Innovation in Hospitality Education
Innovation in Hospitality Education: an interview with Mr. Carlo Giardinetti, Professional Development Program Manager (Part 1)
Using interactive teaching methods, Mr. Giardinetti is turning the traditional teaching model on its head and turning students into active learners. As the Program Manager, he is responsible for leading the Professional Development courses which focus on the industry, such as The World of Hospitality and Tourism, Hospitality Operations Management and Principles of Tourism and Travel.
Mr. Giardinetti, you are quite popular with students. Why do you think they like your classes so much?
We’ve been introducing a lot of new tools for teaching, especially for the first-year students in the introductory courses which can be very theoretical; we are working on creating a truly interactive classroom experience.
One of the things that we have done was to change the classroom set-up for three of our classrooms. It was a basic thing, but it created a big change. Normally, all of the classrooms were in a typical lecture set-up with desks aligned in rows, facing the front of the class. We now have three of our classrooms that are set up in islands where students sit in groups of 6 desks, facing each other. This seating structure facilitates group work and encourages discussion and active learning.
We have also been using a new teaching method known as the flipped classroom. It means we ask students to do some reading and research before class so that when they come to class, we can have meaningful discussions and work on putting the theory into practice.
For example, we assign the students to watch a video, read an article, or take a little quiz before coming to class. Then, when they come to class, the starting point is different. We spend 10 minutes discussing the topic and we go straight into project work.
Of course, we can see if the students are really watching the videos and doing the tests before class, using our academic platform Moodle. And the group seating works well because the students know that if they don’t prepare, all their peers in class will know it.
So I’m not lecturing in class, I’m facilitating research, giving suggestions and providing resources to help students develop active learning reflexes. Passively sitting and listening in class doesn’t really work with today’s generation of students because most of them have a very short attention span. So I actually facilitate a learning experience that is self-determined and peer-motivated. It’s really about helping them gather knowledge, teaching them how and where to find information. This helps the students to become independent learners, which is highly appreciated in the industry. This has been a major change for our classroom environment and it’s working very well.
New Assessment Methods
We’ve also changed the way we evaluate student performance for some projects. Although we still have exams, we also give the students options for how they want to be assessed for project and individual work. For example, we tell them they must conduct a research project, but they have a choice on how to present their findings. So they can write a paper, make a 10 minute video, or do a presentation in class. This choice allows students in a group to use their strongest pooled talents. Realistically, some students in year one really struggle to speak in public, but they may be very good at making videos. So in a group, the students can also learn from each other if one or two of them are very strong in multimedia, or writing.
Stay tuned for the second part of this interview next week: Technology in the Classroom: an interview with Mr. Carlo Giardinetti, Professional Development Program Manager (Part 2).
About Mr. Carlo Giardinetti, Program Manager of the Professional Development Program, Glion Institute of Higher Education
Mr. Giardinetti began working in hospitality at the age of 23, when an injury put an end to his career as a professional footballer. He worked in diverse departments, companies and countries before enrolling at Glion for the Postgraduate Diploma in 2002. Upon completion of his degree, his career took off, allowing him to rise from Assistant F&B Manager to General Hotel Manager in just two years. He decided to study MBA at Manchester Business School in the UK, in 2008 where he participated in applied business projects in Japan, Germany and Spain. He worked briefly in Ukraine before the EURO 2012 in the pre-opening and opening of hotels. He returned to Glion as a faculty member in 2012, and shortly thereafter he was promoted to the Program Manager position.