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Megan Perks, MBA, CMP, CMM- Part 3

By: MPI Georgia | Jul 7, 2020

meganperks    

Megan Perks, MBA, CMP, CMM
Adjunct Professor
Hospitality Management

Member since 2003


   


Convention Sales & Meeting Management: A View from the Classroom - Part Three - Teaching Philosophy 

As an educator and lifelong learner, my guiding principle is to gain knowledge and experience from students, faculty, and hospitality practitioners in order to foster professional and personal growth. I plan to challenge myself by experimenting with new ideas and concepts to broaden my instruction strategies. 

Hospitality schools play a tremendous role in filling the high demand for skilled workers in managerial positions. Research resoundingly supports reinforcing core curriculum with soft skills so that graduates will be job-ready when entering the workplace. Incorporating a soft skills training approach within the core curriculum enhances students’ potential for academic and career success. 

When designing lesson plans, I reflect on Bloom’s theory of learning to identify objectives and outcomes. I support this concept of behavioral learning because studies suggest that practical experience in the classroom is lacking. Today’s industry professionals place a higher priority on interpersonal skills such as oral and written communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and leadership aptitude when evaluating job candidates.

softskills

Creative course design with varied content and delivery application is paramount to increase student engagement and retention. Interactive exercises should reinforce key concepts from lectures, writing assignments, and self-study. Simulations and role playing are ideal ways to explore real-world scenarios incorporating a variety of technical and interpersonal skill sets. A balance of individual assignments and group projects aids the instructor when evaluating transferrable skills.

During a PowerPoint lecture on conducting site inspections, I noticed that the students were rapidly disengaging. I switched gears and explained the important takeaways through a photo story of a conference I recently attended. Casually discussing the meeting space, food and beverage functions, and special events improved the classroom dynamic and participation level. Presenting definitions and theory was not the optimal approach. This experience was the catalyst for me to explore the flipped classroom methodology.

blendedlearning

Case studies are another effective technique to facilitate discussion and analysis; and integrating other resources such as industry articles and current events enrich learning beyond the textbook. For example, when discussing risk management, I prepared five emergency situations ranging from a natural disaster to a union strike. Real-world scenarios help students articulate their ideas and develop greater insight into the subject matter. The students used a custom template to extrapolate the significant details of the case and then presented recommendations from the meeting organizer’s perspective.

As we adapt to rapid changes in our delivery methods – moving from face-to-face instruction to blended learning – it is more critical than ever for educators to provide students with opportunities to acquire practical soft skills to complement technical competencies.

My goal as an instructor is to align my teaching style with learners’ needs, fine-tune curriculum with an emphasis on soft skills training, and experiment with varied delivery methods. By providing a supportive and stimulating learning environment, both my students and I will be better equipped to achieve academic, personal, and professional success.

 

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