Disseminations by David Sephton, Primrose Publishing
Trip to Italy and Austria 11 – 19 November 2017
Locations: Maso Corto, Merano, and Salzburg, Austria
In the hotel in Maso Corto I carried out disseminations to a number of small groups of hotel staff whenever they could be spared from their hotel duties. The hotel was busy and we had to take advantage of times when individual members of staff could be spared.
The owner of the hotel was very supportive and as interested as ever in what we are creating in the project. Her four grown-up children have all taken part in disseminations on previous visits and were keen to learn about the further materials and developments that we have created.
As always, they were full of questions and wanted to know what new materials we were working on and what our plans were after the present project ends. Like most people in that part of Italy they speak both Italian and German as the region used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. So they were able to enjoy our materials in both languages. They were particularly keen to try the tasks based on the inter-activedigital maps and thought they make language-learning especially motivating. They felt the latest modules would prove very useful.
The first two days a massive Alpine storm raged and access to the internet was seriously disturbed, so that accessing the digital maps had to be delayed till the storm had passed.
On this visit there were a number of new members of staff in the hotel. The new restaurant manager is Hungarian. He has only been there a short time in the past year so he was new to our second project although I did meet him there on an earlier visit and gave him a detailed session then.
Another new member of staff who helps in the bar and serves in the restaurant and café asked if I could send her some sample materials by email – which I have done. In fact I have been sending emails to all members of the staff because they all asked for further information.
The new barman is an enthusiastic young man who works in the bar in the evening..
He is helped by a colleague who only works occasional evenings. Sadly I had no opportunity to spend more than a few minutes with her. But she was keen for me to send her more details by email.
One enthusiastic member of staff wo ia a reglar waitress in the restaurant knows the project well. She had not previously seen the photos that I have added to the maps and thought they added real interest – making them more real than just a way of helping to improve language skills.
At the hotel I got friendly with two men sitting at the next table and told them what I was doing in the project. I promised to send them material so they can try some of our tasks. I understand one of them is married to a teacher, so that probably increased their interest. Although our detailed chats were not a dissemination as such, I feel that the interest that they showed was a valuable opportunity. We hope to meet on future visits.
The previous restaurant manager who had become a good friend and who had shown great interest in our project, had resigned and was expected to take up a post at another hotel in the area. I met him for a session at the Ski centre where he was deputizing for another colleague who is always keen to know what we are developing in the project. I am sorry I did not have a chance to see him and bring him up-to-date on our activities as he is keen to improve his language skills, and finds the apps and the maps very useful. I wanted to show him our latest modules.
On the Thursday evening I invited a colleague to join me for dinner. He had been assistant manager at the Golden Cross Hotel in another village further down the valley where I gave some disseminations last year. He is now a key member of staff at a hotel in the nearby village of Certosa. We have kept in touch regularly as he is very keen to keep up-to-date with the project’s progress. We had two hours together and I was able to introduce him to many of the things we have been working on recently in the project.
The teacher that I met on my trip in March teaches at a school in Merano for 18-20-year-olds. She was not free to meet during the week, but on the Saturday that I left the hotel she had planned to visit a friend in a mountain village about two hours away by train – a town that my train was due to pass through. So we met at the railway station and travelled together – enjoying a two-hour dissemination in the train – which proved extremely valuable.
Although her school does not officially teach hospitality, most of the students end up working in local hotels, I hope she will be able to make use of our project materials to get the students interested and to use them for teaching both the jobs that they can train for, and improve their language skills for use in hospitality. I have now shown her a lot of the materials that we have been producing. She and her colleagues would find the modules useful with their students – especially the one about hotel staff and the jobs they do. They could do it in Italian and German as both languages are used.
As Ryanair’s afternoon flight back to London Stansted leaves too early for me to catch it, I stayed the final night at the same small Salzburg hotel where I stayed last March. The three staff that I had previously met were really interested in the project as I had sent them a lot of material. I had the opportunity to meet three new members of staff and, because the hotel was very quiet, was able to give a useful dissemination and provide them with presentation material on the project, explaining in detail what our aims are. I have emailed information to them on our latest materials.
Director, Primrose Publishing Ltd 11 – 19 November 2017