Saturday, 4 July 2015

Geological Vocabulary for Tour Guides

Geological Time

Recently, I was asked if I would be interested in collaborating on the production of a course in English, for Tour Guides who want to work in places where the geology and associated mining and architectural heritage are the main attractions.

I was interested in this idea, especially because it combines all of my current professional interests – in geology, teaching English and tourism.  Although I have no experience of working in the tourism industry, these are the places that I like to visit when on holiday and it was a good opportunity to take some of my own ideas a step forward and make further links with Spain.

Hyperlinks to definitions and pronunciation guides

As with any good project, I know that the initial preparation is very time consuming and it needs to be considered for the long term. Before I could even think of a way of structuring a course that would provide a student with the essential geological vocabulary that they might need, I firstly prepared a basic vocabulary list that I might use myself, when describing a particular geological site that is within my experience.

Having never been taken around any site of geological interest by a professional tour guide, I decided to put myself in the position of a tourist who wants to visit a Geopark in Spain. My first step was to analyse their websites and familiarise myself with the vocabulary that a “cultural tourist” might be expected to understand.

Although the proposed collaboration turned out to be financially infeasible - at least for a distance learning course - I now possess a very comprehensive working document that will enable me to take the next step with my ideas. Just recently, I undertook an experiment in Geological tourism here in England – to visit South Elmsall Quarry, a Site of Special Scientific Interest that is considered to be the best Permian stromatolite reef in Yorkshire.

South Elmsall Quarry