Industrial Arts Isn't Just for Kids who Aren't Going to College

My steam is running lower, as shop set up seems to be a never ending drain of energy. I recently went on a "project diet." For me, that's more challenging than an actual diet. 


I'd like to write about the number one response I receive when folks find out I teach Industrial Arts: 


"You teach Industrial Arts, that's great for the those kids who just aren't going to college."


Yes, true. Except, why does that seem to imply that my class isn't for those who are going to college? So, I respond, "Yes, it. And it's great for the ones who are going to college, as well."


Here's why:


1.) The image of an engineering professor I know pouring out a box of bolts in front of his engineering students to make the point, "Learn how to identify hardware! Any good Menard's or Lowe's customer can do so, but you can't?"

2.) A friend's story about how, on a college field trip, there was a flat tire, and while the professor was stomping his feet and resting his arms on his head, my friend was busy finding the jack and tire wrench.


3.) Another friend's account of having to explain PSI to an engineering intern. (This intern was a student already enrolled in a college engineering program.)


4.) The straight-A student who is questioning why her tires need to be "rotated" because they already "rotate" going down the road.


The number of people who ask me questions, thirsty for knowledge on home improvements, automotive repair, and DIY projects tells me something was missing in their schooling. 


 This is all "anecdotal" evidence, yet the frequency of these instances tells me the issue is genuine. I'm not saying we should all  be able to fix vehicles, identify every type of hardware, or even paint a wall halfway decent. But I am saying we should all, even, and in many of today's fields, especially, college bound students, have a basic understanding of these concepts.


Just like we all were told to have a basic understanding of the quadratic equation, Romanticism vs. Realism, and cellular structure, why not the basics of, and more of, Industrial Arts for all students?

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Comments: 2
  • #1

    Hans (Saturday, 08 April 2017 11:20)

    Great article Matt. As an art student alum, I value knowledge of physical realities daily. The material world is not going away, no matter how deep one's nose may be in theory. And what is theory without physical practice? Keep up the good work Matt and make those kids proficient problem solvers.

  • #2

    Matthew (Saturday, 08 April 2017 17:36)

    Thanks, Hans, and will do. I appreciate your insight, especially with your background, and agree wholeheartedly.