When it comes to cooking, what a difference a day makes

27th July 2007 at 01:00
biggar high's work on "rich tasks" a concept of cross-curricular work pioneered in Queensland, Australia has already won it renown. And the school's award for most enterprising secondary springs out of its cross-curricular focus in recent years.

The enterprise programme is targeted at S1-2 pupils, giving them four days each, explains Elizabeth Clingan, a modern languages teacher and the school's enterprise co-ordinator.

It originally started as a standalone day to offer pace and challenge for S1 classes, so pupils are taken off timetable. The idea is for them to do something different. It also ticks all the boxes in A Curriculum for Excellence pace, challenge, fun, relevance.

The Food and Drink Challenge was started a few years ago by the home economics department. Teachers set a class the task of developing a recipe and cooking it for a prize. Now the whole of S2 does it but the challenge has grown. Music teachers work with the pupils to produce a jingle to promote their recipe, while technical teachers study packaging and labelling with them. The business department works on the marketing and promotional side to help them produce a recipe that other people can use.

A local butcher, Blackmount Organics, supplies the raw meat and set criteria for the young cooks before acting as the final judges.

For the international trade challenge, for instance, pupils have to produce and present a Scottish product to an overseas market. There are four categories food and drink, textiles and clothing, accommodation and tourism, and activities for visitors. Ms Clingan, as a languages teacher, gets them to write promotional material in French and German.

"It makes them realise that, while they may not be doing this for real now, someone, somewhere, is. In modern languages, the impact was huge because they realised there was a purpose to these languages."

For some, it was the first time they had seen promotional material about their own country in a language other than English.

The "Commonhealth Games", led by the PE department, involves fitness tests. The home economics department also gets involved with work on fitness and diet, while geography teachers focus on the importance of water around the world. The art department design eco-friendly carrier bags with the pupils. Virtually every department is involved in an enterprise challenge, which is also interwoven with co-operative teaching techniques a methodology which has been embraced by Biggar High.

"It gives the pupils an interim goal," Ms Clingan comments. "Sometimes S1-2 seems very long-term for them before Standard grade. It increases the motivation level. Behaviour on these days is never really an issue."

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