Mayo's Clinics

Mar 25, 2017, 18:41

Mayo’s Clinic: Structured Observations as a Learning Activity

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.

Mayo’s Clinic: Interviews as a Learning Activity

Assigning an interview as an out-of-class activity will help your students practice networking, making connections with industry professionals and interacting in a professional manner.

By Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT

My past two “Mayo’s Clinics” have focused on out-of-classroom activities because they are an important part of a student’s education and one that we often do not have a chance to discuss or think about. In this column, we will discuss the challenges and values of using interviews as an out-of-class learning activity.

Reasons for Using Interviews
There are a number of benefits that derive from using interviews. If you give your students an assignment to interview a specific person or persons in certain positions—chef de cuisine, pastry chef, maître d’hôtel or restaurant manager—they will have to do some research on the person and prepare a list of questions to use in the interview.

If you do not make the arrangements ahead of time with persons who are willing to be interviewed or provide students with access to specific individuals, the assignment gives them experience in reaching out and contacting industry professionals, requesting an appointment and making all the appropriate arrangements for an interview. Learning this range of skills contributes dramatically to students’ professional development at an early point in their careers. Hopefully, it also helps them build some confidence in their networking skills.

Mayo’s Clinic: Out-of-Class Activities

Is there ever enough time in class to do everything you wish? You’re already employing one out-of-classroom model to extend instruction, but, says Dr. Mayo, three that you might not have considered can help you become even more effective at teaching. Though not necessarily easy at first, these models’ merits make them worth a try.

By Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT

This past fall, we reviewed a number of issues and strategies for assessment. This spring, we will focus on learning activities for students, starting with a discussion of the value of developing and using out-of-class activities. My next “Mayo’s Clinic” will focus on using interviews as a learning activity. This month the column will explore several models of out-of-class activities.

Reasons for Out-of-Classroom Activities
There are many reasons to use out-of-class activities. Because there is never enough classroom time to do all that we want to do, out-of-class activities keep the learning going during the days between class meetings, offer an opportunity to maximize the benefits of in-class time, and provide a chance for students to become independent learners doing their own thing, within certain boundaries.

For years, we have been assigning out-of-class activities—the primary one being reading material in the textbook and coming to class prepared to discuss or use the information—but we don’t often think of them as such. In our experience, that was homework! We also assign the task of researching recipes or developing a mise en place list for the laboratory session, among many other assignments.

Mayo’s Clinic: Assessment Criteria and Rubrics

In his final installment in a series on student assessment, Dr. Mayo says it is increasingly important to explain to students the criteria we use in grading. Not only does doing so make our jobs easier, but it is only fair to tell students ahead of time how they are going to be evaluated.

By Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT

Over the last three months, we have discussed the purposes of assessment and assessment methods such as keeping track of attendance, using open-book tests, administering take-home examinations, evaluating oral presentations, grading class participation and observing student performance in culinary classrooms and dining rooms. This month, we will examine assessment criteria and rubrics.

Criteria versus Methods
Many faculty members confuse assessment criteria with assessment methods, understandable since many of us were taught in situations where there were no explicit criteria and the only thing we knew was the grading mix—what percentage of the grade was based on which specific assignments. However, the world of assessment has grown immensely, and the renewed focus on outcomes has led many of us to develop a range of assessment methods and criteria.

Mayo’s Clinic: Assessment Methods, Part III

Dr. Mayo continues his discussion of tried-and-true and novel assessment ideas, as well as common methods whose usefulness in your program might be dated. This month he examines evaluating food preparation and dining-room service.

By Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT

Last month, we discussed oral presentations and class participation. This month, we will examine evaluating food preparation and dining-room service, and next month, this column will discuss the topic of assessment criteria and rubrics, building on ideas presented in my previous three articles (Assessment Methods I, II and III).

Evaluating Food Preparation
The most challenging and important aspect of evaluation in culinary classes involves assessing student performance in preparing food. There are so many aspects to this challenge, including knife skills, station set up, mise en place, food-safety habits, ingredient use, use of heat, basic cooking principles, consistency, creativity, palate development and plate presentation, as well as professionalism during the entire process.