12/03/2011 34 Comments
George Rebane has a post on a Vocational High School at Ruminations. I tried to post this comment on RR and it kept getting lost in the Typepad jungle, so I though I would try it in WordPress and see what happend.
I am with George. The skills that I learned in shop class have followed me through out my career. I still have the first wood bowl I made in wood shop. I do not have any of my metal shop products, but when Ellen wanted a large wheel clothesline like one my mother had which was crafted from the front forks of a bicycle, I was able to weld one up for her. Our first camper was a home built in a naked Dodge van, using the wood working skills I learned in shop class. When it came time to develop some house plans for our current house, I relied on the drafting skills I learned in high school shop, and improved my first year of college engineering. It was my most successful class. Our contractor was totally blown away by my handcrafted house plans, all approved by the County. I will have to admit that some of my handyman skill were also learned in 4H, especially the electrical skills.
Right now there is a huge need for graduates that can operate numeric controlled machines and machinist that can produce high tolerance products. I wonder if one of our local manufacturing companies have enough slack that they could provide some hands on experience for VoTech Students.
Charles Litton Sr attended Lick-Willmerding technical high school in San Francisco.
The Technical Arts program is a place where the head, heart, and hands converge, providing opportunities to tackle real world design challenges. Remaining faithful to its century-old history as an innovative institution in the technical arts, Lick offers a unique collection of shop classes. This is an important part of the school’s mission of developing in young people those “qualities of the head, heart, and hands” which will serve them well in college and in life. Lick students learn to work conceptually and physically, moving from theory to practice in order to bring the designs of the mind into the physical world. Technical Arts Department objectives include cross-disciplinary and collaborative learning, skills for engineering, effective problem solving, creative expression, competency in the language of craft and design, and personal empowerment through self-confidence and self-esteem. All advanced courses (e.g., Fabrications 2, Glass 2) can be taken multiple times for credit with the permission of the instructor and when space in the course is available. To enroll in an advanced course, you must have successfully completed the first level course. The school requires all students to take a minimum of four semesters in the Technical Arts. Besides taking Design and Technology (DT1) in the ninth grade, students must choose two other semester-long classes that meet in the shops: Electronics, Fabrications, Glass, Jewelry/Metal Art, or Woodworking.
Litton had this to say about his experiences in a letter to the Head Master in 1954.
[When] “I look back, it is easy to see that the head/hand program a Lick-Willmerding, contributed a great deal more to my life’s work than did the subsequent university education.” Litton graduated from Stanford as an engineer.