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Practical Skills Education

06/29/2009 4:48 AM

Coming from an environment where woodwork and metalwork were taught to secondary school children from the age of 11, the claim that carpentry skills are no longer taught at some schools was received as a bit of a shock.

Is this true? If so, then how are youngsters going to be taught the basic practical life-skills needed, and what does this bode for the future of Engineering as a set of practical disciplines?

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#1

Re: Practical skills education

06/29/2009 5:06 AM

Just read an old book given to me by Daught' for Father's Day.
"The Village Carpenter" from the pre-machinery days.
Excellent, they did everything from furniture repairs to making/fitting Windmill sails..felled and sawed their own timber.
I expect some idiot feels that Health and Safety concerns prohibit the use of chisels and planes.
Del

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Practical skills education

06/29/2009 5:10 AM

<...some idiot feels that Health and Safety concerns prohibit the use of chisels and planes...>

Then why only lately?

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Practical skills education

06/29/2009 5:14 AM

I dunno..no need to have a go at me...nuffin to do wiv me mate...
It's probably down to funding 'targets' or some bureaucratic BS.
<scurries off crying>

Del

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#6
In reply to #2

Re: Practical skills education

06/29/2009 8:20 AM

There's the question of:

- No one wanting to "work" at a job where the use of a computer can't do 90% of the job for them.

- Toil for most of our children consists of clicking a mouse.

- No body to teach the young due to the fact that there is not enough money in teaching useful skills.

- As well as the fact that the kids have the attention span of a gnat.

- Why pay for a carpenter to build something when you can go to a store and buy a press board, put it together yourself, piece of crap for a tenth of the cost or less.

My younger brother is in his mid thirties and can't use a power drill but he can do literally anything with a computer. These are the coveted skills of today.

Last year I was looking for an "entertainment center" for my living room. I couldn't find anything made of real wood. I finally took the time to build it myself. It is everything that I wanted and will withstand a glass of water being spilled on it.

I'm in my mid forties and will take advice from anyone who cares to share, be them older or younger ...

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Practical skills education

06/29/2009 8:23 AM

No one wanting to "work" at a job where the use of a computer can't do 90% of the job for them.

did'nt the Japanese go through this back in the eighties?

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#33
In reply to #6

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 1:03 PM

I think I may be one of the people that this article addresses so I feel obligated to respond.

I didn't take woodworking or metalworking. I don't know how to weld and I only know how to run a few power tools. But I do know how to surf the net.

I am in my mid 20's and bought a house a few years ago. I don't know the first thing about home repair but when something goes wrong with anything in my house I get on the internet and read how to fix it. If it requires a tool that I've never used, I read how to use it and what accessories are needed with it. I don't like doing this work but it's better than paying a repairman $100 for 5 minutes of work.

While I do regret not having these tradeskills at the onset of home repairs, I do feel satisfied after I have learned to do this work and completed the job.

I have the upmost respect for the "Guru's" of this website but this discussion almost seems a little short sighted. I'm sure in shop class you didn't learn the same techniques and skills that a blacksmith needed 200 years ago. Just as their learning and skills were advancements from their ancestors.

I think an excellent example is when I was my engineering machinery class. We had to use a milling machine for a part we were working on. After we finished that work, we were told about the CNC milling machine that the school used for bigger projects.

Of course, I've had this arguement many times about engineering education. I felt that most of my professors taught in order to prepare you for an even higher education in engineering knowing that most bachelor level engineering jobs would require OJT more than textbook knowledge. And in my limited experience, they were right.

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#36
In reply to #33

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 1:26 PM

cingold wrote: I don't know the first thing about home repair but when something goes wrong with anything in my house I get on the internet and read how to fix it. If it requires a tool that I've never used, I read how to use it and what accessories are needed with it. I don't like doing this work but it's better than paying a repairman $100 for 5 minutes of work.

We all use the internet to dig out facts but tell me this? How can you learn the diference in planing with the grain and against the grain on a plank by looking at the internet? How would you know from the internet what it feel like to drill and tap a cold rolled steel plate versus a piece of casting. If you cannot feel the tooling doing the work you cannot judge accurately how and when it it working right. The result is more tool breakage.

For the most part I still have the tap and die set I got some twenty odd years ago. Except for the 1/4-20 tap and 6-32 , they are all original.

Your last sentence "I don't like doing this work but it's better than paying a repairman" say's it all. In other words you feel compelled by economic reasons to do manual work but you do not convey a sense of satisfaction in being able to do it yourself. Different values for different generations.

