Capturing the Secret Sauce: Unveiling the MLC Teaching Recipe

School News

In honor of the 45th anniversary of the Michigan Language Center, we are excited to introduce the MLC Teaching Recipe and reflect on what makes MLC teachers truly exceptional. We consider the Recipe to be the guiding framework that captures how our teachers provide enjoyable teaching-learning experiences in the classroom. Just like skilled culinary artists, our teachers approach their classrooms as a family gathering around a dining table and are committed to creating an environment where our students leave the “instructional table” well-satisfied.

What is the MLC Teaching Recipe?
As stated in the introduction to the Recipe:

At MLC, we know we have something special… We also know that the heart of this MLC community is our instructors. It’s the creativity, compassion, and competence they show up with every day that gives our school its “secret sauce.”

That’s why we’ve come up with this recipe, as a way to capture that secret sauce and guarantee it will always be a part of the MLC experience. Like a good kitchen recipe, these ideas provide a tried-and-true structure to follow while still leaving room for our skilled instructors to adapt and adjust as needed.

The 10-page document goes on to describe “what our instructors already do and a vision of what we want to continue doing in the future.” It emphasizes the importance of clear plans aligned with the MLC’s core curriculum, learner-centered approaches that foster active learning, and meaningful student interaction that nurtures confidence in putting what they are learning into practice. Infused with the core values of MLC – Be a Family, Collaborate with Others, Put Students First, Set High Expectations, and Experiment Often – the Recipe serves as a testament to our teachers’ day-to-day practices and future aspirations, and ensures that our teachers have the basic ingredients needed to make MLC’s “show-stopping dishes.”

What’s next for the Recipe?
Throughout the year, the MLC teaching staff has engaged in group discussions, collectively  reading and reflecting on the Recipe. Guided by two primary questions — What resonates with you? and How can MLC better support you in carrying this out? —  we can appreciate where we already see the Recipe’s principles being lived out in our classrooms while brainstorming ways to support our teachers in embracing these principles even more.

Going forward, we plan to use the Recipe as part of the onboarding process for new instructors, to help introduce them to the “MLC Way” of teaching, caring for our students, and working as a team. As MLC continues to grow, our hope is that the Recipe will remain a consistent guide so that the values MLC was built on 45 years ago and that are at the core of our success today will continue to provide our “secret sauce” for decades to come.