by Dennis Martinez-
During fall semester 2010, I had to do a Junior Achievement assignment that involved me student teaching for a quarter of the year. I was to teach 8th grade economics for 8 class periods and then help the teacher with all different types of tasks. As I was there, we would have a 5-10 minute lecture and then go into groups and have to class play all these different games that would address different economic problems. Once my teaching period was done, I would go in during the teacher’s history class and help her with the students. One day we started to talk about field trips, I asked her if the students had any fun trips to museums in the coming months. She told me that with the budget crisis and everything Illinois schools are going through, field trips are very limited. She also told me something that I couldn’t believe.
When she would bring up possible field trips to museums around the area, she would get responses like “been there” or “boring.” The students weren’t interested in going to museums. She then went on to find an alternative, cheap, fun way to get the history of events, places, and museums studied in her class. She assigned a short Internet search report on different places around the world and their significance. For example, a student would write a report on Mt. Rushmore, stating; who, what, where, when, and why. This seemed to really spark the kids again, and got them to really explore more than what was in their back yards, but I noticed that kids still didn’t go to museums around the area.
The argument here for me was that if these kids do not want to go to museums, then what can the museums do to create a pull factor to attract the new generation to the museums? How can schools with a budget crisis support museum studies?