Course Title: Students

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It seems that lexicon in the education industry is similar to the latest trends in the fashion industry. The difference is that even in fashion, we can recognize styles as timeless and use former styles for inspiration. In education, well....that's another type of post.

 

These thoughts were prompted by a comment on one of my instagram followers from Canada who also teaches 'shop' classes:

 

 

A list of terms that may be used to describe my course:

Industrial Arts

Industrial Technology

STEM

STEAM

Career and Technologies Studies

Trades and Manufacturing

Vocational Education

Career and Technology Education

 

While I mock the education industry for feeling the need to create new terminology every other semester I do feel that 'shop' class is an out of date term. The main reason I feel this way is because the term 'shop' class seems to conjure up the image of the 'shop' classes of former generations. Today's shop floor is much different than yesterday's, and while I don't take offense, I rephrase with the interest of creating a new and separate image than what many of our fathers and none of our mothers (see my point, here?) experienced.

 

I favor the term Industrial Arts.

 

Why?

 

I'll start with another criticism. The word technology is always assumed to mean the latest and greatest. The fact of the matter is a wheel is technology. Because many people immediately associate the word technology with latest and greatest, I tend to distance myself from that term as a description of my course.

 

I prefer Industrial Art because it does not pigeon hole me into particular objectives. It paints just enough of a target. Under this title, I feel better equipped too train the individual.

 

I don't intend to create a bunch of welders, builders, or mechanics. No, I intend to develop and grow a bunch of Alicias, Jacobs, and Sams.

 

And if Alicia will grow from turning lampposts on a lathe than it's my job to facilitate that.

 

And if Jacob will grow by pursuing an AWS welding certificate, than it's my job to facilitate that.

 

And if Sam will grow by repairing vintage shop equipment, than it's my job to facilitate that.

 

Heck, if Jimmy will grow by tracking inventory and balancing spreadsheets, than it's my job to facilitate that as well. 

 

I don't care if I'm preparing a student for a career or an art, or a career in art. These kids are walking into a rapidly changing future, that any other future offered, to any other generation, fails to compare. 

 

The career may not be there. Heck, the art may not be there. But the individual will always be there.

 

So, fine, forget the term Industrial Arts even. I'll take a page from a veteran teacher's book and simply say: "What do I teach, you ask...?"

 

"Students."

 

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