Catering for the curriculum

Issue: Volume 97, Number 7

Posted: 26 April 2018
Reference #: 1H9iX1

An opportunity to cater for hundreds provides St Catherine’s College students with food for thought.

Feeding people en masse is no easy feat, as students from St Catherine’s College in Kilbirnie, Wellington, are currently learning.

The school is hosting the O’Shea Shield competition next month, a debating, drama and scripture reading competition between 17 Catholic character schools nationwide. As part of its responsibility as competition host,
St Catherine’s is required to provide catering for the people involved, numbering about 600.

Head of Department for Technology at St Catherine’s College Nan Walden wanted to use this opportunity to create a fundamental project-based learning experience for her students.

“It’s a really good opportunity for them to put all of the learning from the cooking and the planning and the preparation, and understand it in a real context, in a real situation. They are so engaged, they are so keen. It’s quite exciting.”

A team of about 40 students, including Year 11 creative technology and Years 12 and 13 food technology students, are working with Nan and five other staff members over a 15-week period to achieve the project. The senior classes are also attended by students from St Patrick’s College.

“My Year 11s are part of the salad team and they’ll apply what they’re learning here to their achievement standard in planning. My Year 12s and 13s in the food tech course are also involved – the Year 13s are part of the lasagna and pizza team and the Year 12s are part of the brownies, cheeseboards and baking team, so it’s a pretty huge task.”

The school is trialling their creative technology course this year with Year 10 and 11 students; the latter can work towards gaining NCEA Level 1 by participating in this course, including from the catering project.

“This particular project is a lot to do with planning, so it would be the ‘Planning for Practice’ achievement objective from the curriculum, and being able to understand how to budget for a recipe, shop for it, prep the meal, cook the meal, serve the meal and then clean up. It’s not just about the food, it’s about the whole experience.”

Nan hopes to extend the creative technology course to other year levels next year, so more students will have the opportunity to work collaboratively in project-based learning that develops real-life work skills and competencies as well as contributing towards their NCEA qualification.

What teachers are saying…

As part of their project development process, students provided lunch for the staff for evaluation and feedback prior to the main event. Here’s what teachers from St Catherine’s have to say:

“Sumptuous meal prepared and served by passionate, young aspiring chefs and maître d’; beats my usual sandwich any day!” – Steven Bryan, Principal, St Catherine’s College

“It has been a great process for the students to follow, learning how to make the dishes, creating them in a pressure situation, testing them, collecting feedback and then making changes based on this feedback.  I am a big fan of allowing students to learn in this project-based/real-life environment and it has been rewarding to see the students step up to the challenge” – Laura Heil, Head of Physical Education and catering team staff member

“The O’Shea catering team have been on an exponential learning curve. In one term, they have learnt about catering for large - scale events and the amount of work it takes to cater for a big group of people. The students have taken on board feedback and responded willingly to advice. The students have learnt to make and cook 12 lasagnes in an hour and a half!” – Kate Lucas, Year 9 and 10 Dean, food technology teacher and catering team staff member

What students are saying…

 “I didn’t like participating in this project, I LOVED being part of this project! I enjoyed cooking the Caesar salad and learning that ‘mistakes happen’. This has also helped my learning so much by teaching me the skills that I can take with me for the rest of my life when it comes to cooking.” – Elizabeth Lafaele, Year 11 creative technology, O’Shea catering team

“The catering of O’Shea has been one of the highlights of my time in St Catherine’s College. It has made me discover my skills, passion and talents and my love for food. I have gained so many skills and I have learnt more than ever in this short amount of time. Definitely would love to pursue this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We learnt a lesson every time we made the ceviche, it just got better and better.” – Sara Alzaanin, Year 11 creative technology, O’Shea catering team

“I think the project helped me in improving how to work with a team and I’m enjoying the challenge, the high stakes have made me work harder.” – Andrew Chan (St Patrick’s College), Year 13 food technology, O’Shea catering team.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 12:30 pm, 26 April 2018

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