Many students are not used to conducing structured observations and might not know what to look for and how often to record behaviors. The more explicit you are about how they should conduct the observation, the more likely it will be an effective learning experience.
By Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT
Last month, we discussed the art of using interviews as an out-of-class activity, and this month we will examine using structured observations as an outside-the-classroom activity, as well.
Good chef-instructors provide carefully developed demonstrations of everything from culinary fundamentals to complex technical skills. While these in-class activities are valuable—even essential—to a good culinary education, there are a range of ways to learn from observation.
Reasons for Using Observations
Encouraging students to learn from watching demonstrations and observing professionals has been part of the hospitality industry for decades, if not centuries. In the culinary arts, students learn a great deal from observing chefs in action and noticing the way in which they practice their particular skills. There is also magic in demonstrations set up on the spot to teach something that students clearly have not learned and need to review. However, demonstrations outside of class have value, too.