What if in high school you wouldn’t waste your time on dozens of general subjects, but instead would study only what you like and focus exactly on the fields that will be useful in your dream career – marketing, IT, medicine, design, architecture or anything else you are passionate about? At the Heritage Lyceum, the only Cambridge School in Moldova, students can choose and combine their subjects from a variety of 55 courses from the A Level curriculum, including Art and Design, Business and Economy, IT or Tourism, and when graduating they receive Cambridge International qualifications, accepted by over 1400 top universities worldwide. Depending on the career they wish to pursue, students are guided to choose the recommended subjects for an international academic and professional career. One of the A Level subjects taught at Heritage Lyceum is “Tourism & Travel”, and teacher Irina Călugăreanu has agreed to tell us more about how students gain the skills and knowledge necessary for a career in the field.
1. Why is the subject “Tourism & Travel” important in the A Level curriculum at Heritage Lyceum?
At Heritage Lyceum I teach the subject “Tourism & Travel” – a course that aims to reveal the tourism industry to students. Here students learn the principles of the activity in this industry, from the economic, social, cultural and environmental points of view. This A Level subject is a transdisciplinary one, where marketing, management and communication sciences meet. Earlier, at AS Level, I made an introduction to tourism. Now, at A Level we will go to destinations, with a special focus on the management and marketing of tourist destinations.
Our students have traveled a lot, they know many destinations, which make our lessons dynamic. Students are curious to know insights from the management of a hotel, the organization of airline schedules and charters, code of conduct with the clients of a restaurant and other elements of the tourism industry, which they have seen, experienced, but never wondered how these work on the inside.
2. What teaching methods do you apply in your lessons?
In class I am adept at using interactive methods: I combine the classical methods (discussions, essays, dictating the themes in the notebook) with debates, teamwork, situation simulations, games and presentations on online platforms (Kahoot, Mentimeter). All our activities are conducted in English.
3. What does a “Tourism & Travel” lesson in the A Level program look like? How do you involve students to learn this subject in depth?
The “Tourism & Travel” subject is divided into two modules: destination marketing and destination management. In the marketing module, students learn to conduct market research, to analyze critically primary and secondary data, they also work in groups. Students will choose a destination around the globe and create a brand for that specific destination.
In the “Tourism & Travel” classes, through practical examples, through the analysis of the case studies, the students learn how to plan, organize and implement a tourist organization, a hotel, a restaurant or a museum. Most of the time we use official websites of tourist organizations, governments, associations in the field and countries that provide information for tourists.
Classroom activities are often based on the analysis of case studies, we discuss, propose suggestions, learn to give constructive feedback and come up with innovative ideas for certain destinations, whether they are known or not. Students learn to select and interpret the identified information from different sources.
In one of our “Tourism & Travel” lessons we had as a guest an event organizer, who told the students about the latest marathon organized by him and his team. For the students it was unclear what tourism had to do with an event for running enthusiasts, but the guest explained how organizing the marathon in question brought over 1000 tourists to Chisinau. Thus, through real examples, children understand differently the ins and outs of the tourism industry.
4. What is the homework for “Tourism & Travel”? What is the grading system in the A Level program?
Homework can be teamwork or individual work (looking for information and making presentations about a specific country, about the number of tourists, about tourist attractions and other). Homework is graded according to certain predefined requirements in the Cambridge International curriculum, for which students receive percentage scores. And the teachers have a list of certain criteria that they need to evaluate, where it is mentioned for what and how to grade the student.
This semester students will build a brand from scratch, with their own design, for a specific destination in the world, they will learn to promote it, to attract tourists and communicate with potential consumers.
5. Towards which faculties are the students who choose the subject “Tourism & Travel” oriented? In what areas of activity is the knowledge of this subject welcomed?
Most students who have chosen this subject for A Level want to continue their university studies either in this field, or they are oriented towards hotel services, economics, marketing and even business and it will make it easier for them to get into the essence of the subjects they will study at the university.
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