Cooking Up a Batch of Learning

Here’s a funny thing about being a teacher: if you want to get good at it, life keeps throwing you ideas to learn from and steal. A previous post noted that Blue Apron, a company that delivers gourmet cook-it-yourself meals to your door, illustrates how trying unfamiliar ingredients can broaden our palates. Again, this is not an ad for BA, but as I cooked this week, I reflected that they offer quite a few great “how-tos” for educators.

Last night I made “Korean Tteok & Spicy Pork ‘Ragu’ with Baby Bok Choy.” I am absolutely certain that I have never served this for dinner before. What teaching tips did I glean? Read on.

  • Make the point of the lesson clear. BA provides a picture and a description of the finished dish, like this:


How often have I plunged into a lecture without first explaining where we’re headed, why, and where we should end up?

  • Have all materials in place ahead of time. The AV equipment should be working. The room should be set up and inviting. The papers should be sorted and clipped. The models and manipulatives should be out. The microscopes and slides are at the ready. I don’t want to waste time fumbling around, and I want to invite students into an orderly and well-thought-out process. Chefs call this “mise en place,” French for “putting in place.” Every BA recipe starts with all the ingredients set before you after you’ve done any washing, chopping, etc., which makes cooking more fun and omissions less likely.
  • Don’t assume that anyone knows anything…or at least not much. BA asks only that you bring to the table a sharp knife, salt, pepper, oil, a skillet, and a pot.  If you have more toys and know what to do with them, great. If not, you can manage. If you already know how to cook, you can often streamline or multitask to save a bit of time, but if not, BA talks you through it step by step.


  • Offer resources and assistance for those who need it. Our students’ educational experiences vary widely. I’ve had students with B.S. and Master’s degrees, and I have had students with freshly minted GEDs. Some people need a little extra help. I can offer this in person or by providing links to resources they might have overlooked. Don’t know how to chop an onion? Chopped thousands? Either way, BA has you covered with a helpful tutorial. (And, yes, they taught me a better way.)


The finished Tteok was delicious. I hope this afternoon’s class on human reproduction is just as spicy and interesting!


2 comments on “Cooking Up a Batch of Learning

  1. myevette2000 says:

    Thoughts on helping us all with our teaching, but alas, your post made me hungry.

  2. I have leftovers to share in the fridge! As with any good lesson, BA offers more than enough to “chew on” even after a generous helping.

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