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#38
In reply to #36

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 2:10 PM

How can you learn the diference in planing with the grain and against the grain on a plank by looking at the internet?

If the need ever came up I would start with websites like this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plane_(tool). It's about 3/4 of the way down. From there I can find other search words or websites and if after all that I still don't feel comfortable then I can ask the people I know if they have ever done this.

And yes I may have worded that last sentence you quoted wrong. What I meant is that for small work around the house, I can't justify paying someone that much for a small amount of work.

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#134
In reply to #38

Re: Practical skills education

07/04/2009 9:54 AM

What would you do if power was lost and the internet was not a viable option?

Lets just say, in today's political world climate, with war looming at every turn, the possibility of a nuclear strike is more than possible. This could cause an EMP that would kill all electronic equipment.

If everyone has the "I can just go on the web for that" mentality I wonder where they would go for their info.

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#53
In reply to #36

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 11:15 PM

Different values for different generations

I do not agree. I am 60, a time served millwright who studied further and retired a senior engineer with a major oil company. My father was an Industrial Chemist who always tried but was useless with his hands. His father was a printer. My brother could not understand why anyone would want to work with his hands. He made enough money that he could afford to employ people to fix things or buy new ones.

I on the other hand love to work "on the tools", get great satisfaction from fixing anything and everything and must know how it works.

Where are the different standards for different generations? Just people with different interests.

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#56
In reply to #53

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 1:59 AM

I'm not sure where you got the quote from because I never said that. You and I are the same age. My parents wanted me to become a tool and die maker but the school teachers kept telling me I should become an electrical engineer. Like you I love to get into tinkering with tools. In fact I often repair stuff that was tossed as being beyond repair. I wish I had a bigger lathe, and a milling machine. I did work in one place where I had access to such tooling. One time I was bsuy rebuilding my corvette engine and the boss suggested I did not need to go buy a special GM tool.

He asked me what the tool did and what dimensions were involved. He pushed me to define the problem. Once I had done so he pointed to the lathe and said "you have an hour for lunch - get busy!

But there is a difference between generations. Whereas my generation grew up building and racing hot rods on the street, these days you can't do that. My daughter's generation have a different focus and interests. At least my daughter knows how to pick up some tools and dig into her computer or fix something around the house. Most of her contemporaries don't even know that much.

But they still moan and complain about not having their own transportation. In my day we got an old clunker and fixed it up ourselves. Fewer peopel are interested in doing anything for themselves.

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#58
In reply to #56

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 4:52 AM

'fraid you did - very last sentence of your post #36

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#112
In reply to #56

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 11:39 PM

"Fewer people are interested in doing anything for themselves."

Watch the split develop as the money disappears with the deepening depression.

Some will learn and some will founder.

j.

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#107
In reply to #36

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 9:07 PM

There is another factor to it.

When that fellow has to get his car repaired because he has no idea, given the sometimes complexity of a problem, of what is wrong much less how to repair it, how does he figure out the good mechanics from the bad?

Like the hand feel of working with metals and tools, simply knowing enables good judgement of others skills.

And I say this knowing that most of the auto-mechanics out there are simply part-changers even when honest.

j.

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#37
In reply to #33

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 2:07 PM

Well said cingold! GA. I do have all skills, plus the computer skills, and what you have outlined is 'research skills' and a 'willingness to learn/teach yourself' which are also essential skills for success in any venture, especially engineering. That being said, you are in the upper echelons of younger engineering people, as is evidenced by your writing and thinking skills. I don't think that the OP message was really directed at you.

In general, don't you think it important to keep training students in the arts of manufacturing, or do you think we should just let them go?

Chris

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#39
In reply to #37

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 2:20 PM

I didn't think his comment was directed at me either but at people like me. And he isn't the first I've heard say something like this either.

And yes, in general, I think these skills are something that needs to be taught but I've always heard that engineers need them and this is something I don't entirely agree with. Maybe I misunderstood the intent of his post (maybe he meant the public in general).

I did have a manufacturing class in college that I found helpful but it was more a general course to learn what is involved in metalworking than it was for learning the techniques of the tools (learning the limitations for our designs).

But I think these classes are important for people that will be using this for their work or hobby. For instance, if I had taken a shop class in college (having a full load every quarter from engineering courses) it would mean that I would have to drop an engineering course. I feel that someone specializes in a certain craft it is more beneficial to the community.

With all that being said, I was very disappointed when my high school dropped their shop class. I never took it and never wanted to but there were a lot of people I knew that were able to pick a career path based on that class.

