In discussing the factors which are associated with obesity in the U.S. population in 2013, several explanations have been suggested. Science Daily published an article last week written by Gary Taubes, co-founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative, addressing the various causes of the obesity issue entitled “What really makes us fat? Article questions our understanding of the cause of obesity.”
The fundamental question: Do people overeat or get fat because they are eating more, or do they eat more because the macronutrient nutritional value or composition of their foods promotes fat accumulation?
What kind of “educational nutrition” are we offering?
Interesting! Having read this, I found myself wondering (as I so often do) about our classrooms. Do we give our students a plate of food (textbook information or lecture material) filled with macronutrients? We simply present the material, expecting students to consume without interest, surprise, excitement, novelty or intrigue. What if, by chance, we were to present the same information to our students in a way that would draw them into the learning experience,making them want to consume as much of the material as possible? Ask any of the judges on the Food Network TV show Chopped—presentation is one of the main criteria for making food pleasurable and desired. Wait! I think I may be challenging my students to become “informavores”!
“Overeating” can be a good thing…in learning.
We, as educators, should move toward creating a learning environment which causes the students to “overeat”. We need to foster the creation of an insatiable appetite for the information and concepts critical to the subjects we teach. We should not settle for a substandard approach to the classroom presentation.
We spend a significant amount of money each year (an estimated $150 billion dollars) on purchasing nutritional food. College students, attending public institutions, spend roughly $9,000. – $10,000 /year on classes. Considering that roughly 60% of the population will attend an institution of higher learning at some point in their lives. Now, you do the math. If we are spending this amount of money to obtain an education, shouldn’t it be filled with nutritious bites of information rather than “nutrient-poor” filler?
How Do We Make It Tasty?
In designing our classes and preparing lecture materials, maybe we should ask ourselves: What is the nutritional value of our product? Yes, it may take a few more minutes and a little more energy on our part, but isn’t the end result worth the time spent?
Obesity? Yes, I want each and every student who sits in my class to be obese. I want them to gulp and devour as much of the information as they can. How great would it be if, a few years down the road, we’re faced with an obesity problem in learning.