The whys and hows of cooking in class

Muppets-Swedish-Chef

Cooking as a part of an EFL class might not be something you’ve thought of before. I certainly hadn’t before I got asked to do one last week. I did the class on Monday and Tuesday this week and immediately knew this was something I had to write a blog about to encourage others to get cooking in class.

Why cook in class?

  1. Everyone loves food.
  2. You can use lots of Task Based Learning. I’m not really enough of an expert on ELT theory to say I have a really informed opinion on TBL, but lots of people who are experts do recommend it.
  3. All the language usage will be authentic. The students will really care about getting their recipe right, so when they’re asking you questions or listening to instructions they’ll be very engaged.
  4. It’s not as hard as you think. Even if your school has no ovens or anything you could probably do a lesson on different countries’ favourite sandwiches, right? People who teach adults might think ‘oh I couldn’t do that’, but I’m pretty sure that lots of adult students would also enjoy something like this. There are probably lots of ‘write up your favourite recipe in English’ follow ups that adults could do that children would find hard.
  5. You can teach other life skills. Learning to cook is an important thing to know. If you can teach it at the same time as English, that’s great!
  6. It’s a lesson that you get to eat food at the end of, obviously it’s a good idea.

What we did

I decided to make pizzas for the first class. We’re going to do nachos next time around. I followed this recipe to make the pizzas. We cheated and used tomato ketchup for the sauce (not my idea!) which I was worried about but turned out fine. The class took an hour and a half but it would have taken about 50 minutes with a bigger oven.

There are a huge range of options that it would be possible to make. If you decide to do a cooking class make sure you think about what equipment, time, and space you have. I’d recommend pre-teaching some of the vocabulary, especially weird cooking verbs (no one knew ‘sprinkle’ or ‘spread’).

Happy cooking, here are some pizza photos from class.

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What it looked like before we cooked it.

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Pizzas in the oven, we really needed to be able to fit more pizzas in there.