Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Why would I want to be an Automotive Technician?

February 20, 2013

DSC02856

Picture from; http://tinyurl.com/6huzch5

A lot of people are telling young people that they should be anything but an auto technician or be in the auto industry at all.  Many private collages promote automotive careers that pay well but with huge student loans. Most students are not aware that great opportunity’s with OEMS are sometimes fully funded if they are qualified.  Sure in some areas Micky D’s pays more to start, but what will you be doing next year or the years after? ( http://autop.ro/3Kr ) and they furnish tools and such to flip burgers and teach you to ask if they want fries with that.
Many dealerships don’t know where the nearest auto training school or technical college is at, as they are so focused on sales.  Nor do the local auto teachers know who or how to to talk to the business so they can have a business and educational beneficial relationship. Somehow we need to fix this gap in communication.

Sadly our industry’s workers are getting older as we speak  and with technology exceeding the wildest predictions of the engineers that create driver less cars and exotic powered engines we need younger, smarter technicians to service the vehicles of tomorrow right now!

Many criticize the current trend to get students into the auto industry via low tech positions. Sir Ken Robinson points out the deficiency of of current educational system in this TED talk. many of his points are very relevant to a hands on approach to learning.

http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html

Be sure to watch Sir Ken’s other talks to understand his focus.

Many drop outs are prime candidates for the hands on training required to “Fix things” in many areas of expertise.

Here is what started this dialogue; please do not read this blog with out reading James’ story!

Wired Mag Article on James Hamilton, who started as an auto mechanic.  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/02/james-hamilton-amazon/

I asked James a question in this email;

Hi James, I read the wired article that said you started as an auto mechanic.

 My biggest challenge today is to get young people to consider a career as an auto technician. We have programs to start them but the student or the parent does not see the future in being a technician as rewarding. Could I have your thoughts on this?
I know your time is very valuable.
Thank you,
James replied;

“I might understand why some folks might find automotive technician less exciting than, say, fighter pilot. But when it comes to rewarding and to thinking through whether automotive technician is a rewarding role, I would say two things: 1) What is truly unrewarding is to not have a job and 2) what you learn as a mechanic can be applied and remain useful for entire lifetime. I learned an incredible amount as an automotive mechanic and I’m really happy I made that choice back when I was 17. Getting through an formal apprenticeship and becoming a licensed mechanic taught me the discipline and the focus to succeed at that role and gave me the confidence to take on others. The skills I learned at 17, I still apply today.
I see resumes all the time that have periods where the candidate was unemployed or weren’t challenging themselves and weren’t learning. It’s a mistake.” end of quote.

I know my personal journey was difficult and not of the standard of the day. I struggled with learning in traditional school after the 8th grade and dropped out after the ninth (see the blog http://semperfigeorgia.wordpress.com/for details)  trade school or Technical school/college as it is now was my salvation. Growing up on a farm and hating it was what drove me to cars and working on them, I wanted to learn to fix them so I could go somewhere I was not. The local junkyard with it’s old cars was much more exciting than hoeing a pea field all day in the hot sun. Having a car as a teenager gave me a power I could relate to.  I took the road less traveled and never looked  in the rear view mirror.

Regrets I have a few but that which is with out repair is without regard! I would rather be a happy ditch digger than an unhappy king.

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Remarkable Program, Remakable Teacher

February 2, 2013

We recently held our Georgia chapter of NACAT (http://www.nacat.org) conference and training session at Savannah Tech. (http://www.savannahtech.edu/ ) Our chapter meeting was held at Effingham Career Academy, (http://tinyurl.com/3ndcqs8) where Keith Cornell is the AYES (www.ayes.org) automotive instructor. Keith gave us a tour of his new lab and classroom, showing us many of the innovative ideas he has put in place. With one year of teaching at this new facility Keith has road tested and improved many of his designs for improving student learning in a school to work classroom and lab.

Fig #1. Keith uses single roll a round tool boxes for each task area. This one contains the special tools needed for brake service. The inventory control and ease of use by adopting this method of tool use will pay off in increased time on task for the students engaged in brake service in the lab.

Fig #2. Keith designed the tool set inventory control for all the tool sets. Color coded general tool sets for each student team. Lots of time invested to do this but the pay off is worth the effort when student learning is increased.

Fig #3. Clean and well organized lab will insure students will know how the 21st century work place is supposed to look and be kept with housekeeping skills learned here.

