Train the Trainer: Taxonomy of a Wine Class
February 26, 2012 3 Comments
In a previous blog post we learned all about Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Objectives, and how using this concept in the design and implementation of your classes (even your wine classes) can lead to improved student learning (and engagement and retention.)
If you didn’t catch the first post in this series, you can read it here:
As promised, here are some sample learning objectives for a class on food and wine pairing, for each each level of the hierarchy. And, since faculty often feel that they cannot develop effective test questions above the level of “knowledge” or “memory”, especially MCQ (multiple choice questions), I offer sample MCQ’s at each level.
Learning Objective: List the three most important concepts to consider when pairing food and wine.
At this level, one simply requires the recall of information. Warning! A test at this level can be passed by a night of drunken “cramming” before a test, and the information forgotten by the next night of drinking!!
Please do not: Use this level for more than 50% of your test questions.
Sample MCQ: Which of the following represent the three most important concepts to consider when pairing food and wine?
- A . Fruit, Flavor, and Tannin
- B. Taste, Flavor, Texture
- C. Fruit, Flavor, and Texture
- D. Taste, Flavor, and Tannin
Level 2: Comprehension – Understanding
Learning Objective: Identify what components of the food and wine equation are almost always the most important consideration in a food and wine pairing and explain why.
At this level, knowledge of the three components is assumed and one tests for understanding of this knowledge.
Sample MCQ: What components in a food are almost always the most important consideration in a food and wine pairing?
- A. Taste components, because specific tastes in foods will change the way wine is perceived in a predictable manner.
- B. Taste components, because they can be either matched or contrasted.
- C. Flavors, because tastes can only be matched while flavors can be matched or contrasted.
- D. Flavors, because “natural affinities” are among the best food and wine pairings.
Level 3: Application – Applying
Learning Objective: Determine what is the most important element to consider when pairing wine with a specific dish, demonstrated by the following dish: Grilled Halibut with Lemon-Caper sauce served on a bed of Asparagus Risotto.
Note that at this level, knowledge of the background to the question is assumed to be both known and understood, and students are expected to apply this knowledge and understanding. In this case, we are looking for the student to apply a known set of food and wine pairing principles.
Sample MCQ: When choosing a wine pairing for Grilled Halibut with Lemon-Caper sauce, what is the most important element to consider?
- A. The lemon flavor of the sauce.
- B. The flavor intensity of the grill marks.
- C. The saltiness of the fish.
- D. The acidity of the lemon sauce.
Level 4: Analysis –Analyzing
Learning Objective: Break down the various components of a dish or menu and determine what components are dominant and the effect each would have on a wine pairing. For instance, what impact would the acidity in a dish have on a white wine?
Note that the student is assumed to know and understand the information and to apply the information. This objective stresses the ability to break down the food and wine in question into their component parts and assume an outcome. Note that this question does not require the student to create a pairing (level five) or evaluate whether or not this is a good pairing (level six).
Sample MCQ: What effect would the Grilled Halibut with Lemon-Caper sauce produce when paired with Sauvignon Blanc?
- A. It would make the acidity in the wine more pronounced.
- B. It would make the acidity in the wine less pronounced.
- C. It would bring out the bitterness in the wine.
- D. It would make the fruity flavors of the wine pop.
Level 5: Synthesis (Creation) – Creating
Learning Objective: Design a wine pairing of three different wines to complement the grilled halibut dish.
At this level, the student needs to have the knowledge and the comprehension of the principles of food and wine pairing, be able to apply it to a real-world example, and be able to analyze the components of both the food and the wines before he or she can create the pairing.
Sample MCQ: Which of the following wine flights would make the best pairing for Grilled Halibut with Lemon-Caper Sauce, based on the proper taste components and a potential flavor bridge?
- A. Oaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer
- B. Unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer
- C. Unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier
- D. Unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling
Level 6: Evaluation – Evaluating
Learning Objective: Evaluate specific wine choices for a specific dish, and give your opinion on the quality of the pairings. For instance, evaluate whether an oaked chardonnay a good choice for the grilled halibut dish in the previous question, and discuss why or why not.
At this level, the student is expected to know, comprehend, apply and analyze the principles of food and wine pairing, and, describe the outcome of the pairing, and form an opinion on whether or not this is a good match.
Sample MCQ: Is oaked chardonnay a good choice for Grilled Halibut with Lemon-Caper Sauce? Why or why not?
- A. Yes, because the acidity is a good match and the saltiness of the capers will work well with the oak.
- B. No, because while the acidity is a good match, the saltiness of the capers will potentially clash with the oak.
- C. Yes, because the flavors of the lemon in the sauce will work well with the lemony flavors of the wine.
- D. No, because the flavors of lemon in the sauce will clash with the tropical flavors of the wine.
I hope this post gives you some guidance and encouragement to teach to all levels of the learning taxonomy. I also hope it shows teachers that effective exam questions, even Multiple Choice Questions, can be written at all levels of the learning taxonomy and that we stop giving exams that are basically “wine trivia contests”.
I realize that this method of teaching and writing tests is not simple, but it does get easier with practice. However, keep in mind that teaching and testing to the higher levels of the learning hierarchy will enhance the quality of your teaching and the validity of your exams – guaranteed!