Hospitality leaders

June 18, 2024 •

5 min reading

From industry to education: Hospitality pros shape the next generation

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In today's complex business environment, schools play a crucial role in preparing graduates to overcome the challenges of the future. As specialists in their field, visiting professors and lecturers bridge the gap between industry realities and trends and the specialized academic curriculum in educational institutions.

Professional teachers greatly enhance the learning experience for students while also drawing personal satisfaction from shaping the next generation of leaders for their beloved industry. It’s a win-win solution for business programs focusing on one sector, such as hospitality management education.

This article explores the key factors that motivate professionals to undertake teaching and ways to facilitate a successful transition into education. It provides tips and resources for entering a teaching role, attracting teachers, and enhancing teaching abilities with an understanding of learners' current needs.


Why do experienced professionals start teaching?

Accomplished industry professionals are increasingly taking on part-time roles as academic staff in higher education institutions. In hospitality education, schools have always relied on experienced professionals to be lecturers and teach practical hospitality courses and business courses. These people decide to become teachers for various reasons.

One primary motivation is the desire to give back to the industry by sharing the knowledge they have gained throughout their careers. By becoming educators, they hope to pass on their expertise and inspire the next generation of hospitality sector leaders.

Another reason is to present a realistic picture of the industry to students. By sharing their experiences and career pathways, professional teachers provide students with a better understanding of the sector, encouraging them to pursue careers within it.

Sometimes, aspiring educators seek a change of pace from the highly demanding hospitality workplace. Trading a “9 to 5” steady teaching position for the complex schedules, hectic seasonal demands, stress, and long hours of the hospitality industry adds to the attraction for a transition to academia.

Additionally, hospitality professionals often become teachers to ensure the industry's future by training and inspiring new talent. This helps address the current shortage of human resources and skills gaps, along with the challenge of training and retaining skilled individuals within the hospitality sector.

Beyond these motivations, transitioning into teaching also offers experienced professionals an opportunity to gain industry recognition and an enriching experience. Their wealth of knowledge and leadership examples can significantly benefit students while providing a sense of fulfillment for the professionals.


Transitioning from the hospitality workforce to the classroom

The role of a teacher in the modern classroom includes essential capabilities such as facilitating knowledge transfer and preparing and executing courses. These competencies are crucial for creating successful and impactful educational experiences for students.

Industry professionals, especially managers and leaders, excel in public speaking, time management, and interpersonal communication due to their extensive experience. The challenge lies in applying these capabilities within an academic context. Luckily, these skills are transversal and work well with modern teaching methods.

Here are the concepts that professionals who transition to teaching must grasp to make the most of their knowledge in the classroom:

Setting the stage: Creating compelling and inclusive learning environments requires instructors to focus on student engagement, collaboration, and critical thinking.

Active learning: Progressive teaching styles emphasize active learning, where students construct knowledge by interacting with their environment, peers, and instructors. So, rather than passively receiving information, students build their understanding through exploration, problem-solving, and collaboration.

Social learning: Social interactions are essential in learning. Students learn through dialogue, collaboration, and shared experiences.

Facilitation: In the ideal learning environment for hospitality skills, the teacher acts as a facilitator, guiding students in constructing meaning together. By encouraging critical thinking, learners are empowered to challenge the status quo.

Crafting a course that resonates and delivers impactful learning experiences requires more than just delivering content. It involves a thoughtful combination of clarity, challenge, authority, engagement, real-world relevance, supportive environments, continuous assessment, and tailored progression.

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The winning components of lesson crafting

The “secret sauce” for effective course preparation and execution consists of the following ingredients. Though seemingly opposed, they are equally pertinent to the teaching process. Striking the right balance among them is imperative, a task that demands sensitivity to each group's unique dynamics and an understanding of one's teaching style.

Clarity and challenge

  • Clear communication: Conveying the purpose of each activity, clear learning objectives, structured framework, instructions, visual lesson plans, course path progression explanations, and meaningful capstones.
  • Repetition: Frequent repetition is a proven tool for better retention. Repetition helps consolidate memory. Revisit critical points throughout the lecture. Summarize at the end to reinforce learning. 
  • Visual representations, such as Graphs, charts, diagrams, enhance understanding and provide an alternative way to process information beyond text.
  • Adapting to the audience: Providing clarity could mean oversimplifying; however, you must know your audience and maintain the level that stimulates intellectual curiosity (challenge) within the appropriate cognitive overload.
  • Break down content into manageable chunks. Cover one topic thoroughly before moving on to the next. This approach prevents cognitive overload and aids memory retention.

Authority and engagement

  • Balancing formal (role) and informal (expertise) authority is essential.
  • Establish trust with the audience.
  • Develop your personalized teaching style.
  • Use a variety of activities to keep learners engaged and attentive and to help them retain information. Ask questions, encourage discussions, and engage in group activities.
  • Maintain an element of surprise in how you use various activities to keep the engagement level high.

Real life to theory

  • Relate new material to real-world examples or familiar situations. When students see the relevance of their learning, they’re more likely to retain it.
  • When it comes to theory, keep it simple: one concept, one application. Start with foundational concepts and gradually build complexity.

Classroom rules and supportive environment

  • Establish rules to create a safe and respectful learning environment.
  • Recognize students’ learning preferences (i.e., formal vs. informal delivery, storytelling, individual vs. social)

Assessment and feedback

  • Regularly assess students’ remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. 
  • Use individual, group, or peer feedback loop.
  • Provide feedback continuously with a high degree of personalization.

Collaboration vs. competition

  • Gamification is not only about badges, avatars, and XP
  • It is also about designing activities that promote collaboration and competition
  • Keep yourself up to date on the latest trends in e-learning

Personalization and collective progression


Teacher coaching and training

Transitioning to teacherhood isn’t always easy, as professionals and leaders may not be familiar with the ingredients mentioned above for success. If this is your case, seeking coaching and training is essential to fill in the gaps.

EHL’s Executive Teaching Fellowship Program does precisely that. This program is tailored for hospitality and business professionals who are interested in teaching in various educational or corporate environments. The courses are designed to help you transition smoothly into teaching or improve your training skills, even if you don't have prior teaching experience. You will learn techniques to effectively blend industry leadership with educational expertise. You will practice delivering classes that encourage active participation, ensuring that your audience fully engages with and applies the material, thus creating memorable and impactful learning experiences for diverse audiences. You will also have the opportunity to design and refine your own course with expert guidance, based on your own expertise, experience, and interests. Furthermore, you will have the chance to pitch your course to potential partners, creating opportunities for collaboration and expanding the outreach of your educational impact.

In conclusion, besides all the strategies and techniques discussed, the utmost factors remain authenticity and personal enjoyment. While the elements of effective teaching outlined are essential, the accurate measure of success lies in the experience created for the learners. The lasting impact is made with the genuine connection and the joy shared in the process of education. Let’s stay true to ourselves, embrace the journey, and ultimately, prioritize creating meaningful learning experiences for our students.