Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Travel and Tourism with a Purpose

     A few months ago I requested and was assigned a class in Travel and Tourism English.  As I had expected, every available textbook at my students’ level offered a lot of vocabulary words to use in conversation about going on vacation.
     That’s important, of course, but I wanted more than that.  I wanted to broaden students’ understanding of other peoples and cultures.  I wanted them to see that environmental responsibility goes much further than demanding that governments force “somebody else out there” to accept responsibility for making the world a cleaner and healthier place.  And as the Christian song goes, “Let there be peace, and let it begin with me.”
     There are types of tourism that promote understanding among different groups of people and that promote awareness of our environmental responsibilities.  What I found, though, is that in most cases these forms of tourism don’t have a vocabulary that has traction.  Term such as new tourism and alternative tourism make these forms of tourism sound strange.  By contrast, the default form of tourism known as mass tourism sounds as though it’s more popular because it’s somehow better than “new” or “alternative.”
     I would need both a new approach and a new vocabulary for what I will teach.  I believe I have found both.  "Mass tourism" has become "glass bubble tourism;" alternative tourism is now "full contact tourism."  The video series is called Paradigmaclast.  BTW, all but one other Internet site spells the word "paradigmoclast," but I disagree with that spelling.  The Greek word for paradigm is paradigma, with an a.
     With a four-week trial offer of a video converter, I spent almost a month downloading hundreds of videos and converting them to WMV format.  I spent the next few weeks using Moviemaker to pick them apart to use as video resources.  Then I spent more than a month creating eight lessons in video format—107 minutes in all.  These lessons are intended to supplement the textbook rather than replace it.  Future video lessons should take much less time to generate, as they will be more in-depth—thus, the number of clips in each video will be fewer and longer.
     In several respects, my strategy involved a perilous navigation between Scylla and Charybdis.   I’ll spare y’all the details.  In the end, though, I took what appears to be a simple approach: showing them just enough about other cultures to cause some of them to want to know more.  Entertainment rather than logical suasion is the vehicle that drives this strategy.
     Below are the first eight lessons.  Just click on the link.

1 comment:

  1. Another informative blog… Thank you for sharing it… Best of luck for further endeavor too.
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