School Camps Can Influence Positive Student, Teacher Relationships
Stepping outside the classroom and into the wilderness for an overnight school camp can be a daunting experience for many students.
But according to Sue Norton from the ACT Education and Learning Directorate, camps can provide great experiences for both students and teachers."Homesickness certainly was an issue for me," Ms Norton told ABC Radio Canberra's Adam Shirley, while recalling her first school camp when she was in grade six.
Despite her initial apprehension, Ms Norton has gone on to attend many school camps — as a student and then as a teacher."School camps are fantastic, and more and more schools are having them at the beginning of the year for a range of reasons," she said.
"One of them is that quality teaching is based on really strong, positive relationships."
Ms Norton said putting teachers and students in an outdoor learning environment could help expedite these relationships."It also gives teachers an opportunity to get to know children in a different environment outside the classroom," she said.
"You actually learn a myriad of things about students in that outdoor environment that would perhaps take a lot longer to learn in that learning environment."
However Ms Norton admitted school camps were not only trying for some students; they could also be challenging for teachers.
"You're on call 24/7," she said, giving the example of a child vomiting in the middle of the night. "If the students don't sleep, the teachers don't sleep either."
Ms Norton said preparation was the key to ensuring all involved had a positive experience.
"A lot of preparation is done to ensure that particularly those students in the high school feel supported and secure," she said."And a lot of team building happens".
"In the first instance, children might be reluctant to participate, but as time goes by and with encouragement and good values, children by the end of the camp are usually quite willing."