Cultivating deep learning in field-based tourism courses: Finding purpose in ‘trouble’

Maggie Miller, Helene Balslev, Carl Cater

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Despite well-established links between travel, learning and education in tourism studies, there is scant discussion around the ways in which ‘trouble’ emerges and unfolds in experience-based and field course learning scenarios. This exploratory research study aims to understand this neglected aspect of tourism education, drawing attention to its pedagogical value and to debate the purpose of trouble within the field, both the unintended and unexpected situations as well as the deliberate troubling scenarios. Specifically, drawing inspiration from collective memory work (cf. Haug, 1987; Small, 1999) we examine the ‘troubling’ memories of tourism educators that lead and organise field courses in domestic and international contexts. Analysis of findings reveal that unintended instances become purposeful for both students and educators, whilst deep learning can be triggered by a deliberate courting of trouble. Such troubles become transformative practices that afford opportunities to pause, reflect and re-think the ways in which we respond to differences and the evolving dynamics of the places we travel to for education. As educators are likely not trained to stay with, or more specifically to sway towards trouble, this paper imparts insights around how to create purpose from trouble inspiring educators to facilitate more critically-oriented tourism field courses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)50-67
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • tourism education, field courses, experiential learning, purpose, deep learning, trouble, trickster


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