Lesson: Restaurant Review 2: How NOT to write a restaurant review
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Sometimes the best way to explain to someone how to do something is to show them an example of how NOT to do it. That is the case with this lesson, which asks students to read and respond to a terrible restaurant review published in a Palo Alto, Calif., school newspaper in the 1980s.
To suggest how to write a restaurant review by using a negative example, one that students are likely to find humorous, horrific — and instructive.
- Appendix A: How NOT to write a restaurant review
- Ask students to read “Appendix A: How NOT to write a restaurant review” aloud in class, noting as they do the many ways the writers were offensive, inappropriate and unprofessional in producing the review.
- Discuss: “What offensive, inappropriate and unprofessional things did you find in this review? Which was the worst? Why? Which was the most likely to cause a lawsuit? Why? (The answer probably is the implication that there are more than 15 health code violations on display in the restaurant.)
- Explain to the class that the publication of the review led to the dismissal of the newspaper staff for a year and the removal of the adviser.
- Discuss: “What lessons can we take from reading this review about how not to conduct a restaurant review? And the inverse: How should you write a review?”
- Discuss: “Should restaurant reviews always be positive?” (That would be the wrong lesson to take from this example. Reviews should be critical — and sometimes that means noting negative things about a restaurant. But we should also give restaurateurs, who are often small, local business people with no other source of income, the benefit of the doubt. Before a professional reviewer slams a restaurant, he/she will go back multiple times to make certain that a bad experience was not just a one-time episode. Everybody can have a bad night once in a while.)
- Do students seem to have a good sense of how NOT to write a restaurant review?
- Do they seem engaged by the idea of doing a good job?
- Does it seem like writing a review is within reach?
Connections to Standards:
- Our experience with this review is that students find it very accessible and quickly absorb its lessons.
Time needed to teach:
Evaluating credibility, bias
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