There has been a paradigm shift in the teaching methods used by the present day trainers. The mostly used and abused method of training namely the ‘Lecture Method’ is not the only method used now days by the trainers. There are more than 100 methods of training available to trainers. The choice of method adopted depends upon the objectives, the entry behaviour, the resources available and the entry behaviour of the trainee and so on. However, one of the methods available is known as ‘Educational Tour or a Field Trip’.
An Educational Tour or A Field Trip is a visit to a place away from their normal place of study. The purpose of this trip is to provide students with an experience outside the class rooms or labs. It also provides an opportunity non experimental research and helps bring all the students to a common platform irrespective of their social, economic & cultural background. Every day we can see how technology and approaches to everything are improving. Before students had to listen to lectures and sit up nights for assignments, now, they can attend educational excursions or buy thesis papers using the Internet.
While on an educational tour/field trip a student gets to experience first-hand the concepts which help in long term retention of the knowledge. If the class room teaching is followed up by a field trip, it helps in clearing the concepts & results in more effective learning. It also helps in application of ideas, theories & knowledge which ensure competence. Discussing during the trip help the students to find solutions to real life problems and makes them innovative. Field trips helps erase pressure the boredom & monotony of having to attend a lecture. It is fun way of learning & makes it more enjoyable.
While on an educational tour/field trip students have the opportunity to have lively discussion in an informal set up. Experience gathered during a field trip to vineyards, hotels, tourist places, factories, breweries etc. are of immense benefit to students and help make learning fun and long lasting.
Educational Tour/Field Trips also provide an opportunity to students to evolve and be on their own which helps make them independent Interactions with people outside helps improve communication skills and makes them more accommodating. The educational tour/field trip helps in developing overall personality of students.
While on an educational tour to a new property or place is great fun, its main objective is learning. It exposes the students to the outside world, be it local & global issues. It improves them with a new prospective and helps in developing overall personality.
While on an educational tour/field trip a student has the opportunity of interacting with different people which helps develop social behaviour and create a social network, contacts & references. It gives them an opportunity to inculcate the habit of travelling alone & in groups and making them more empathetic towards fellow students.
Field Trips are important component of hospitality education. Using the experiential approach as a teaching method industry related visits should be organised more frequently which will provide an opportunity to students learn about organisations related to diverse aspects of the hospitality industry.
In the area of hospitality education field visits to Hotels, Vineyard, Distilleries Travel Agencies, Corporate Houses, Institutional & Industrial Catering establishments etc. should be organised for helping the students to consolidate class room teaching and have better understanding of various SOP’s and systems being followed. It will also provide an opportunity to students to have firsthand experience and make them industry ready.
Educational Tours & Field Trips provide an opportunity of experiential learning to students of all streams. They should be part of the curriculum but need to be well planned & structured under the supervision/guidance of an experienced trainer. In order to ensure the maximum benefit, a field trip or an educational tour has to be well planned.
There are 3 phases involved in organising a field trip:-
The first step is Careful Preparation. This includes research about the place, the distance, the mode of transport, duration, timings & approval from the host organisation, financial planning etc. The second step is the briefing of the students regarding the points to be observed, noted and discussed with the staff and the do’s & don’ts they have to follow. The last and the final step is the follow up activity which includes a report on the learning and discussing to reinforce the same.
As Neil deGrasse Tyson, the famous American astrophysicist said:-
Research in Education has shown that students remember field trips long into memory.
About the Author:
T.K Razdan is the current Principal of CIHM, Chandigarh. His previous work experience includes being a senior faculty at Dr. Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management, Chandigarh. He was also awarded the Certificate of Competence as in entry level trainer in Food Production by the Indian Society for Training and Development in collaboration with South Asia Integrated Tourism and Human Resource Development Programme.