Getting verbal literacy into Tourism

Tourism is a tricky little subject. I have always found that pupils can underestimate it’s complexity, dismiss is as merely logic or simply do not get excited about it. I have been tasked with creating a 10 lesson unit for year 8 to have a little delve into the topic and use it as a linking topic to move onto the Antarctic biome.

The unit has got field sketching, debating, photo analysis, mapping, graphing, researching and it has taken a few lessons before I have really seen pupils getting really involved in Tourism.

I was warned off looking at Extreme Tourism by a senior teacher from another school as ‘why learn about places they may never go’, but I decided to go ahead with it anyway and was fully rewarded today.

We started with a mystery image of a deserted Chernobyl and after some directed questioning and formative assessment of pupil prior understanding, we moved onto the main task, which was the Bear Grylls challenge, effectively selecting a holiday for me in the most extreme place the pupils could find. This meant extensive research of areas using the tablets we have in the department, which is a great use of a pretty basic but very functional tablet set up. Each pupil had one page in their book to create a structured revision page and twenty five minutes to complete it. I discussed each place with the pupils and then we got down to the main event.

This was an extreme tourism knock out competition, complete with Rocky backing music. Each pupil had to challenge someone else in the class to prove that their location was more extreme than the other. The losers then went and sat down, self assessing their work to say which round they went out in and why they lost. The key was getting pupils to debate their cause, enhancing their verbal literacy, ability to summarise and identify key points and allow healthy challenge between pupils.

When we were down to three, after some very excellent debates, the finalists had 20 seconds to explain why theirs was the most extreme and the most fitting for my holiday. Then the class blind voted on which they thought was the best choice.  A medal was awarded to the winner, which was actually diving in the Pacific off the coast of the Solomon Islands with sharks in a reef area. The case for it’s extreme nature was very well out together.

All the pupils practiced their verbal literacy, had a laugh, found out a great deal about some really random locations and realised that Tourism is not just visiting London landmarks.



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