Many years ago I asked a friend for a recipe for an appetizer that she had brought to a party. I was shocked when she said, “Oh I think I’m going to hang on to that one for a while”. I am always flattered when someone asks me for a recipe, and I enjoy sharing it. It is difficult for me to understand why anyone would not share a recipe. In fact, I have shared one recipe that has become rather famous in my hometown–although not many people know that. I have a recipe for a garlic cheese dip that is to die for! It’s not my recipe of course. I got it from a Canadian cookbook, Just the Best, which features favorite recipes from food writers across Canada . My good friend Betty at Design House did the cover design for the book and that was my reason for purchasing the book. Now, years later, it is still my trusted recipe book for entertaining. The garlic cheese dip is particularly popular. I shared that recipe with a friend who owns a deli, bistro and catering business. She worked her own magic on the recipe of course, and it is now a hot item in their deli showcase.
So I have my own private little triumph…I shared a recipe that is enjoyed by thousands!
I bring this attitude to sharing educational resources and strategies as well. I love learning new teaching techniques and I get a great deal of satisfaction from teaching teachers new techniques. I have often worked with teams of educators to develop strategies and am always amazed at the results of these collaborative efforts. Occasionally, I come across a situation where people are unwilling to share. Again, I am shocked. Why would you keep a good recipe a secret? If you share it, don’t you know that others will enjoy it, and may even improve it?
Teaching (like cooking) is very complex. Children of the 21st century require a different skill set than those in the 1980s or 1990s and it is difficult to keep up with all of the changes required in teaching. We need to be collaborative and support one another. It’s how learning happens after all. Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist, emphasized the importance of learning through interactions with others. His socio-cultural view of learning is often referenced in the context of 21st century educational approaches such as learning communities, collaborative learning, coaching, cooperative learning, problem based learning, student-centred learning, etc… (You may want to look at Mind in Society: The development of higher psychological processes (Vygotsky, 1978), or google ‘Vygotsky’ to explore some contemporary applications to his work).
So to those of you who are “hanging on” to your secret recipes, PLEASE SHARE. I promise you that you will reap the benefits of new learning for yourself, and experience the joy of being able to contribute to learning overall.
And, if you are interested in the garlic cheese dip recipe, just email me.