I recently read an article describing a shift in restaurant reservation policy. There’s a trend toward asking for a credit card when taking a reservation in urban, upscale establishments. (In case you’re interested, here’s the story: http://nyti.ms/1GfiF0J.)
I haven’t experienced this. As I’m on the phone, or making the arrangements online I envision a romantic evening with my husband, or a gathering with special friends or family, sharing a high quality meal, really good wine, flowers, candlelight, quiet music, and ambience to match the cuisine. Restaurants that require a reservation are signaling that dining there will be a wonderful experience, one that requires planning ahead, and is worth waiting for. The act of reserving a table should generate anticipation for a memorable event.
The author, a restaurant critic, described his response to the credit card policy this way: “Whenever I give up my credit card number and am told I’ll be charged for bad behavior, I hear several messages, none of them warm and fuzzy. It says that I’m not trustworthy. It says that the restaurant sees me as a revenue source before it has had a chance to treat me like a guest. It says that a reservation isn’t an appointment with pleasure; it’s an obligation to be kept.”
I’m thinking students experience feelings similar to the critic’s when they read a syllabus that focuses on policies instead of learning. Or when the first class period is devoted to reviewing a syllabus filled with rules and “thou shalts” instead of whetting their appetite for the subject. And when teachers don’t strive to get to know them.
How can we set the table?
The article was a gentle reminder of the importance of first impressions and the subtle ways negative, implicit messages can quickly mar the learning environment.
What strategies do you use to set the table for learning?
Photo credit: http://corbettrestaurantgroup.com