Journal of Pedagogy, Pluralism, and Practice


Frank Trocco

Publication Date

Fall 2014


This paper is about taking students “on the road” into the world of places, environments, people, and ideas. I have spent most of my forty years in undergraduate and graduate education working with students in travel/study classes. Most education in classrooms is only a partial reality; students who emerge from classroom courses leave with partial learning. Although teachers may realize this, they do not necessarily acknowledge it with their students, because they often do not believe that field experiences are as reliable as rigorous classroom academics. This paper makes the argument that if we are not clear that our lectures, books, models, and classrooms are a simulacra for the real thing, we are dishonest with our students who trust us to deliver authentic education. Of course, students accumulate knowledge in classrooms, but they are not usually exposed to the academic awareness that comes from being in a “messy” learning environment. Classrooms are far too mediated and “tidy” to provide the chaos needed to develop aptitudes for deep understanding.



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