Posts Tagged ‘Auto Teacher’

If you want time, You must make it

December 12, 2009

Time                                                                                        Teacher’s News letter December 2009

The bane of our educational existence is constant and immortal. I have not met a teacher that has enough time. We serve our students Bell to Bell. Then even more time is used to care for our lab, prepare for the next day’s instruction and begin the fast paced cycle again. Our battle is dubious and our enemy is time. We may be able to cast out the demons of dumbness and raise our students to higher standards but we still face the constraints of time. Our students are not always aware of our challenge to deliver quality instruction in the time allowed. When I informed my students of the tasks we must accomplish in a semester they shrugged it off as my problem not theirs.

A few years back Dale Fasenmeyer of the PTEC CAP program in St. Pete Florida and now AYES coordinator for PTEC used the Chrysler Flat Rate Manual and the NATEF Task list to analyze the real time vs the curriculum time required to do the Steering and Suspension A4 course in the time allowed by the school system. What he found was that the flat rate to do the tasks in the course would pay over 400 hours to a technician in the dealership yet the instructor only has 150 hours to teach the course. Now Dale used common sense and grouped related tasks to figure time so don’t think he was not practical in his calculations. We talk of completing the course; following the syllabus and lesson plans, yet we know that some students just do not get it! Let’s be honest here and don’t drink the popular lemonade that says all children can learn. That statement is in many school mission statements but I feel it is too wide a brush to paint a picture of our classrooms today.  Now if you think that all children can learn you need to stop reading right now because I know I have taught many children to lead productive lives in our industry; yet some will be good technicians, some will one day own their own businesses, while some will be those that work hard but not smart. We won’t speak of the others, those that are not interested in learning. Well I will share this one with you!

I had a student a while back that  had a lot of behavior and motivation problems. I sent him to the principal and she asked him why was he here if he did not want to be a learner in my class. He said” I’m here for th’ wemens and th’ food!” He was 19 in the 10th grade, his mom was 33 and she was no help in the problems he caused. I think she became a grandmother before the year was out.

I feel that our education system needs to be a place where learning is constant and time is variable, not the system we have now where time is the master and learning is by the numbers. So many potentially good students are beaten down by subjects they will never use and are not taught the subjects with the relevance they need in a way that meets their learning style. Example: My wife teaches middle grades science and she asked me for some ways to teach the principles of electricity. I gave her loads of material to use and she protested she only had one and a half hours in the semester to teach electricity. Did you know that it is possible to leave middle school and never have taken a science class? Did you know that some students can get to the 9th grade having never passed a class in any subject at any grade level in our current system. Over 70% of middle grade students in some states are passed by this method. It is called social promotion.

Imagine a world where you as a student learn what you want when you want. I am getting way out of the box now and even say get rid of the box as it often hinders learning. I like the statement from Jeff Curtis at NACAT 2009 “Learning should be Viral” I will not bore you with numbers I can’t remember, but the largest population in our prisons are High School drop outs. What we are doing as a nation in education is not working.  Let’s imagine students that come to your class because they learn there, not that you teach, but that they know they will learn in your class/lab because you are the facilitator of the learning process. You open windows of opportunity and learning for them. Now you can’t raise the dead or walk on water but students know they will learn when they become stake holders in your class/lab. You enable, you inspire and you require the student to meet your standards. Our good students will thrive in this environment, our less than good or to be politically incorrect: behavior disordered, unmotivated students would not get it if you injected it into their vacant skulls. In 15 years of teaching I never figured out what to do with them. Maybe the proponents of the NCLB and “Everyone can Learn” theory of education will one day get their car fixed by a student that was socially promoted, only made the minimum passing grade in the shop classes and is now been hired to work at a dealership because the dealer can’t find enough qualified applicants that want to work with their hands in our craft. I wonder what they will say about the work that is done incorrectly on their expensive vehicle. Will they say ‘ Oh that’s alright, He is doing the best he can” or as my 3rd grade teacher said as she patted me on my shoulder “Bless your little heart” What she really meant was “You ain’t never gonna get this!”

Do not waste that most precious commodity on them “Time.”

Imagine the students online with a cutting edge curriculum that requires the student to interact and move the mouse to make things happen as they would under the hood. Not watching a video or reading volumes of text but very accurate technical graphics with learning the way students live/learn embedded in the lessons. Imagine the student online at home, on their phone, in the media center, the city library or at any time. When I introduced this learning style to my students they quickly adapted to it because I required the learning online as a prerequisite to the lab. My students will do anything to get into the lab/shop. I made it a requirement that they successfully complete specific lessons online before they can practice the task in the lab/shop.

Enjoy your winter break, spend time with your family. Sharpen the saw!  Here is an “Excuse Grinder” you can build if you have time. The excuse grinder will save hours in your class by grinding up student excuses quickly.    http://got.im/59861

You can do all this when you have time. I can show you how to save time in your classroom and lab.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

Sonny



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

Feb-March Auto Teacher News

July 30, 2009

Got any spare change? How do you raise funds for your lab if the budget is zero$$?

My supervisor recently for the third year in arrow informed me my budget was zero. I said at least that is a number. I openly solicit donations of any kind form the public, parents, dealerships and club/civic groups. I ask for time to present about my program at Rotary, Lions and Exchange club meetings. Take a few students and BEG! Sometimes I don’t get anything, sometimes I do. We get the cars and what ever, fix it up learn from it, change the title to the school and sell it. All the money goes into my automotive/SkillsUSA fund. We charge for oil changes and other service work we do for teachers and staff.

This year we need to do a recruitment drive for our program. We want to do a summer camp for non traditional student to explore our career fields. We needed lots of money to do this. You know it is a part of Perkins? Yet it is not funded?????
I went online to www.grants.gov and saw a grant for the exact thing we wanted to do.

Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Education Program (GAMTTEP) Grant.

Well after we wrote it and submitted we are looking at getting $100K to fund our recruitment effort with our summer camp. We will meet Perkins and STEM objectives of NCLB.

We are now looking at another grant that is part of the presidents stimulus package.
Here is the location http://www1.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/index.html

If you have a local Clean Cities Coalition then I would encourage you to go for it!
Here a copy of part of my proposal. Be sure to see the links.

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Greetings,
Does any one have course on electric vehicles? I know Georgia does not. I have permission from Georgia DOE to develop a course. I now need a team to work with me on this. I am asking for support and donations. If you have advice, contacts I need to connect with, or anything I will appreciate all you can do for our students. My vision is that each school that has a transportation program will add this course to their catalog.I have some contacts but would appreciate what you have. I want to develop a course and curriculum for this new technology. If you are interested in collaborating contact me direct. Note that while Hybrids will be a major part and of course fuel cells the main part of the course is electric vehicles. There seems to be a lot going on with this but nothing all in one place.Look at this list of ten new cars. Some were not even in the mind of the designer two years ago. http://www.egmcartech.com/2008/11/12/top-10-new-ca… [egmcartech.com] The Aptera appeared in Wired Mag a while back and now is in production. http://www.wired.com/cars/futuretransport/magazine… [wired.com]
Share, create and share! Thank you,
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If you are interested in this or have resources we can use then I ask you to share.

I was so busy with writing the grants and the meeting involved I did not get this out on time. If you have stories or best practices please share.

Seeya,
Sonny Reeves http://www.autoteacher.net