Mayo's Clinics

Oct 19, 2017, 23:43

Mayo’s Clinic: Retaining Students in Our Classes

The challenge of college includes managing multiple demands and a complex schedule, often for the first time as an adult. Something as simple as taking attendance in class can motivate students to not only stay in the course and program, but thrive.

By Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT

For the last two months, we have discussed ways to encourage student curiosity. This month, we turn to the challenge of keeping students in our classes and in our programs. There are several ways—noticing them, giving them feedback, encouraging friendships and taking attendance—to keep students engaged. I hope one or more will be useful to you.

Being Noticed Counts
The primary way to keep students engaged is to provide them with comments on their participation, their work and their involvement. Showing them that you notice what they are doing and appreciate it—most especially the effort involved—makes a big difference in their attitude toward being in class, learning the material and incorporating culinary skills into their repertoire.

Mayo’s Clinic: Strategies for Encouraging Curiosity in Students, Part II

Following up on last month’s inspiration to teach curiosity by capitalizing on the five “W”s, this month Dr. Mayo reveals three additional strategies.

By Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT

This month is the second installment of suggestions for encouraging curiosity in students. Last month, we talked about inviting them to lead critiques of food, asking them to ask questions about what they are doing in class, and inviting them to consider what could be done differently each time they do something. These strategies keep their minds active and promote both curiosity and creativity along with critical thinking.

This month, we will discuss three other strategies that are part of good teaching, but can be particularly useful in promoting curiosity.

Controversy
One very effective way to encourage curiosity is to create some discrepancy about something that is being taught or discussed. Since you want different perspectives, give students various roles to play in the discussion of some concept. They will investigate it and think about it more profoundly since they know that there will be several points of view. The benefit is that they will consider more aspects of the topic knowing that they have to debate it.

Mayo’s Clinic: Strategies for Encouraging Curiosity in Students, Part I

In the culinary world, learning the “how” and its many variations is a critical part of students’ education. One way to teach curiosity is to capitalize on the five “W”s.

By Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT

Last month, we discussed the habit of curiosity and ways that it can change how students pursue their education and develop as professionals. This month and next, we will review a range of strategies for encouraging curiosity with various teaching strategies and learning activities.

Basic Standards
One part of our challenge in educating and training students in culinary and hospitality programs comes from teaching them basic information while getting them to think about what they are learning and challenge it in a way that builds their long-term creativity. Our challenge as teachers involves helping them learn and practice being curious while accepting and learning from standard and useful ways of preparing and serving food.

Mayo’s Clinic: The Habit of Curiosity

Wondering and thinking about everything that is done in the kitchen—and considering how and why—are important behaviors we want to build in our students and encourage a stance of questioning.

By Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT

For much of the fall, we discussed helping students learn about themselves, assisting them in taking charge of their lives and in other ways building their professional skills. This spring, we will focus on another aspect of working with students: helping them expand their curiosity and their creativity. This month, we will discuss developing the habit of curiosity.

A Habit of Curiosity
The habit of curiosity is a pattern of looking at and wondering about things throughout the day. It involves noticing when things do not work the way you expected them and asking why things happen the way they do. Since it means asking a range of questions—who, what, where, when, how and why—this process of thinking actively engages the mind and builds critical-thinking skills, something so necessary for our students.

Unfortunately, there are many people who can look at a loaf of bread, a plate presentation, a clear soup, a glass of wine or a composed salad and not see anything. They do not wonder why it was prepared the way it was, where it came from, what was involved, what else could have happened, and why it smells or tastes like it does. While that acceptance without noticing and thinking may be acceptable in a restaurant patron, it does not belong in a professional chef or a student learning to become a chef. Wondering and thinking about everything that is done in the kitchen and considering how and why are important behaviors we want to build in our students. Therefore, we need to encourage a stance of questioning and a habit of curiosity.

Mayo’s Clinic: Helping Students Take Charge—Letter Writing

One of the most powerful techniques to help students remember what they have learned and apply it to a range of situations is the assignment to write letters to themselves.

By Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT

Last month, we discussed helping students take charge of their lives by using journals. This month, we will examine the power of personal letter writing as a way to encourage recognition of what students have learned and motivate them to apply it.

Writing
Almost any kind of writing helps students improve their writing and, usually, the clarity of their thinking. Students—and professionals—who cannot write something clear are typically not able to think clearly about the topic or think about it in an organized manner. Therefore, any writing assignment that asks for careful structure and logic will make a difference in a student’s education. Simply regurgitating definitions does not make a difference. Writing research papers, creating project reports, answering essay questions on a test, preparing reaction papers and developing reflection papers all help students organize their thoughts as well as build connection among ideas. Writing assignments also improve students’ recall of information.

Writing Letters to Myself
One of the most powerful techniques to help students and trainees remember what they have learned and apply it to a range of situations outside of the classroom is the assignment to write a letter to self. At the end of a course or specific topic, ask them to write themselves a letter describing what they have learned and how they plan to use it in the near future. When they get the letter some time later, it reminds them of what they learned and what they intended to do with their newly acquired information or skills.