Archive for the ‘ASE’ Category

You teach, Who Learns? or Learns how to learn

October 2, 2009

Learning to Learn or How do you teach?  October Auto Teacher News

Many years ago in a 9th grade algebra classroom I sat bewildered by all the new concepts and theories being presented. I did not get it! The teacher was unconcerned by my lack of understanding. All she did was read romance novels and keep the class quite. Large stacks of “Ditto” sheets and a textbook were the mainstream of her teaching. When I said I did not understand the problems I was told to read the book. When another student tried to help me I was disciplined for talking in class. After almost all “A” report cards my grades started to slip. Behavior issues began, rather than be considered dumb I would be known for my misbehavior. Soon the math class for me was to sit in the back of the room with my desk facing the wall, bored and forgotten. No one ever impressed upon me the need for my knowing the subject.

Who knows the difference a concerned math teacher could have made in the course of my life. I know the lack of an understanding of math has held me back in some cases. My love of the science of electricity has been limited by my ignorance of the higher math required for a degree in Electrical Engineering. I am sure if I had dedicated math teachers like Ms. Jones or Ms. Sirmans who teach with me at Hutchings my life would have been different and possibly easier.  As it was I have had to adapt and work harder to overcome my shortcomings in math. I can see myself in many of my students. They are bored, discipline problems abound, and because only few teachers are dedicated enough to get through to them they will drop out or otherwise not reach their full potential.

How do you teach? Do you expound on the facts of our high tech world and seek to teach every new thing under the Sun/Hood of our high tech world and the new cars? Or do you seek to instill what Jorge Menchu calls “Learning to Learn” and prepare your students to think, learn and create their own high tech world of “Knowing” instead of just memorizing the fact so as to repeat it for a test.  I know that you want the best for your students and you truly want to be the best teacher you can be. Here are some observations for you. When I was around eight years old I was a very good whistler, in fact I was the best there was among my eight year old peers. I had the summer off and my dog and I set out to do what all boys and their dog will do during a summer of fun. I wanted to do something for my dog. Now all boys love their dog when they are eight. I wanted the best for my dog. I wanted to teach my dog to whistle! I proceeded to teach and my dog listened with a wagging tail and open expression on his doggy face. I taught my heart out to an attentive pupil. At the end of the summer my dog could whistle no better than he could at the beginning. In fact he never could or would. No one impressed the dog with the reason he needed to whistle. There was no relevance or rigor in my teaching all we had was a relationship.

I now know better than to try and teach at my level to a student’s level with out an adjustment for learning styles and prior knowledge that the student has. A grave disservice is that many students I have today have not had physical science since sixth grade.  In order to teach electrical or hydraulics I have to back up and teach basics of science and physics. Now in my class the student finally has a relevant course that gives a tangible reason of how electricity is used to operate a relay that causes a fuel pump to pump fuel to run the engine. When I explain a modern automobile I teach, that the vehicle we use and service today, is basically the same as the 1960’s model our fathers and grandfathers knew except the manufactures have added an average of $27000.00 worth of safety, emissions controls and accessories we must have. The Chevy I bought new in 1969 was $2895.00 today the same basic car is $30,000.00. Now this essay is not to argue the merits, prices or attributes a of a car line. I would like to propose that the car of today is still operating off the same basic physics, science and math principles of the first car ever built. The Wow! and Whiz Bang of the High Tech vehicles we are seeing pop up like mushrooms after a summer rain are nothing more than $27000.00 worth of safety, emissions and accessories added to our 1969 car’s basic fundamental principals of physics, science and math.

Here are my hard questions. Why are our programs looked upon as a savior for students that did not do well in middle grades science and math classes?  Why are we expected to teach our physics, science and math to students that either failed or made Cs and Ds in those subjects?  Why are our hands on classes looked upon as inferior to academic classes by state school boards when good techs in all trades are making economic progress in these hard times and college grads can’t find jobs?

What’s up with this? Do you teach to the test or for life long learning? Do you teach the basics? Do you create a hunger for learning in your student?

Hope this Helps,

E learning the next step in Developing the 21st Century Class

September 8, 2009
Failed to evolve

Failed to evolve

Online E Learning, more on developing the 21st Century Classroom.

