Confirmation Bias, There is a Cure!

In the late 90’s I was working just outside New York. The chef I was working for at the time said to me “Francois, I’d hire an untrained Mexican, who can’t speak english and train them, over the top students of any culinary college, who knows everything any time.”

    Why? Confirmation bias. People with closed minds or the unwillingness to look at or take another’s perspective can be hard to work with or teach. Knowing this and experiencing it as a teacher in the culinary arts, I feel it’s my responsibility not only to teach my students the skills and knowledge they’ll need out in the workforce, but also to teach them the skills and knowledge they will need so they can adapt, be flexible and continue their learning when they start working in restaurants, post culinary training. Doing this sets them up for success, turns them into sponges that have the ability to see things for what they are and not what they think they are or what they think they know they are.

    So what’s the cure? I like Dr. Louise Rasmussen, an applied cognitive psychologist’s ideas. In an article she wrote titled Confirmation Bias: 3 Effective (and 3 Ineffective) Cures, Dr Rasmussen explains that it’s human nature to want to believe and search out what best fits our needs, our world view. So how do we move forward?

“1. Stick to your guns. Don’t abandon your first guesses too readily. Sometimes your initial expectation may be neither 100% right, nor 100% wrong.” (Rasmussen, 2016)

“2: Open your mind. Learn how to think of a few far-out alternatives and keep an eye out for evidence that supports any one of them.” (Rasmussen, 2016)

“3: Embrace surprises when they happen to you. When you feel that something didn’t go exactly as you expected, consider that you need to refine some hypotheses about how things are working. (Rasmussen, 2016)

Very well said Dr., statements I’ll be placing on the wall in my classroom. And making it a point to reference her three strategies whenever appropriate.

 

Reference

Rasmussen, Louise, Dr. “Confirmation Bias: 3 Effective (and 3 Ineffective) Cures.” Web log post.

    Global Cognition. 15 Nov. 2015. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

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About Francois

My name is Francois de Jong. I am a Red Seal Chef, Holistic Nutritional Counselor, Mentor and Community Foods Teacher. I am married to an amazing woman and we have a daughter that inspires us to live in the moment and celebrate life. When I’m not at work you might find me in our garden growing veggy’s and creating art, foraging behind Mt Benson, hunting, camping, going to farm markets, spending time with family and friends. My happy reality is that my work with food and nutrition integrates holistically our everyday life. From my early days as a cook learning and mastering all the different stations from Saucier, Pastry Cook, Entremetier, Garde Manger to Banquets. To Chef running restaurants kitchens around the world, training new cooks, developing new communication skills and ways to inspire young people to be better cooks. To working at a not for profit where I started teaching adult and youth cooking classes. My years of experience working in a variety of kitchens coupled with a nutritional background has helped me inspire cooks and students to learn about food, nutrition, health and community while also learning essential skills in the Culinary Arts.
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