Mise en place, is a term used in professional kitchens that refers to having equipment and ingredients organised and arranged in their correct places in order to make the preparation of a dish efficient in a busy kitchen. The term means, “putting in place.”
This is something that teachers should take seriously too. I’m not talking about a tidy classroom, that is an entirely different matter. What I am talking about is setting up your classroom so that you can conduct an impromtu discussion, or use the visuliser at a moment’s notice, or carry out any one of a range of pedagogical techniques while the lesson flows seamlessly on.
Plans are essential for effective teaching but we all know that no plan survives first contact with a class. Plans should be flexible and reactive if the objectives of the lesson are to be delivered. A lesson based on the same plan could be delivered to two different classes and the lessons could take on quite different courses depending on how the learners react to the plan. A perceptive teacher should be able to react to the learners’ needs and use whatever pedagogical technique is appropriate – even if it was not on the original plan. Having the correct equipment to hand, in the right place will make this really easy to achieve.
If teachers follow this idea through they will find it very easy to move from one teaching technique to another, because they have all been thought through before hand and resourced appropriately, and the necesary resources will be available at any time. The down side is that a teacher will be very efficient in their own classroom but they could well be lost in another room because they will not know where things are – or even if the required resources are in the room at all – and will therefore not be able to move effortlessly through their pedagogical repertoire.
Professional cooks know that having things organised and in the right place before starting to cook is essential. Equally, teachers should do the same so that they have their whole pedagogical arsenal on standby at all times.