Elective Part III

Chapter 4 Learning and Teaching

4.3 Approaches and Strategies

In choosing learning and teaching strategies, teachers should take into account the practical, complex and multi-disciplinary nature of THS, as well as their students’ prior knowledge, learning styles and abilities. Learning outcomes can be attained by more than one type of strategy: lectures, case studies, field trips, role-play and group discussion can be suitably deployed to meet the different aims and objectives of individual lessons, and the needs of different students. The most important guideline for choosing suitable strategies is “fitness for purpose”.

4.3.1 Choosing appropriate strategies: fitness for purpose

Given the wide range of objectives to be fulfilled in this curriculum, there is no single pedagogical approach that can meet all the requirements. Teachers should therefore adopt a wide range of strategies to suit the varying content and focuses of learning, as well as learners’

diverse needs. The figure on the next page is the basic framework of learning and teaching adopted in the senior secondary THS curriculum. It shows the spectrum of approaches available for different purposes. These approaches complement each other: for example, there can be direct instruction at certain stages or for certain students in enquiry learning; and simulation activities on delivering quality customer services may entail direct instruction and/or co-construction at certain points. The examples placed along the spectrum are illustrated later in the chapter.

54 Learning as …

a product a process co-construction

Learning community

How is knowledge learnt?

(Pedagogy and assessment) Meaningful learning

Generic skills

What is worth learning?

(curriculum) Content knowledge

(sources, understanding, structure and nature)

Teaching as …

direct instruction enquiry co-construction

School examples of A, B, C, D and E can be found on pp. 81, 83, 85, 56 and 59 respectively.

Figure 4.1 Approaches to Learning and Teaching A






Direct instruction by the teachers

Direct instruction (e.g. lecturing) can be an effective means for transmitting knowledge quickly to students in THS. Teachers can help students to understand the background to an issue (such as dealing with difficult customers), fundamental theories and facts in a short time.

This approach is most relevant to contexts where explanation, demonstration or modelling is required to enable learners to gain knowledge and understanding of a particular aspect of the subject. It allows the teacher to determine the aims, content, organisation, pace and direction of lessons. It can also be used to arouse interest in a subject, and complement and clarify text materials. For example, a video can help students to understand quickly guest check-in procedures or the practical nature of table-setting in food and beverage services. Please see Appendix 1 for examples of the effective use of direct instruction in THS lessons.

Enquiry learning by the students

Students should have ample opportunities, with guidance from their teachers, to search for information by themselves from a range of sources. The need to develop their skills in

“learning to learn” by collecting information, searching for different viewpoints, expressing ideas and/or opinions, developing a wide range of skills and abilities, clarifying attitudes and exploring differences in values. The enquiry approach encourages teachers to use

“open-ended” questions to lead students to conduct their own enquiry. A typical example of enquiry learning would be when students surf the Internet or use authentic case study materials assigned by the teacher to explore a topic, such as how service staff make decisions when dealing with customers. Appendix 2 includes an example concerned with theme parks which illustrates effective learning through the Internet. Enquiry learning by individual students using industry software such as Global Distribution Systems (GDS) or Property Management Systems (PMS) will help them to develop skills in using the software, and enhance their understanding of the increasing importance of communication and information technology within the industry.

An exciting feature of tourism and hospitality education for students is that they have opportunities to get out of the classroom to visit airlines, hotels, historical sites, museums and tourism-related institutions in the community, and they may even conduct visits abroad. On such visits, they explore real contexts related to the tourism and hospitality industry. Such enquiry learning, involving students’ active participation in seeking answers, is likely to be more meaningful and applicable than knowledge acquired passively.


An example of enquiry learning

on sustainable tourism development in Tai O

In January 2005, teachers from the SKH St. Benedict’s School organised a field trip for the S5 Travel and Tourism students to study “Sustainable tourism development in Tai O”.

