Most people hate it when they have to go for grocery, vegetables, bakery, and all the other little things they need to do on week-ends instead of relaxing at home or enjoying going out for fun. A few years ago I couldn’t agree more, as I felt such “duties” somehow a loss of my time where I could do “many other things” (In fact I wasn’t, all I did was to spend more time doing everything but something useful!).
Going to the market is more than an obligation for me, it is another occasion to learn something new. You may ask yourself what am I talking about, what is new about tomatoes and cucumbers?
Nahhhhh! Not really, it is more learning about people, how they behave, what they buy, what they share, there is so much so much to discover about people in such places, more about their social attitude. You would be surprised if you give a few minutes observing people around you in such occasions.
I guess I learned a lot about how to prepare some sorts of vegetables I never seen before, choosing a specific type of exotic fruit was quite an experiment. I love persimmons, so one day I saw a type that looked very raw so I decided not to buy, where an Asian woman came by and explained that this type of fruit was very sweet, encouraging me to buy at least one or two and try it. What is also funny is listening to people discussing about recipes and what sort of potato or type of onions to buy for a certain soup. This is when I learned about the various types of onions, the sweet ones from the red, or white, and accordingly I am now choosing the ones for salads.
So to me going to the market on Saturdays is more of a discovery rather than an obligation, the value of learning is priceless. Besides today’s food industry present to consumers all these pre-packed ingredients where people cannot chose their own, at the market I can make my own choices, decide which Italian tomato to pick… what to say also about the butcher’s, the fish or the amazing variety f cheese, a pure enjoyment for the eyes and the taste.
I like to have my purchase list, however when I get there my mindset is totally different, I can visualize the meal, and relate all the ingredients I will need to buy to have that meal, in educational skills we call it the mind-mapping (I know the comparison is somehow odd, yet it lets me discover what we often miss in a closed office, thinking about theories or what senior experts teach us…)
Learning from a continuous immersion is, to me, the ideal classroom where I learn and where the teacher are the people I see around me. We often tend to relay on figures and stats, well on data, but rarely do we kick ourselves from our desks to go on the field and make our own observations, the real stuff as I call it. If I was an educator I would take my class on a regular way to the best classroom that ever exists: into the real world, letting my students discover, observe, ask questions, and draw their own deductions so when back to the class, the images of colours and sounds and flavours will remind them, they had an amazing enjoyable learning moment!
Teaching to learn is what people, students, learners expect from their teachers, not memorizing data to pass a test and get a piece of recognition!
Shall we meet next Saturday at the market?
Michel – October 20, 2014