Activities and Techniques for Culinary Lessons

IX.    Activities and Techniques for Culinary Lessons:

Demonstrations: Before having students practice culinary techniques, content teacher and lab technician(s) should perform a complete in-class demonstration of recipes (if possible), during which students will watch, asks questions, and take notes on language and vocabulary.

Reading before and after: Before demonstrations, have students read related chapters in On Cooking and ManageFirst texts. Encourage students to skim these reading the first time, just to get the gist. Lower level students will find the On Cooking text in particular to be very challenging. Make sure students know that they are not expected to read every word of the chapter at first, but should at least look at the photographs, headings, and recipe titles, and be able to at least answer questions such as:  What kind of food are we cooking this week? What are some different types of this food? What are some different techniques used to cook this food?)  After the first reading, the culinary instructor should demonstrate the cooking technique.  Then, if possible, the students should prepare the recipe on a different day, so that they will have time to carefully re-read the chapter and the recipe(s) before preparing them. (Lower proficiency students should concentrate on reading and understanding the recipe, if they do not have time to carefully read the entire On Cooking chapter) Students can also use the On Cooking CD-Rom to view videos of cooking techniques before performing them in class.

Cooking teams:
Have students prepare recipes in teams. You may find it useful to have teams with a mix of language levels, so that students with stronger language skills can assist weaker students. It may also be useful to keep groups fixed throughout the course, if possible, so that students will learn how to assign roles and perform tasks as a team more efficiently.  However, there are also benefits to changing cooking teams throughout the course. (This may help foster teamwork and communication skills with a diverse group of peers, for example.)

Tutors: Depending on the language level of your student population, you may find it helpful to have a tutor designated to work with each group, or with a group comprised of lower level students. Tutors can assist with recipe comprehension, and other language and culinary challenges that arise for low proficiency students.

Handouts: During cooking demonstrations, you may find it helpful to provide a handout with a list of key vocabulary (ingredients, tools, and techniques), or simply to photocopy recipes from the On Cooking text for students to follow along with while watching the demo, so that they can connect the cooking technique with the new vocabulary, and listen to and read the new vocabulary simultaneously. Be sure to provide a written handout with names and page numbers (in the On Cooking text) of all recipes for students to review at home.

Language while cooking: While preparing recipes, students will be focused on the task, and may find it distracting if asked to speak English excessively while working. However, instructors and tutors must take care to encourage students to communicate effectively and respectfully in English with teammates, and not to rely on gestures or their native language to communicate. Content instructors should factor in extra time for students to complete tasks, so that they have time to deal with language issues as they arise.