Well I am a week behind with my class assignment and blog writing. They have kept us busy with field trips and out of class activities. Learn by Doing was the theme selected for last week, and Better Late Than Never for this week. I guess you could say I am living right on the edge of both topics.
Cal Poly has built the educational experience on the foundation of Learn by Doing. As a product of that environment, I must say I embrace this philosophy in my classroom. Luckily, the classes I teach lend themselves to this mode of instruction and make creating an interactive lesson plan seem natural. My time in a University of Adelaide classroom as been no exception.
The majority of our class work has focused around the Australian wine industry. We have been blessed to have two amazing guest speakers from the University of South Australia. The current and relevant consumer and wine marketing research they have shared is overwhelming and inspiring. But that is just the nature of the wine industry in Australia. Their ability to collaborate instead of compete is evident in so many ways.
One noticeable object we encountered was that our students lacked a basic knowledge of wine. Don’t misunderstand we do have wine and viticulture majors and others who have worked in the industry back in the states, but they are the exception not the rule. During my investigation for class material I stumbled upon the National Wine Center of Australia. They graciously developed two classes for the students; one for our novice pupils and one for the students with a more sophisticated palate. These classes were Learn by Doing to the tenth power.
The majority of the students took a class called Wine Essentials. They experienced different types of tastes, as well as, wine faults. Then they learned the characteristics of wines that are traditionally produced in South Australia. The second class, Brilliant Wines of South Australia, featured fourteen of the most well known wines in the market place. The students were not only learning through doing, but they learned through seeing, smelling and tasting.
A couple of days later we had our last wine tour filed trip, a visit to the Adelaide Hills. There was a noticeable change in the students approach to the tastings. Their discussions were about the wine as an experience. “This smells like tropical fruit”, or “Does this wine have lots of tannins?”, it was such a treat to watch them evolve and grow from our first wine outing.
Gaining even a basic understanding of wine is lesson best learned by doing. And becoming a certified sommelier is not as easy as simple as do re mi. The greatest lesson to be gained is, drink the wine that tastes good to you…. and that is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
And by the way, we also learned a new definition for ABC, anything but Chardonnay.
Here is another post I did about Learn by Doing https://alittlebitaboutalotofthings.com/2012/02/ It is a nice shout out to Western Bonanza which is happening this weekend.