Reply by LesB

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Posted on Woodworkers Unite!

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1748 posts in 3468 days

#1 posted 12-22-2009 02:22 AM

We have a lot of international members of LJs and I’m sure they have their own national priorities in school that are different from ours. So this question could go many different ways if they responded.

For the USA Middle school might be a bit early for serious shop classes and even a “waste of money” but it might be good to follow some of European countries. About the second year of high school the students can direct their schooling towards a particular degree/certificate. (I may have the age/timing off some here) Either college prep or “industrial arts” type classes. This gives each group a direction and incentive. Those who are not academically oriented go into the IA classes and the others into university oriented classes. I think most of the IA training leads to an apprenticeship after high school. Bad part is once they decide on these educational tracks it can be hard to change.
If the US is to stay ahead of the rest of the world in technology and production (and I’m not sure we are ahead any more) we need to concentrate on more highly trained professionals in the areas of science, engineering, medicine, and related fields. Some how the so called “trades” have always taken care of themselves. People start out as apprentices and work up from there. Most trades have apprenticeship programs.

I am not a journeyman in any trades but I can do the work of most of them even though I never took a industrial arts class. A close friend of mine who was an IA middle school teacher always asked how I learned my woodworking and handyman skills without taking a class. Most through trial and error; a lot of reading and asking questions of those who new how. Somehow without classes most of us who are interested learn the skills.

-- Les B, Oregon

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