Saturday, October 18, 2014

The seven pillars of chocolate literacy: a new curriculum

To celebrate chocolate week I am posting this slightly whimsical play on the famous Seven Pillars of Information Literacy. I present the 7 Pillars of Chocolate Literacy: only chocaholics need read on.
I admit, I am a chocoloate addict. I don’t need vast quantities, but I feel edgy if I don’t know where my next chocolate is coming from. To avoid a chocolate meltdown it important to develop chocolate lifeskills and become an independent chocolate learner.

Identify. First you need to recognise the nature of your chocolate need. For example, what is the context in which you will be consuming the chocolate? is the need for an urgent chocolate fix, or are you planning for a long term chocolate future?

Scope. You need to identify the gap between the chocolate you have and the chocolate you need. For example, you might have a half eaten Toblerone and a handful of milk-chocolate covered peanuts, when you sudenly feel the urgent need for a nice chunk of 70% cocoa dark chocolate. What options for filling the gap are available to you? Are there any shops open? Do you have any chocoholic friends that might be prepared to help? Think out of the chocolate box, too: if you’d wanted milk chocolate, there would be the possibility of scraping the chocolate off the peanuts.

Plan. Having looked at the options for getting the chocolate, work out a strategy, tailoring it to the chocolate channel you are going to use. For example, with the chocoholic friend you either need to be really persuasive or to lure her away from her chocolate stash and then grab a couple of chunks. A chocolate-literate person is likely to have websites of all the online chocolate vendors bookmarked neatly in a folder, and be able to recognise the word “chocolate” in every major world language. Have a backup plan if your initial strategy fails: for example the first shop you go to may just have cheap and tasteless chocolate.

Gather. Go get the chocolate.

Evaluate. The usual criteria apply here. Currency: is the chocolate within its sell by-date and/or edible? This is most likely to be an issue with old, forgotten bits of chocolate you find at the bottom of your handbag or lingering at the back of a drawer. Coverage: does the chocolate meet all of your chocolate needs or will you need two contrasting types of chocolate? Authority: is the chocolate brand one you recognise and respect? Reliability: is all the chocolate of the brand likely to be good, or is it a bit hit and miss? Price: is the chocolate value-for-money, or is it simply Cheap? The chocolate-literate person will be able to recognise when two-for-one deals are worth grabbing and reject discounts on chocolate that is so dull you ought to be paid to eat it.

Manage. A very important part of chocolate literacy. You need to store your chocolate so that it is easily retrievable, and kept in optimal conditions. The chocolate literate person will scan the environment regularly to ensure that he or she is aware of the latest chocolate trends, and map paths to the nearest chocolate wherever he or she is. Ethical use of chocolate is obviously also vital e.g. responding to others’ emotional crises with offers of chocolate, knowing whether your chocolate was ethically sourced, and understanding when sharing your chocolate is socially unavoidable.
Use of chocolate comes under this pillar too: basically the use of chocolate is to eat it, so this is an aspect that most people find quite straightforward.

Communicate. Knowledge sharing is a key aspect of 21st century society. However, if you have some chocolate and you want to eat it all, telling other people about it is a really bad idea. So the chocolate-literate person will find the delicate balance between sharing (e.g. providing expert advice on the difference between Lindt Extra Creamy milk chocolate and the normal Lindt milk chocolate) and keeping quiet (e.g. about the fact that he/she has examples of both in his/her briefcase).

The next step is developing A New Curriculum for Chocolate Literacy, including indicators for chocolate literacy, and then embedding ANCFCL into as many courses of study as possible. A constructivist pedagogy for chocolate literacy will be appropriate, with a big emphasis on experiential learning. Learners will construct their own context-specific understanding of chocolate literacy, and then deconstruct it by eating the chocolate. I see loads of scope for public-private sector partnerships (i.e. companies give us their chocolate, we trouble the concept of chocolate literacy, and then write obscure research articles whilst eating the chocolate).
If any of you feel this has a future do comment below.
Photos by Sheila Webber: chocolate-related items from Dubrovnik: 1) Milka with biscuit; 2) 100% chocolate desert at the 360 degree restaurant (it was really chocolatey); 3) upmarket Croatian chocolate with praline filling


Albert K. Boekhorst said...

Not at all a 'slightly whimsical play'. I guess it might be a better way to get the attention of students and give insight. BRAVO!

Eva Hornung said...

Oh, Sheila, you are evil:) Have to have some chocolate NOW! I guess I score highly when it comes to "gathering", but the "evaluation" bit really doesn't bother me too much. Oh, I failed as a librarian...

Moira Bent said...

I love it! Definitely a more engaging way to describe The ideas😊😊

Unknown said...

Great!!! You are a genius...we have nearly died laughing!!!!