Message text written by British archaeology discussion list
>I really think we should not allow the list to get the wrong idea about
I run a museum which has mnay school parties and we have rarely had any
difficulty at all and never one complaint from a member of the public.
As I said in another posting I also take lots of adult groups most of who
are senior citizens to many museums including the British Museum, Museum of
London etc, etc, many of which are full of kids and I have not yet seen one
incident that has been serious.
Children are normally well behaved and I've never seen teachers sitting
ignoring their children's bad behaviour.
I think you may be very lucky in your experiences. In my
experience over nine years in a museum catering very largely for school
parties, and twenty-some years as a parent helping with school trips, I
would say that behaviour of children and teachers ranges from superb (with
carefully thought out worksheets, well-prepared children and helpers and
balanced discipline and enthusiasm) to abysmal (teachers leaving 40 12-3
year-olds at the museum door in the charge of two cowed sixth-formers,
parent-helpers who neither understood or wanted to understand either the
children or the nature of the trip, vandalism and terminal boredom). The
majority though fall between these extremes, with stressed teachers and
helpers (mainly parents who have been gently blackmailed into helping)
doing their level best to enthuse, lead and control their charges while
remembering which children suffer from allergies, asthma, diabetes,
hyperactivity or learning difficulties, which ones will do their best to
lose the party and where the nearest public conveniences are.
I have 3 other thoughts.
1. Evening opening would allow those who don't like children to avoid them
2. visiting after 3.30 would also mean that children can be avoided
3. designers who have computer terminal in museums which only one person
cause the only problem children have ever caused me (i.e. not being able to
get onto the interactives!)
Other positive ideas for teachers:
1. Make sure your helpers know what the aims of the trip are and provide
them in advance with copies of the worksheets etc.
2. Make sure your helpers know the kids and provide them with a list of
children for whom they have individual responsibility
3. Make it clear to the children that the possibility of immediate
termination of the trip at the outset of bad behaviour is a possibilty-
making it obvious that you arrange the mechanics of this with the coach
driver very audibly is a good move!
I know they sound very basic but it's wonderful what a difference
they can make both to the school trip and to the reception your group gets
from the general public and harassed museum staff!