My Video CV, or how to impress the hotel industry

Gisela Soares, Teresa Pataco


This article discusses an information technology-inclusive teaching methodology used in English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses, whose syllabi (in close articulation with the core subjects of the degree) contain topics related to the operational activities typical of the hotel industry. Furthermore, it reflects on how this methodology, first designed to address senior students’ concerns regarding vocabulary acquisition in the final semester of a Hotel Management degree (whose mastery they seem to consider the best indicator of language proficiency) evolved to encompass self-regulated learning skills. Although one would expect 3rd year students to have developed strategies which enable them to acquire the industry’s vocabulary in autonomous and self-regulated ways, experience shows us that they will still rely heavily on the lecturer to select, explain, translate or define “all the words” they deem relevant. In the attempt to counter such a trend and to address both the students’ concerns with vocabulary acquisition and an accompanying low feeling of self-efficacy, we have adopted a strategy with satisfying results as it has helped maintain high success rates - circa 90% - over the past seven years.
This strategy is underpinned by more “traditional” learning activities (as proposed by a communicative approach to language teaching), such as noticing tasks, including work on realia, which are associated to the relevance of form and lexical development, with a task-based approach. The latter, which materialises in the form of an interdisciplinary project, called My Video CV, aims at developing the four macro-skills, while putting into practice technology skills learnt in ICT courses. The soundness of the My Video CV project, which is at the fulcrum of the action-research the authors have been conducting for seven years, is analysed using the criteria and indicators established by the Action Research journal. In the conclusion, and in line with action-research premises, the authors embrace their role as teachers researchers, their experience of the field and their value systems, as they believe, from the analysis of the My Video CV project, its results and the review of the existing literature, that the teaching methodology has, so far, effected a desirable change in students’ autonomy, in what concerns the development of research, organisational and self-assessment skills.

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