The Local Scoop: Engaging Russian Tourists in Visits to Singapore

A Project Prototype by Amanda Lerner

published on Oct 28, 2017

This 10-week project was designed for Russian First Year, Second Semester learners with Intermediate Low proficiency. The learners are enrolled in a YIL1202R (Beginning Russian 2) in a 4-year program at a Yale-NUS College in a Urban Singapore setting, although our class meets via teledistance. The course meets 3 times per week for two sessions of ninety minutes, one section of sixty minutes, and a sixty-minute session with a local language tutor each week. The students designed tourism materials for Russian tourists staying at the Pan-Pacific Singapore hotel.

Overview files comments

Preparing for the Project

What do you like about your city?

Launching the Project

Showing off Singapore! - Entry Event

Managing the Project

Field Trip to Pan-Pacific Preparation

Interview a Russian speaker

Assessment

Assessment - Self and Teacher

Implementation Info

How it's going so far

Preparing for the Project

What do you like about your city?

During a unit in which we covered the grammatical construction on 'what do you have in your city? what do you not have?' I assigned a short essay asking students to describe what they do have in Singapore and why they like it. None of them are native Singaporeans. After completing the assignment, I had them share their essays by reading them out loud to another. As I had planned, this sparked a rather intense discussion between my students on which restaurants they liked the best, which parts of the city are worth exploring, and where they like to go in their free time.

Technology Tips

Because this course is teledistance, the students all submitted their essays via Canvas. If I were to implement this again, I would likely faciliate discussion by adding in a Canvas discussion board.

Task Extension

The extension of task was largely the discussion. I further extended the discussion by creating a FlipGrid for my students, where they could pick one city that they loved and explain why they love it (what features it has that they enjoy as visitors).

Launching the Project

Showing off Singapore! - Entry Event

After having my students complete their writing assignment, I began a discussion the following week about how they first approached Singapore when they moved here. They had very strong ideas about what places they loved now, but they came to Singapore knowing almost nothing about what awaited them. What things did they wish they had known? What sorts of resources were helpful for them? Who did they turn to for advice? At the end of the discussion, I told them that they would be creating that resource for others - that is, for Russian tourists staying at the Pan-Pacific Singapore hotel.

Technology Tips

This particular task did not require any technology.

Task Extension

After this discussion, I had them go home and do a short writing assignment to tell me three places in Singapore that they would like to tell other people, specifically Russian tourists about, and why.

Managing the Project

Field Trip to Pan-Pacific Preparation

I planned a field trip for my students to the actual hotel for which they'll be producing materials in order for them to meet with the Senior Marketing Communications Manager. She will give them a tour of the facilities and also answer any questions that they may have. Because of the potential obstacle of writing for the right audience, I asked my students to come up with a list of questions to ask while on the field trip to get a better idea of the audience. The parameters I gave them were to come up with questions that will help them understand who will be using their materials, and how Russian guests at the hotel usually behave. They submitted these questions to me, and we will review them together in the week prior to the fieldtrip.

Technology Tips

Besides the normal technology used to facilitate teledistance, no extra technology was used here.

Task Extension

After they return from the field trip, I will have them utilize the answers they receive to these questions to select what they want to include in their pamphlets.

Interview a Russian speaker

Whereas the data that the students collect on their fieldtrip will help them generally understand the habits of Russian tourists staying at that hotel, I want them to have a more personal connection as well. I have asked them and they all know native Russian speakers currently in Singapore. For a week prior to when the assignment is due, I am going to ask my students to brainstorm questions to ask native Russians about their travel habits and what they like to do while on vacation. I will caution them that a sample size of one is not meant to be representative of all of Russian culture, but that one-on-one conversations can also be revealing and teach them something they won't know. I have done a similar assignment in the past and the interviews become quite stilted, so I want to take great care to practice backchanneling with them and encourage them to not simply read from a script.

Technology Tips

Students will need to record these interviews. My students tend to use their cell phones to record their interviews, and then send me the files for review.

Task Extension

After they conduct their interviews, we will have a discussion in class about what they've learned and what they think they now better understand about Russian travel habits.

Assessment

Assessment - Self and Teacher

The rubric for the project has been available since we launched the project via Canvas. Once students have created a rough draft of their project, I will direct them to the rubric and ask them to self-assess. Based on their self-assessments, I will ask them to go back to their projects and edit to get their projects to the 'exceeding' guidelines. After that, I will ask for that version of the project, look for any egregious errors, and hand it back to them for a final pass.

Technology Tips

I used Quick Rubric for my own rubric, but I haven't loved it. I can't print out the rubric on a single sheet of paper. For a teledistance course this is not actually a significant hurdle, but I am still looking for a printable version of this site for any future in-person classes I may teach.

Task Extension

The task extension lies in the iteration that students will take part in based on the self-assessment.

Implementation Info

How it's going so far

I am currently implementing this project, so it's difficult to give a full account of implementation info. So far the students are incredibly engaged and really loving the project. They have decided to create a map with pop-out information boxes on each of the destinations they choose. I have directed them to some resources for creating that, though they seem commited to using Adobe InDesign. Their field trip will be next week, and I know they are very much looking forward to it.

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