Curriculum Cooking

I’m at the end of day two of VCU’s first annual University Seminar on General Education. There’s more to say than I can possibly articulate in this small space of time, but I do want to mark this phase of the experience with a metaphor. Metaphors are how I mark my experience. (I was going to qualify that sentence with various hedging “arguably” and “perhaps” locutions, but thought better of it.)

Thanks to a wonderful suggestion by Suzie Fairman, my division’s Coordinator of Operations, we closed day one of the seminar by adjourning to a kitchen-school and cooking together. Tapas! Team. Nourishment. Fellowship. Direct instruction (recipes, kitchen rules and etiquette) along with informal learning and a good deal of improvisation. Not a bad metaphor for the way we’re trying to imagine (and re-imagine, and design) a general education curriculum (or environment) cooking with connection.


Credit: Jeff South


Credit: Jeff South

Now for a little more weight on the metaphor: see how this context problematizes the often pernicious dichotomies between “sage on the stage” and “guide at the side,” or between “group work” and “individual reflection.” And I freely confess, and loudly celebrate, that it was hard to quarrel with the very tasty results.

Below, more cooking, in a setting that could benefit from the liberal application of that metaphor:





Here I leave the further elaboration as an exercise for the reader(s).

Tomorrow, our midpoint. What will be the feast we prepare together?


2 thoughts on “Curriculum Cooking

  1. Wow i love that! I usually “bring” food to my workshops but the idea of cooking during a workshop is something else! Hmmm – thinking of the possibilities…for classes as well as workshops
    And oh wow i just realized i have a workshop tomorrow in which i did not integrate an element of food. Gotta do that

    One note, tho. You said you can’t argue with the tasty results. But I assume to embrace emergence means you also accept that sometimes the results are not so tasty. I am one of those ppl who gets bored of following my own recipes and get impatient, so sometimes i mess up and results aren’t great. I move on. I have learned to occasionally stick to recipes that work but to also allow room for new ones to emerge coz they can be so much better than what i started with

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