Introduction

Tourism has always been a subject which interested me more than any other subject during my schooling career. The reason I chose to study it after high school was because I always wanted to work in the Tourism industry as an air hostess. Little did I know that five years after high school, I would be teaching this subject to high school learners. This is possibly the best way to express my love for Tourism and no better way to have learnt the didactics of it during this PGCE year, by an exceptionally well educated lecturer.

How my perception of tourism as subject changed

Before learning how to teach the subject, I always thought that a text book and a globe of the earth were the only resources that teachers could use to make the subject exciting. I never thought that Tourism could be enhanced to the extent where learners could physically be participants of their own learning, not just inside the classroom, but outside of it too. During my teaching practice this year, I have learnt that many learners only choose this subject because they had no other option. This then led me to believe that there was no way of convincing these learners about how versatile the subject is and how many career options it actually embraces. My perception of the subject has therefore changed dramatically, in terms of how to teach it and how to best bring the curriculum content across to the learners.

Crucial teaching-related knowledge and skills that I gained in this subject

I have gained more knowledge about the didactics of Tourism than I could have ever imagined. The following list consists of the essential knowledge and skills which I have gained throughout this year:

  • How to follow the various principles of teaching the subject, such as transparency, authenticity, reliability, validity etc
  • How to enhance the subject by using various/differentiated methods, resources and teaching styles.
  • The importance of always being prepared, regardless of the situation.
  • How to speak with confidence and enthusiasm in front of a class.
  • The positive and negative aspects of teaching at various levels.

What I will remember about my teaching practice tourism lessons

One of the most memorable moments which I will never forget about one of my teaching practice Tourism lessons, was when I was teaching the topic; “The seven segments.” The way in which I had planned the lesson did not play out the way I had predicted. The learners did not grasp the content at all and I was running out of ways in which to explain this concept! Eventually a fantastic idea sparked in my head, which was to simply use the learners as the example of my explanation. They could immediately comprehend what I was trying to teach and this then allowed me to realize that making the learner a participant of their own learning is really just the best way to go, especially in this subject. What better way to get a learner to understand content, than to make them feel a part of the whole process?

There were topics which seemed boring and uninteresting for the learners, topics which they were not looking forward to learning. However, the way in which I taught it and managed to make it relevant and real for the learners, made them want to learn about it and brought about an abundant sense of enthusiasm which I would have never imagined. This was so special for me, as it reminded me of how grateful I am for the way in which I was taught the didactics of the subject.

I will never forget the way in which the learners appreciated my teaching styles and the way in which I brought the content across. Those priceless moments where they would thank me and say; “Miss, I finally get it!” This made me realise that I am able to make a difference. It may not have deemed this way for each and every learner, but every difference I made, counts.

Highlights in the Tourism didactic curriculum

The Tourism didactics curriculum had many highlights for me. Some of them which stood out the most were certainly the presentations. I noticed how I improved after each presentation, with the way in which I present a topic. I became more confident with the advice I was given by my lecturer. The purpose of the presentations was not only to better the manner in which we teach, but also to build curriculum knowledge, to better public speaking, to improve articulation and language as a whole. All this for the sake of becoming excellent teachers who mould, shape and guide the future leaders of the world in the best possible way.

The class discussions also stood out for me. This allowed me and the rest of my colleagues to express our views and share our opinions about the curriculum at large. Not only did this broaden my knowledge about the subject, but it also taught me that as a teacher, you need to be original and constantly come up with innovative ways to keep your learners motivated and inspired.

Ways in which the Tourism didactic curriculum prepared me for teaching

The curriculum for this subject during my PGCE year has not only prepared me for teaching Tourism, but for every other subject I may ever teach in my lifetime. The content which I was taught was specific to Tourism yes; however, I will definitely carry the knowledge with me throughout the rest of my teaching career, as it is so valuable and significant for all teachers in general.

I have learnt how to be confident in front of the class, I have learnt how to apply myself accordingly when producing work for my learners, I have learnt how to be innovative and diverse when teaching, I have learnt how to manage my life and workload as a teacher. I have learnt so much more than merely how to teach, instead, I have learnt how to teach to the best of my ability and how to bring out the best in my learners and myself. This and so much more!

The Tourism didactic curriculum has prepared me in more ways than I thought it would. It has been one of the many subjects I have had this year, which genuinely taught me how to be an awesome teacher.

Conclusion

I firmly believe that life as a teacher begins the day you realise that you are always a learner. This is exactly what I have learnt this year and this is exactly what will motivate me to become a better teacher each and every day of my life. I am absolutely thankful for what this subject has taught me and how it has inspired me to simply be the best teacher there could ever be for my learners.

By Nicole Joshua, 2017 PGCE student, CPUT