Being aware of the increasing concern about sustainable tourism development both at home and abroad, the teachers used this field trip as an important teaching strategy to increase students’ awareness and knowledge, and develop appropriate attitudes. Students’ critical thinking skills were enhanced through study of the causes of the negative effects and possible solutions to the problem of sustainable tourism development in the area. (See Appendix 3 for field trip excerpts.)

Role-play and group discussion are two commonly employed strategies for engaging students actively in the classroom.

In tourism and hospitality education, role-play is important for simulating authentic situations in the industry, to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and the industry’s practices. Such simulations help students to develop their critical thinking skills and also provide a way of assessing their performance which is not possible through paper-and-pen tests.

Role-play exercises can help students to:

 understand issues from the viewpoints of different stakeholders;

 develop the capacity to handle pressure when taking on unfamiliar roles; and

 improve their oral and written communication skills.

They also:

 develop teamwork by engaging students in pair and group work – a vital collaboration skill valued by the industry; and

 engage them in analytical thinking and investigation to explore the interdisciplinary nature of tourism and hospitality as a subject and as an industry.


Appendix 4 contains an example of a role-play competition entitled “The Best Tour Guide of 2005”.

When students are engaged in group discussion, they learn through actively formulating and communicating their opinions among their peers. In the process, they learn to see things from others’ viewpoints, and to accept and respond to challenges from them. Teachers can promote successful group discussion by giving clear tasks for the groups to accomplish, providing appropriate materials for discussion, and assigning specific roles to group members. Through such discussion students develop effective communication skills and respect for others.

If effectively employed, role-play and group discussion highlight that knowledge is not something out there to be discovered, but rather an understanding to be developed through collaboration and sharing. The understanding constructed is built upon the experiences and insights of group members, the issues to be examined, the information available and the settings in which the discussion and role-play take place.

Overall, teachers need to exercise their professional judgment in selecting strategies which motivate students to act as self-directed learners, and support them in the process of knowledge-construction. A list of learning and teaching strategies is provided in Appendix 5 for teachers’ reference.

4.3.2 Reading to learn

Reading and preparing for lessons, assignments, projects and examinations are an integral part of students’ learning experience. Because of the multi-disciplinary nature of tourism and hospitality studies, it is important for learners to read extensively to gain a full understanding of the subject. Students should not be confined to, or rely too heavily on, reading tourism and hospitality textbooks, but should consult material from other disciplines including geography, history, business studies, economics and environmental studies. Suitable material can be found in newspapers, magazines, articles, papers, reports and the media.

Teachers should assist students to acquire skills and techniques that enable them to read with understanding, and to analyse and apply qualitative and quantitative information. Students who are interested in reading will often do so on their own, though their interest needs to be sustained. Those who are less interested need to be supported and taught how to read effectively. The ultimate aim is to assist all students to become independent and willing readers.


4.3.3 Life-wide learning

Providing life-wide learning experiences enables students to achieve certain learning goals in contexts beyond the classroom. Teachers should make use of resources and situations available in the school and the wider community in order to provide a range of opportunities for students to learn in real settings about issues such as the impact of air pollution or the changing economic climate on the tourism and hospitality industry.

Museums, travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, theme parks, attractions, libraries, government departments, public institutions and Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are all potential sources of information for studying different issues in the THS curriculum. There are also organisations which are willing to support student learning in various ways, for example by providing updated information, producing curriculum resources, offering service learning opportunities, and organising talks and visits.

There is a wide variety of possibilities for experiential learning of this subject in the community. With instruction and support from their teachers, students can explore the tourism and hospitality industry through, for example, pleasure trips with their families, field study at airports or travel agencies, hotel familiarisation visits, watching related TV commercials, or even through the experience of patronising different food service institutions.

Schools can also make use of their strengths and connections to arrange cross-border exchange programmes to broaden students’ horizons. An extract from the UNESCO education website on planning site visits and excursions can be found in Appendix 6.

In document Tourism and Hospitality Studies Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4 - 6) (Page 62-67)