Studying tourism…

Sense of Belonging

I am frequently asked, “Dr. B…what are you looking for on a test?  What should I study?”  Sometimes these questions are hard to answer.  But from experience, I know you need to understand the inter-relationship this information has with the information gleamed from your other studies.  Everything you take for credit in school, and your life experience counts for something.  It’s not always about taking notes.  It’s about understanding the patterns, the connections that are established within the context of the material.

Everything that my students read are embedded within the contribution of knowledge set over time.  And that time is a rather deep hole.  Imagine if you dug that hole, the history and knowledge of our industry would be more than twenty feet deep.  I am affixing an arbitrary number because the metaphor is more important as an illustration.  I remember Time Team visiting the states and discussing American history versus British History.  If you dig a hole two feet deep to represent the combined history, only two inches of that hole would represent the United States.

Yet, history does play an important role in tourism.  The development of our industry mirrors the development and evolution of society.  It is not so important to remember the dates, or just a few key ones to understand how tourism evolved.  Today, I spied an article online about the discovery of the first computer.  My students if I pose this question, and they haven’t read this blog, might suggest the answer of the 1950s.  When in fact, that first technology appeared in 60BC.  60BC.  Our minds, and many scientist might not equate that technology was so advanced.  I would differ.  I am in that camp that believe that exceptional people, with exception talent have lived through the ages and contributed to our evolution.  Sometimes, it is just the fact that we have lost that information.

Would you remember this date for a test, a quiz?  Probably not.  Would you remember that the first organized tour operator was Thomas Cook?  Probably the name, but not the date in history.  Or that even before Thomas Cook, Sir Walter Scott envisioned modern organized tourism in Scotland as he was designed the Prince Regent’s visit to the Capital in 1822.  The elaborately designed pageant effectively helped to erase the laws after the battle of Culloden that crushed the Highland way of life.  Tartan was again allowed to be worn.  How would we not have a Scotland without the kilt, the tartan today?

So back to the original thoughts for this blog post.  How to study?  It is not about taking notes all the time. It is about reading for the sake of understanding in the context of this time, this place.  Read for the enjoyment of reading, and visualize, if you can, what they are saying. When a term is mentioned, and a definition delivered, put that term, and its definition into the context of your own experience.  If they talk about accommodation, most if not all of you have gone on vacation with your friends, your family.  What does that accommodation, that hotel, that resort, that camping venue, represent.  It is a place to park your butt in a seat (in a restaurant to have food) and your head on a pillow.  Yet, some hotels, you know, from staying in the varying product lines, might not have facilities.  Is there now a word that is associated with those type of products, can you find it?  Then it is key to word associate, and have your notebook, or computer nearby.  If a hotel doesn’t have a restaurant, it is known as a limited service hotel.  And by its limitation, you can’t do everything you need.  Does the destination you are visiting have such attributes to support you need to eat?  These are the attractions or facilities of the destination.

Do you now see a pattern, connections from one term to another.  Do you see the house being built?

Read the material first.  I know it might be boring, but read it with the ideal in mind that you are going to finish it.  How many times have you read a story and wanted to toss it across the room, against the wall because you just can’t finish it.  And then later pick it up to really see what happens.  Read the material first one time through, then take notes.  If bright and wonderful light goes off in your head as you read, on some term or concept, mark it in the book, market in on the pad of paper next to you.  Then go back and revisit it after you read.  Start trying to create a visual depiction of how those words are related.  Can you put it into context of your own personal experience?  Jot down that story.  Before you know it, patterns will start to emerge and you will remember definitions.

I construct mind maps to connect concepts, and ideas.  But that is another story.

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