I have a simple vision for online courses. Model the Honda/Toyota training center procedures that have been used for several years to train the dealership technicians. This is a successful industry model of proven performance. I am sure many of you have attended the factory training centers of your choice. All the major players are using the online delivery of theory and cognitive instruction. I know from first hand experience that Ford and GM do. I have attended their training several years ago. I assume they have continued as one of my former students who is now at a Ford Dealership said he is taking the course work online and he likes it. I enrolled in the Honda University Online training in 2004. I complete course work online in the subject areas I need training in and then attend the American Honda Training Center near Atlanta for a week each June to complete the hands on portion of the course work I learned online. Honda has been very generous to allow AYES and NATEF Instructors to attend free of charge. The instructors at the training center can check our online transcripts and advise us which hands on modules we can test out on. We select the module and are assigned a vehicle as needed and follow the instructions much as if we are at the dealership and complete the task. The instructor checks our documentation and asks pertinent questions about the procedure to verify our understanding. The instructor may require us to demonstrate the procedure or task to prove mastery. The instructor is always available to help with our understanding or demonstrate the correct procedure. They may ask that we review the online lesson or redirect us to another course to learn before we attempt the module so that we build on learning.

I have used this facilitating of the learning environment in my class/lab for years with great effect. See my post for

Now if you understand the Honda model for E learning we can move on to the next step on how we can use it in our classroom/lab. Many of you are already using the SP/2 for safety training. Are you backing it up with hands on performance test to prove mastery? See for examples of hands on test rubrics

Take the next step and assign a hands on course to students and allow 24/7 access. Set a date/time for hands on labs and practice of tasks. Set a date/time for hands on testing for mastery of the tasks in your lab. Now repeat until you and the students are comfortable with this type learning and assessment.

Now take the next step. Assign a task(s) to a student in Work Based Learning, YAP, DCT or AYES. (By the way, AYES is the model for this next step.) Of course the student must work at a shop that has an ASE technician who is certified in the course area you are enrolling the student. The workplace and the technician must agree to be the mentor for the student. Training for the mentor and the workplace is done by you or the school’s representative. Hopefully the AYES model of mentor/intern training is used and the mentor is now qualified to sign off for the student’s mastery of the tasks. Again the use of the AYES model of documentation and tracking is already proven so why reinvent the wheel. The next step is to use the online curriculum you develop and enroll students that can not normally attend your class/lab. Maybe even students in another school, county, state, or nation? Maybe by using the synergy of ASE, NATEF, NACAT, AYES and IATN we could develop a learning environment that is global. Maybe we can create an automotive learning virus that will infect future technicians everywhere. I know there are details and problems we need to solve. Any one that says “No” just needs to “Know” more about e learning which is evolving as we speak. I am doing it now and have been since 2005 school year when I combined my experience with Honda training with AYES mentor/intern experience and training and added in the resources of my web site. See

See August post if you missed it


Sonny Reeves

August Auto Teacher News

July 31, 2009

I hope you were fortunate enough to attend the NACAT conference in Charlotte this past July. The very best in training, teachers and fun for all was there. The staff at CCPC was awesome. The fellow teachers were wonderful and almost all my heroes were there. The presentations were as they should be; on the cutting edge of technology, informative with all the latest and greatest explained in detail by the authors and creators. Very much an enjoyable and restoring week. As one of the seven principles of Covey “Sharpening the Saw” is important if we are to do a good job of serving our customers. See the web site for more on the great workshops we enjoyed! Many times during the week I was reminded about how important it is for us to rely on each other. No one else knows the difficulty of the duties of an auto teacher. The vendor that has never been in a classroom of teenagers does not have a clue as to why his great product won’t meet our needs until classroom control can be achieved. The engineer that can expound for hours on the inner workings of the automobile and can’t build working professional relationships with students is at a loss to explain why he/she can’t seem to hold a student’s attention. The academic teacher that has never had to deal with the retail customer driven world can’t understand our passion for excellance in our teaching. We know that the automobile owner will hold their auto techncian and service center to a higher standard than their Doctor. We know that our students don’t care what we know until they know we care.
If you were able to attend Jeff Curtis’ presentation you now know how not to do a power point. If you attended the NATEF training for ETL’s you now know how important the integrity of the evaluator is for the validation of all our programs. Many of the teachers I spoke with are sincerely concerned with the state of our industry. Many new teachers were there and that is good, but it only means we have more to do in the nurturing and support of these new teachers. There is a lot we need to know to do this teaching, way more than new ways to do a volt drop test that I learned or to safely train our students to service Hybrids in an excellent fast paced class by Craig. There is a lot to know and a lot to learn. I am thankful for NACAT and all they do for us.
We all mourn the passing of one of my heroes, Fred Hines and we see the retirement of many good teachers each year. Where will the new champions come from? We must nurture and protect our new teachers.
Share! Enjoy! Create! Celebrate!

Best wishes for the school year………….

Sonny Reeves