Food is best served on a plate

Eating can be a metaphor for learning.

Learners consume information like diners might consume a sandwich or a salad.

When you go out to eat at a restaurant, you expect the food quality to be excellent. In the same way, when you go to school, you assume the teacher’s instruction to be top-notch.

The curriculum is the central part of the learning experience like the food is the central part of the restaurant dining experience.

But what if a chef forgets to put the food on a plate before serving it? It’d be a mess. You would have food all over the place.

Bear with me here! 🙂 I see it all the time.

Kids go to school and feel like they’re trying to drink water from a firehose with all the new information. It resembles sitting down at a table while a waiter dumps a salad all over the placemat. There’s nothing to retain it securely.

Just like food is best served on a plate, a curriculum is best served on a social and emotional foundation for each student.

It is tempting to think about the learning process only in terms of absorbing and retaining information. It looks like a purely intellectual or mental exercise.

In reality, there is so much more opportunity for personal growth in every learning experience that requires hard work. But the potential is only unlocked when the subject matter rests squarely upon the student’s holistic sense of themselves and what matters to them personally.

I advise parents to get in touch with the myriad struggles teenagers encounter when committed to studying and learning at school.

According to the CASEL Model, social and emotional learning consists of five core competencies:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship skills
  • Responsible decision-making

The root problem with learning difficulties often isn’t about factual errors!

Social and emotional roadblocks such as being afraid to ask for help, or not staying organized with papers, is the real issue.

Therefore, if a learning experience looks like a mess, first make sure that the student feels solid in their “soft skills” – the social and emotional skills that make learning more effective.

With the right context, most foods can taste great, and most topics can be interesting to learn about.