Should vocational education be a part of plain, old education?

I was reading an interesting New York Times article by Christina Hoff Sommers about how grading practices create a bias that affects male academic success.  Interesting stuff, but what causes me to write today is the mention of a word that I haven’t heard since my days in Rappahannock County, VA: vocational education.

Since I was young the term “Vo-Tech” or vocational education has been synonymous with “remedial”–trade-oriented learning for the kids for whom traditional education is not a good fit.  But the increased attention toward “work-readiness” and project-based learning makes me wonder if vocational education can point us in a slightly different direction.  Can science students learn about volume and pressure by learning about how an engine functions (and comes to not function, as my 1980 Datsun 510 once taught me)?

What can we learn from vocational education as we prepare the classrooms of the next 50 years?

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This entry was posted in change, integration, pbl. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Should vocational education be a part of plain, old education?

  1. John Burk says:

    Have you read Shop Class as Soul Craft? It’s an amazing book and makes a powerful argument that working with one’s hands is often more intellectually demanding and rewarding than traditional “academic” work.

  2. professeurb2 says:

    I’ve read a few positive things about vocational education lately, and it gave me the impression that it might be on the rise with discussions of male academic success and the new emphasis on PBL, as you said. I’ll see if I can find those articles; I read them last year.

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