Fig #4. Keith modified and designed this cabinet with each class a drawer for safety glasses for each student. The importance of safety with our students can not be compromised or neglected by the instructor.

Fig #5. We did note one fire extinguisher that may have been out of date? Routine safety inspections by the Business and Education Advisory Committee will insure compliance with all Federal, State and local safety regulations.

Fig #6. Cover over emergency power cut prevents accidental interruption of service.

Fig#7 The lab at Effingham Career Academy is bright, clean and well organized. The students learn work ethics as they operate the shop to reflect the best example of the modern dealership and service center.

Fig #8. The lab is well planned so that everything has a place and a place for everything. When things are organized from the start then students will learn the habits that employers will want.

Here is link to video of Keith sharing his stadium seating classroom with the Georgia Auto Teachers.

As I toured the lab and classroom of this remarkable automotive program I was impressed with many of the innovative and creative ideas put into practice of the learning environment. I did not see anything that could not be replicated or adopted by anyone’s program. Even in programs with no or low budget some of the ideas would use existing items to create or replicate the idea. I visit a lot of schools around the US and meet a lot of teachers. I visit schools that have limited resources, disadvantaged students and students with more problems than I will mention today. The defining truth is this; The teacher makes the difference in the learning environment. Several years ago I attended a conference when I first started teaching and the presenter had this handout. I can not recall him today or I would give credit to that presenter.

He told stories and spoke of teachers he knew and students he had taught. He made a lasting impression on me and my teaching. I will share a copy of the handout he gave us.

Characteristics of remarkable Teachers

  • They are lifelong learners
  • They seek excellence
  • They have gifts to share
  • They are encouragers
  • They are called out to teach
  • They are positive people

 

  • They are life changers

  • They love their craft

  • They see the gifts of others

  • They mix stories and humor to connect

  • They champion their students

  • They teach from the heart and the mind

 

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TEFGA is All About Student Success in Transportation Careers

February 1, 2013

Transportation Education Foundation of Georgia organizes the Career Expo for the Georgia State SkillsUSA Conference to be held March 21, 22 @ the Georgia International Convention Center. This is one of our best kept secrets in Career Education. You and your company need to be involved in this awesome gathering of career focused young people.

Here is a report from the TEFGA .org site on last year’s Expo:

The 2012 SkillsUSA Career Expo and Championships was a huge success with over 7,000 participants. TEFGA   _2013TEFGA Fact Sheet    helped to organize the largest student focused career expo in the state, in which for two exciting days students are able to explore different career opportunities within the transportation fields, network with industry representatives and discover the options available for post-secondary education. The best students from across the state competed in competitions to test their transportation knowledge. These contests ranged from Automotive Service Technology and Collision Repair to Diesel Equipment Technology to Fight Operations and Aviation Service. Other contests tested student’s knowledge of small engines and marine and motorcycle service. The results were students realizing their goals and being rewarded for their hard work, through prizes, recognition and often scholarships for additional education.

To see the top teams in the nation compete  http://www.hotroddersoftomorrow.com/ Georgia has three of the top five teams for 2012.

The Georgia SkillsUSA Conference  http://www.skillsusageorgia.org/

To volunteer to work with the expo, To have your company showcased at the expo,  To meet some of the best young people focused on technical careers contact Erin.

For more information on how you can get involved in TEFGA’s activities to build Georgia’s future workforce in the transportation industries, please contact Erin Studstill:

Visit our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter

Email: erinstudstill@tefga.org

Click on the links for more information.

SkillsUSA_CareerExpo_Flyer

Video from 2011 Expo and Skills Conference,  http://tefga.org/Videos.htm

http://tinyurl.com/2013-SkillsUSA-CareerExpo

TEFGA Expo and Skills Sponsorship Form

2013TEFGA General Donation Form

AYES Presentation

July 16, 2011

Time Passes Will YouNACAT2011a1

Click on the link above to download the powerpoint of the presentation of “Developing the 21st Century Classroom”

The slides have links embedded for you to click on to learn more about developing your classroom.

Presented at the 2011 AYES conference in Seattle from an earlier presentation at NACAT 2010 and 2009

Constantly updated….stay in touch

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,

Sonnyjreeves@hotmail.com

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

https://autoteachersonny.wordpress.com/

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

https://autoteacher.net/Electrical_PerformanceTests 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

https://autoteacher.net/E_Learning.html

See August post if you missed it

https://autoteachersonny.wordpress.com/2009/08/

Enjoy,

Sonny Reeves