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Seriously, Try the Soup

TOPICS | Education Posted Friday, September 20, 2013 (1,030 views)

Andrew Carle, a blogger from Tie and Jeans - Nerdiest Teacher or Teachiest Nerd makes a great comparison between learning and soup in this wonderful piece.  His contention is that what has become the traditional way of learning is comparable to thinking of soup as only Campell's Chicken Noodle.  Just like those who believe they love soup because they enjoy Cambell's Chicken Noodle, those students who believe they love learning because they have mastered the finer points of knowledge regurgitation. When in reality loving soup means loving and respecting the melding of flavors and experimentation of the cook or chef.  Making soup in general, is a great analogy for learning. There are many ways to get to the final product, but experimentatlon and the journey may be the best part. This is the goal and skills the Maker culture strive to teach.  So seriously "Try the Soup"!


There’s an traditional cycle for how students expect to learn things in school. First, teachers announce what everyone is going to learn. Then those same teachers present a basic framework for how this new skill or thing emerges from what we’ve all learned in the past. For some number of days or weeks after that, teachers provide instruction and examples that demonstrate exactly how everyone needs to demonstrate this new skill/knowledge. Ultimately there’s a project, a quiz or a test where everyone has to prove that they followed all the steps and know the same amount about phytoplankton or the Sedition Act.

Makers don't work/learn like that.

When you walked in today, you got your first glimpse at two strange patterns from a large and fascinating set of patterns. Everyone jostled for markers and started to fill in squares, while proclamations of “I’m so confused” and “I don’t get this at all” drowned out any discussion of the patterns and rules at hand.

In the learning cycle you’re used to, those words are powerful. Those are the words you use to send a lesson back to the teacher for adjustment: for more explanation, for more examples, for clarity about what’s going to be on the test.

The cycle we’re all used to treats confusion as an aberration, a bowl soup that arrives too spicy or too cold. Not only does the soup need to be replaced, but the experience makes the whole kitchen seem less trustworthy.

Makers don't work like that. Here, confusion and frustration are cultivated as an essential part of learning anything genuinely new. Here we serve stuffed bowls of Bún bò Hu? or silken gazpacho. If you’ve been trained to expect Cambell’s Chicken Noodle, you might feel out of place. You can take your time trying out these new flavors, but have some faith in the kitchen.

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