A lesson from 'My Kitchen Rules' for professional educators!

Occasionally I have caught a glimpse of 'My Kitchen Rules'. I understand that many people have watched the show religiously and this is perhaps why it has became somewhat of a television phenomena. I have managed to see several episodes and enjoy watching the meal critique.

The program is pretty routine with contestants slaving away in the kitchen and after a duration of time they present an entrée, main or dessert to a panel of well renown chefs. Together the professional cooks sample each meal at a large wooden dining table and critique the construction, taste and presentation of each course. After sampling the meals the judges provide feedback and allocate a score to each of the contestants. The winner advances to the next round and from the feedback the contestants are made increasingly aware of their personal limitations and the steps that must be taken to improve their own skills and performance. The cycle of learning continues!

Recently I was at a department meeting where teaching staff sat around nested tables at the close of the work day and discussed classroom teaching. I was encouraged to see professional educators discussing the challenges they experienced with the iPad and how tablet technology had enhanced their lessons. Several staff added words of encouragement and shared ideas and applications that they had used within a recent lesson to engage their students. Flashcards and Socrative were identified as being dynamic teaching tools by several staff around the table. The staff meeting was organic and the positive discussion added professional renewal and growth.

Just like the professional chefs from 'My Kitchen Rules', I believe that educators must schedule time to sit around tables and provide constructive critique and evaluate performance. Often professional teachers are insular and deliver their content behind closed doors with little or no peer review and evaluation. Opportunities must be scheduled to sit with colleagues and assess personal performance to ensure that the needs of hungry learners are satisfied. To excel in teaching, teachers must welcome constructive criticism and explore reflective practice.

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