Fifty Minute Classroom

Mar 25, 2017, 18:35

50-Minute Classroom: Playing Games

Using games to teach will get both you and your students out of a rut. A round of Hangman, anyone?

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

As teachers we get into ruts. If we are teaching one-month classes, one-semester classes or one-year classes, we tend to do the same thing every month, every semester, every year. Even if it works well, we get bored. When we get bored, the students get bored. When the students get bored, their education and our enjoyment of teaching both go downhill fast.

At the June Leadership Conference of CAFÉ I was able to attend a seminar entitled “You Can Lead Students to the Classroom, but Can You Make Them Think?” It was led by assistant professors Deet Gilbert and Sunil Atreya, both of Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte. The thrust of that seminar was that in today’s world, standing up and giving a lecture will not get the attention of most students, and even fewer will retain the material. In other words, lecturing to your students in the academic portion of your curriculum is dooming your students and yourself to failure. The seminar went on to cover at least 10 or more different games and formats you can use to liven up your class.

What really hit me like a bucket of cold water about this was that the second article I wrote for “The Gold Medal Classroom,” in March 2009, talked about creating word puzzles, crossword puzzles and other games to get the students thinking and interacting. I even listed a number of websites that had these items available for free. To my horror, I realized at the Leadership Conference that I had gotten myself into a rut and that I was not doing any of these games any more. It didn’t take more than a few moments of reflection to realize that my students absorbed and learned the material faster and more thoroughly when I was using the games. It was also clear that I was having less fun teaching the class.

50-Minute Classroom: Picking Teams

Continuing the theme of helping students work together successfully to better prepare them for real-life employment, Chef Weiner suggests strategic ways to group team members who don’t necessarily see eye to eye.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

Last month’s article was based upon a seminar given by Paul Sorgule at this past summer’s Leadership Conference about how students interact, fight and then grow together to become a team.

The two key points of that article were: 1) whether or not students like working in teams, they need to learn how to work in teams to work in the culinary field, and 2) whether they like someone on their team is not relevant, as they still have to work together well.

How teams are chosen will, in large part, contribute to teaching students how to work in a team format. Here are some of the ways to pick teams:

50-Minute Classroom: Working in Teams Needs to Be Taught

Students in teams don’t necessarily have to like each other, says Chef Weiner. They won’t have the luxury of choosing their teammates in the real world, after all. But they do have to learn to work together to execute a successful meal. Here are proven tips to teach them how.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

At the recent CAFÉ Leadership Conference in Miami I had the privilege of attending a seminar by Paul Sorgule of Harvest America Ventures. Paul said something that was a proverbial slap in the face for me. He stated that all culinary instructors teach with teams, but we don’t really understand how teams work, nor do we specifically teach our students how to work in teams.

One of the key items he covered is that there are four phases in each team project:




Mature Closeness

The first thing people do when assigned to a team is to test out the other team members and themselves in the team. How much do the other team members know? How much can I assert myself in the team? Will I be able to ride on other people’s coattails?

50-Minute Classroom: The 10 Hardest Things to Teach Young Culinary Students

From opening and staring into a hot oven until the inside temperature plummets to reasons not to overcrowd a frying pan, Chef Weiner discusses how to successfully teach some hard-to-learn rules in the culinary classroom. For one common practice among students, however, he still seeks a solution.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

In June I had the privilege of attending CAFÉ’s Leadership Conference in Miami. There are two reasons I love the conference: 1) the seminars and 2) the out-of-seminar discussions.

Let me share with you one of the out-of-seminar discussions that a group of us had at the breakfast table. The topic is particularly appropriate since many of you will be reading this at the start of your school year. What Is the Hardest Thing to Teach New Culinary Students? Here is our top 10 list:

1. Tasting
This is really two categories. Tasting as you cook, which is somewhat easy to drill into new students’ cooking routines. The other is far more difficult: getting people to taste the foods in the first place. I have many students who think I am trying to kill them by giving them a piece of beef that is cooked less than well done. Don’t even ask what they say about ceviche! I have had a little success with tough love: “This is what we are serving. If you don’t want to eat it, that’s fine.” However, if you do this better, guard your pantry and walk-in because they will try to make their own food, thinking you won’t notice.

50-Minute Classroom: As Teachers, Always “on,” All the Time

Says Chef Weiner, it’s time to assess ourselves as role models to our students, who witness more than we realize. And a tragedy hits home that we must work to positively influence those in our charge while we have the opportunity.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

From January through April I addressed how to teach your students recipe skills and basic cooking skills. In May I took a break and wrote about the importance of teaching real networking. In that article, I stated that I would pick up with cooking techniques this month.

Please forgive me, but I changed my mind. I decided that with the end of the school year for most of you it is timely to consider our position as role models.

It is important that we, as teachers, take a look at ourselves and realize our impact upon students—sometimes beyond anything that we imagine. Further, we have skills and talents observed by our students without our realizing it. In May 2012, “The Gold Medal Classroom” published my article on assessment. So, now at the end of the year, it is time to do an assessment of ourselves as role models.