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Want To Learn A New Language Quickly – Get Cooking

The 3 Reasons Cooking Is The Perfect Way To Practice A New Language

In school you were likely taught your subjects in little silos of isolation. The lessons sat side-by-side on your timetable, carefully separated by thick black lines, and an occasional break time.

So it might surprise you to discover that the most powerful learning happens when you mix things up.

Specifically, when learning a language is combined with cooking a meal, something special happens to fast-track your language skills. Here’s how.

#1 LEARNING IS EASIER WHEN IT USES ALL THE SENSES

Multi-sensory learning has been promoted as a powerful way to teach children for almost 100 years now - so it’s about time the adults got in on the action. And the kitchen is just the place to do it.

Typically, when you learn a new word, like fouet (whisk) from a book - you’re giving your brain limited information to cling onto. You’re associating the sight of the French word in black and white print, and possibly the sound of it being pronounced, with your memory of what a whisk looks like.

But when you learn the same word in a kitchen environment your brain makes many multi-sensory connections to the visual appearance of the word and the auditory sound of the word, including:

  • What a whisk actually looks like
  • What it feels like in your hand
  • What the motion of whisking feels like
  • What the act of whisking an ingredient sounds like
  • What the whisked ingredients smell and taste like

The next time you see the word ‘fouet’, your brain will have multiple memories to bring up, helping you quickly identify the English equivalent for the word.

#2 LEARNING IS EASIER WHEN IT IS FUN

Scientists have discovered that we are primed for learning when we are in a state of ‘Relaxed Alertness’. This happens when the learner feels relaxed and is also excited or emotionally engaged at the same time. When the learner is in this state they are more able to master new skills and engage in high-order thinking.

How does that work for learning French through cookery?

A kitchen is a familiar environment in which many people already feel confident and competent, and having a dish to prepare gives purpose to the exercise, creating excitement and emotional engagement. This creates the ideal conditions to learn something new.

#3 LEARNING IS EASIER WHEN IT IS CONNECTED TO REAL LIFE

Authentic Learning occurs when education is closely linked to real-life situations. When knowledge or skills are communicated through Authentic Learning situations, they are more completely integrated by the learner, meaning they are easier to recall, and less easily forgotten over time.

In cookery classes our learners enjoy a more complete learning experience as they are required to:

  • Draw on your existing skills and experience (of French and cooking)
  • Follow multiple-steps that lead to the end goal
  • Collaborate with the instructor and fellow classmates

HOW TO START LEARNING LANGUAGE IN THE KITCHEN

So studying something new doesn’t have to be about sitting down surrounded by books, working hard. If you want to learn a new language - get cooking.

You can get started in your own home. For example, if you’re learning French, add French labels to your kitchen utensils, look to see if you recognize any of the ingredients listed on French products, and try using a French recipe book to cook a dish you are already familiar with.

In our Cook & French sessions we combine French language skills, with a typical Belgian dish, so you’ll be learning about the local culture, while cooking a new dish, in the company of local people/new friends.

Find out more about our upcoming sessions here: 

References:
Reference for multi-sensory learning: https://learning.gov.wales/docs/learningwales/publications/140801-multi-sensory-learning-en.pdf
Reference for authentic learning: http://www.acel.org.au/acel/ACEL_docs/Publications/e-Teaching/2016/e-Teaching_2016_10.pdf
https://library.educause.edu/resources/2007/1/authentic-learning-for-the-21st-century-an-overview - Authentic Learning for the 21st Century: An Overview - Marilyn Lombardi 2007
Relaxed Alertness: https://tomprof.stanford.edu/posting/1508

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