attainment.
High quality residentials are characterised as being most effective on improving outcomes for young people when they are progressive and embedded within existing programmes of delivery. It is also recognised that there can be significant increases in ‘psychological resilience immediately following an outdoor adventure based residential’ and that ‘residential experiences can promote personal growth. These include the extent to which students feel in control, act independently and are able to solve problems.
Access to such important experiences should be an expectation for all young people. As illustrated by the highlighted benefits below:
Improved Teacher-Student relationships: Under a regular school environment there is sometimes friction between teacher and pupil. The environment created on a school residential trip allows the breakdown of this formal student-teacher relationship. As teachers involve themselves in residential activities pupils see a different side and a positive relationship is formed. This has endless benefits in the classroom post trip as students are more engaged with their teachers achieving an increase in learning.
Engaging hard to motivate students: In 2008 an Ofsted report concluded that taking students out of the classroom and into a more interactive environment was an excellent way to engage those students who find academic work challenging. Those who are sometimes disruptive in the classroom can use their energy in a positive sense either to engage in physical activities or explore their curriculum through visual stimulus, which is proven to be far more engaging.
Personal and social development: This is a very important factor in the lives of young people and schools play a huge role in this. Residential trips aid the personal development of pupils through taking a child away from home and embracing the world without their parents. Many children are away from their parents for the first time on school trips, which aids social development through creating strong bonds with their peers. Spending days and nights together creates enjoyment and life long memories that children cherish all the way into adulthood.
Improving confidence: A monumental outcome of school residential trips is the build-up of confidence among young people. On physical trips overcoming set challenges gives students a large boost as they learn to realise that they can achieve things they did not think possible. This can foster further academic confidence improving a student’s capability in the classroom.