Through the Eyes of an Educator: Go Explore

by Stacey Ebert / Jun 05, 2017 /
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June. The month where school kids get antsy, educators are doing their best to get it all in, parents are getting stuff ready for camp, and many are planning adventures near and far. It’s a change of season, the shedding of layers, an infusion of vitamin D, and a time when one door closes and another opens. Teachers in the United States are either counting the days or already out enjoying some well-deserved time away from school. June is the time when thousands set off on adventures to see things they’ve yet to see, revisit places near and dear to the heart, and interact with others who offer varying perspectives, opinions, and beliefs along the way. June is a time for families, fun, fireflies, and festivities. Go explore - the world is waiting.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Go Explore

There are times in education that exploration is encouraged, and others when tests take precedence. I remember the ideas of exploration and discovery more in primary school than secondary. High school science lab time allowed for continued uncovering of information, yet much of the rest of classes were limited on time for dreams and possibilities. The world is different today. The Internet reaches millions daily, innovation soars at unfathomable speeds, and there are still those who wish to do nothing else but continue the path to exploration and innovation. Adults are finding ways to infuse dreams and choice into education and many universities invite the youth of today to get their studies started young. We can make a difference - show them the world is out there, worth it, and uncovering the magic of humanity is not only beneficial, but also, necessary.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Go Explore

The idea of exploration dates back centuries, and isn’t reserved for one area of the world. No matter what or where you’ve studied, somewhere along the line you’ve encountered an explorer. Perhaps it was Ferdinand Magellan, Captain James Cook, or Christopher Columbus. Perhaps it was stories of discovery, destruction, or disease, or those of courage, curiosity, and cunning. Whether you read it in a book, watched a movie, played a game, asked Mr. Google, or used a paper map, exploration has been a part of your world. We’ve been doing it since we were little. Maybe you created your own area in your backyard, maybe you followed the ants back to their hill, or maybe you set off to see what you could find at the top of a mountain. Supermarkets, backyards, beaches, cities, or rural landscapes - exploration is a part of life.

Niagara Falls, Toronto, Canada. From Through the Eyes of an Educator: Go Explore
Niagara Falls, Toronto, Canada

So why is it that so many of our students are confined to desks, stuffy rooms, and buildings all year long? How can we bring that journey of exploration into the lives of the youth on a more daily or active basis? Worldschooling, roadschooling, homeschooling, and unschooling - these are all methods that work for many but don’t fit into the schedule for others. How can we utilize technology, foster dreams, and unearth discoveries more regularly? How can we instill that desire to uncover, explore, and seek? Travel melds all of the aforementioned arenas. Travel makes following directions to the local market into an adventure. Travel makes choosing a new destination part of the learning journey. Travel fosters skills and development that could one day lead the student to become the explorer and uncover depths that we’ve not yet reached.

Spice plantation tour - Zanzibar, Tanzania. From Through the Eyes of an Educator: Go Explore
Spice plantation tour - Zanzibar, Tanzania

On a grander scale, discoveries are being made every day. Scientists and environmentalists race to manage and slow the effects of climate change. Doctors and researchers the world over frantically work to develop vaccines, cures, and new medical devices for diseases that affect the entire planet. Inventors of all kinds struggle to create the next, the most innovative, and the most useful tools for businesses, schools, and life. We can help build the next generation of explorers of all kinds. When education sparks desire, motivates, and elevates the ideas of curiosity, trial and error, scientific method, and exploration, everyone wins. 

Educators seek those elusive light-bulb moments. Researchers hunt for that same spark daily. Scientists develop, hikers geocache, artists create, doctors cure, photographers capture, and innovators produce - and all begin with the desire to explore the unknown. How can we help? Let’s build our classrooms around these ideas and promote ingenuity and creativity, cultivate curiosity and the desire to research, and learn and support a culture of innovation and exploration. Encourage your students to see the world with new eyes. Share stories of expeditions and allow them to design their own. Spread the ideas of diversity and diligence - that the only failure is in lack of trying, and that finding out more makes the entire world better. Invite your students to dream…and do your part in trying to help them reach those heights.

Geocaching in the Australian Outback. From Through the Eyes of an Educator: Go Explore
Geocaching in the Australian Outback

Travel breeds explorers…what will you uncover?

10 ways to encourage the next generation of explorers

1. Encourage curiosity
2. Allow for spontaneity
3. Teach kids to research
4. Plan a trip (local, regional, domestic, or international)
5. Foster an inquisitive nature and innovative spirit
6. Let kids falter and fail
7. Learn about others’ journeys
8. Cultivate respect for diversity
9. Buoy initiative
10. Facilitate discovery

Wind Cave, South Dakota. From Through the Eyes of an Educator: Go Explore
Wind Cave, South Dakota

 

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Travel breeds explorers…what will you uncover?  10 ways to encourage the next generation of explorers. From Through the Eyes of an Educator: Go Explore

 

Stacey Ebert, our Educational Travels Editor, is a traveler at heart who met her Australian-born husband while on a trip in New Zealand. Stacey was an extracurricular advisor and taught history in a Long Island public high school for over fifteen years, enjoying both the formal and informal educational practices. After a one year 'round the world honeymoon, travel and its many gifts changed her perspective. She has since left the educational world to focus on writing and travel. She is energetic and enthusiastic about long term travel, finding what makes you happy and making the leap. In her spare time she is an event planner, yogi, dark chocolate lover, and spends as much time as possible with her toes in the sand.

Check out her website at thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com for more of her travel musings.

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Stacey Ebert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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