Innovative learning found expression on the 27th of October at Dubai Gem, when six representatives from The Hilton arrived at our school to conduct a workshop for us, the Travel and Tourism students of Year 11.
The team headed by Mr Suranga Jayasinghe – Cluster Training Manager, also included the following professionals from their respective departments: Mr. Kishore Kumar – Executive responsible for Houskeeping; Ms Mini Jose – Assistant Manager, Human Resources; Ms Licinia Alves – Assistant Restaurant Manager; Chef Lokman Hamdan and Janaka Perera – Senior Room Attendant.
The programme began with a presentation by Mr. Jayasinghe, where he spoke about the history of the Hilton and what hospitality really meant to the founder, Mr Conrad Hilton.
Mr. Jayasinghe then went on to speak of the benefits and career opportunities within the Travel and Hospitality industry.
The presentation was followed by our class being divided into three groups. Each group had a chance, by rotation, to practically demonstrate the following: Formal table setting, napkin folding and food making.
The concerned professionals began by demonstrating to each of our groups, how each of these activities could be done and we followed suit by learning remarkably well.
Practical Skill One was Table setting, this activity saw us learning how to set a formal dining table, which included us understanding where each item of tableware had be placed, such as the water glass, soup bowl, dinner fork, soup spoon, service knife, salad plate, dessert spoon etc.
Practical Skill Two was Napkin folding – this involved us making the shape of a swan and an elephant using bath towels. This was a really enjoyable activity for us. We soon found ourselves on our knees on the floor, doing our best to get these towels into shape – the end product was to the satisfaction of the Senior Room Attendant. We were such enthusiastic participants that the Executive responsible for Housekeeping made us a crocodile with a towel and challenged us to have a go at it!
Finally, Practical Skill Three was Food Making! This involved putting together a snack, which the chef told us was ‘Chicken Musakhan’. This snack involved blended and delicately spiced shredded chicken, deftly rolled up in tortilla flatbread and eaten with a dip of yoghurt that was sprinkled with powdered sumac and finely toasted pine nuts, to give just that right amount of crunch.
We were eager not just to try our hand at making the snack, but also to taste the end result, especially with the tantalising aroma of the chicken right in our noses! Well, what is it that they say – the proof of the pudding is in the eating!
After the skills practice in groups concluded, we all received Certificates of Participation from the Hilton Group, and posed for a group photograph which included our Travel and Tourism teachers, Ms Caroline Rebello and Ms Mahua Paul and Subject Coordinator Ms Elizabeth George.
It was with much sincerity that we thanked the Hilton Representatives, because we really benefitted from the visit! We gained an insight into what Hilton was able to achieve through imagination, vision and determination. We were glad that we chose Travel and Tourism as a subject, because we saw this morning, one more dimension of the Hospitality Industry and the myriad opportunities in a 21st century world!
This was one more of those many days at DGPS, when we all agreed that innovative learning is indeed fun!