Explore - Experience - Excel

From Plate to Table, Show your Finesse – Dr. Sushyni Kothuri

16 Feb 2024

Once upon a time in a bustling restaurant, a chef took pride in her artistry of food plating. Each dish was a canvas, and every ingredient held a purpose. One evening, a special anniversary couple entered the restaurant. Chef decided to create a culinary masterpiece. She carefully arranged vibrant vegetables, succulent meat, and delicate herbs on the plate, ensuring a symphony of colours and textures. As the couple received their plates, their eyes widened with delight. The carefully plated dish not only satisfied their taste buds but also sparked a conversation about the artistry behind the presentation. Chef’s dedication to food plating transformed a simple meal into a memorable experience, reminding everyone that a feast for the eyes is just as important as a feast for the palate.

The story mentioned above might have happened in your life too. In Instagram we watch so many videos where a food is not prepared well or served well. We feel very unhygienic and it creates a discomfort.  As a professor I encourage to think of the unhygienic atmosphere or discomfort that we create among the students while presenting ourselves. Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal’s (1993) research talks about how students observe teachers and judge them in approximately 6 seconds. What are they observing in those 6 seconds? Are they observing us? Well, we may have the yummiest food ready in our hands to be served, but if we are not serving them the right way, it impacts us adversely. In other words, learners often see the technique before they see the content. Teachers are generally divided into two categories;
1. Who think about content and 2. Who think about technique. The below visual representation will help us to analyse ourselves.

According to the research, university teachers care a lot about content. Perhaps this is because many perceive themselves as researchers, writers of books and articles. Isn’t it weird that some of our brightest minds in the world have taken hundreds of courses, but never taken any course on how to teach? They would fall into the C4 spectrum. C2 spectrum shows primary and middle schools teachers. We all are aware that before primary teachers are ever given a chance to teach students, they are often given many courses on how to teach, and make things both interesting and easily understood for students. They use colours, games, and stories. They use their hands and bodies.

They are taught techniques that break down information, and make it easy for a learner to understand. They use techniques, such as group work, flash cards, colour coded board work and etc. They love the techniques. However, the opposite problem can often happen here is, while techniques are usually studied and utilized, sometimes primary and middle school

teachers are not given the freedom to choose their own books and materials. And thus, they spend most of their time thinking about technique, and not about the content. The problematic balance is C3 spectrum where we meet the fun teacher. We all might have come across the fun teacher, who allows one game after another. We get to laugh a lot, he/she tells lots of funny stories, but how much have we learned? This is not meant as a criticism of teachers on either end of the spectrum. Certainly, there are university teachers that use fantastic technique, primary teachers who create amazing content, and fun teacher can also be an excellent educator. The point is, who we are? Do we belong to C1 spectrum?

Just as a well-plated dish balances different elements for visual appeal, effective teaching methods balance various instructional strategies to cater to different learning styles and needs of students. With a little know-how and a lot of experimenting, we should soon be presenting what our listeners need.

Secret Ingredient:

Researchers found that the level of non-verbal communication is as high as 80% of all communication. Albert Mehrabian is noted for finding a 7, 38, 55% rule, supposedly denoting how much communication is conferred by words, tone and body language. This is because most nonverbal communication comes from the arms and the face. Body language and movements can also be used to help students make connections with specific vocabulary. When I started travelling in KSRTC, it was difficult to understand what was the conductor saying. But he was patient enough to say the word and showed the action to make me understand. His gestures allowed me to learn, Nilsi, Munde hogi, Kelageili, Chalisi and etc. While body language is a simple technique to understand, it is also essential to realise that body language is a secret ingredient and necessary part of teaching.  


A garnishing is the final touch, where it tells our guests that we care. I say garnishing in teaching methods refers to the practice of adding embellishments or enhancements to traditional teaching approaches to make the learning experience more engaging, memorable or effective. Learning objectives will guide the planning process and keep us stay focused on what we want out students to achieve. We need to develop detailed lesson plans, outline the activities and assessments to meet the objectives, and collect all the resources ahead of time. We all came across great teachers who used whiteboard, PowerPoints, diagrams, idioms and metaphors. All of these done well can help foster learning. Just as chefs use creativity to innovate and create unique dishes, educators can employ creative teaching methods to make learning more engaging and memorable for students. This could involve incorporating multimedia, interactive activities, or real-world examples into lessons. Presentation matters in both cooking and teaching. Engaging delivery methods, such as storytelling, demonstrations, or multimedia presentations, can captivate students’ attention and facilitate better understanding and retention of the material. Like quality ingredients contribute to the flavour and appeal of a dish, using high-quality resources and materials in teaching, such as up-to-date textbooks, relevant multimedia content, and interactive learning tools, can enhance the educational experience for students.

In conclusion, to be in the spectrum of C1, the little efforts we put matter. The metaphor of well plated technique emphasizes the need to take good content and make it presentable using proper technique.  Just as a well-plated dish enhances the dining experience, effective teaching enriches the learning journey, carefully presenting information in an appealing and digestible manner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *