There always seems to be yet another education professor who does an endless study of student behaviors and achievements, but very little that shows the success of programs that take students out of the traditional classroom environment and into the real world, especially one in which they are challenged and excited by the experience.
Today we are on an island in the Pacific Ocean, a part of the Gulf Of Chiriqui National Park of Panama. Here they will also be trapping small mammals for a comparative study by Dr. Hanson of coastal mammals which may perhaps be of the same species as those he discovered on the island of Coiba. Here the students are also beginning a baseline data of monkeys on this island of Boca Brava. These high school students intend this project to be their senior capstone project. I have no doubt that should they continue, they will gain the recognition they deserve and have the opportunity to do incredible work in the field in their future studies at a university.
Too often we forget that students need experiences such as this to find what excites them. We as teachers always tell them that they need to find what they love as their life’s work and they will never “work” a day in their life. Unfortunately, it is most often students who have the financial abilities from their families who can have these experiences. There are few resources for students who yearn for the opportunity, and most schools don’t see it as important enough to supply that financial assistance.
Our company, Valley Language Services, is actively searching for grants, endowments, and foundations to extend these programs in association with Columbus State University and other institutions. If your school or company is interested…please let us know. We are currently planning programs in Brazil, South Africa, Panama, USA, France, and Ecuador.