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#42
In reply to #39

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 3:00 PM

In my opinion college or university is way too late to start taking shop or trades type classes. I began tinkering with lawn mowers when I was twelve. By the time I was fifteen I could and did rebuild car engines. I built from salvaged part a stereo and a tV before I turned sixteen. I was too poor to afford to go and buy one.

Like most kids that age I earned pocket money doing lawn cutting and odd jobs. I had to get a ride to go into town to do some of these jobs because I was not old enough to legally drive.

Having said that, Waterloo University in Ontario has a curriculum where the students alternate work semesters with academic semesters. By all accounts these students make superior graduates because they actually have a hands on feel for their chosen career.

I remember one time we had completed a major job for Ontario Hydro. Their project engineer in charge of and responsible for writing the specification for the equipment finally came to witness the Factory Acceptance Tests. He walked into the room and stood in front of this 8 foot tall cabinet measuring two feet by two feet in floor area.

I heard him mutter to himself. "good grief I didn't realize it would be this big!" As we proceeded through the tests he kept saying, its not supposed to do that. or Gee I didn't realize it would also do that.

Bottom line, he was not happy with the end result yet it met the specifications perfectly.

Needless to say they ended up paying us a good chunk of money to redesign and rebuild the equipment to a more realistic configuration.

I think this illustrates why and how engineers need some practical experience to complement their academic learning. Although he had seen and signed off on the drawings he could not visualize the physical size of the finisihed product. He did not have a good idea of how this equipment functioned in the real world.

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#43
In reply to #42

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 3:35 PM

Practical experience is helpful but not necessary. A good project engineer would have at least consulted the foreman on the design before beginning construction.

I am a project engineer and I have to consult with many different parties involved in a project before beginning construction. I typically schedule a meeting with the maintenance and operations group to discuss the design of a project before we begin construction. Usually, I have a representative from the construction team as well as more experienced engineers present to make sure the design is acceptable.

Even with all of this I still make mistakes but the trick is to learn from my mistakes and not repeat them. Actually, I just got back from the field where I was discussing a platform that I recently installed with a member of our maintenance group. It turns out that the platform is too close to his MCC's so now I have to pay to tear it down. Which means my next project will have a design meeting with equipment location plans and I will cover each major location with maintenance before we make our final decision.

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#52
In reply to #43

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 10:47 PM

Practical experience is helpful but not necessary. A good project engineer would have at least consulted the foreman on the design before beginning construction.

Communication to the shop floor is always a good idea as well as necessary ....but when the project engineer relies heavily on the shop foremen to do his job, that project engineer is not very practical, and I'll tell you why.

That project Engineer may be looked upon not as a great open project engineer from the shop floor point of view, but as a useless piece of s#it that relies on the blue color to do his job. And it does not take long for the shop floor to build a animosity toward this same project engineer for always coming to the shop floor to solve issues that the p.e. should have solved himself.

Curious......So tell me....how long have you been doing this, and what kind of respect does the shop floor have towards you? And by shop floor I mean the fabricators, welders and technicians personnel.

Do they think you are doing a wonderful job, and tell you so?

phoenix911

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#60
In reply to #52

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 8:15 AM

Communication to the shop floor is always a good idea as well as necessary ....but when the project engineer relies heavily on the shop foremen to do his job, that project engineer is not very practical

Right that's why I said at least (I guess I'm still getting used to conveying tone on this website). From Elnav's post it sounded like the engineer designed his project from his office without consulting anyone. Typically, during design, I contact construction managers and foreman for consultation, and during construction, I will involve some of the hands as well (through conversations in the field).

I have only been at my current job for a few months, and all of my projects so far were adopted on the construction end. So it's too early to tell over here. I worked 2 years at my previous job doing basically the same thing. To my face they said they loved working with me more than the other engineers but who knows what they were saying behind my back (personally I don't mind because everyone needs to vent).

I guess in a few months I will be able to tell if the shop floor likes me or hates me.

Some things I've learned in these 2 jobs is that I don't know everything. I like consulting with the guys that will actually be constructing the project because they can tell me if my design physically will or will not be constructable. The operators can tell me which pipes I can or can't tie in to. Both maintenance and operations tells me if I am making their life harder or not. I know I can't please everyone so the best thing to do is to make everyone come to an agreement.

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#67
In reply to #60

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 11:15 AM

Right that's why I said at least (I guess I'm still getting used to conveying tone on this website).

Don't be scared........

The reason why I responded, is, I have hired engineers that did not have practical hands on experience, and when they found out about using the shop floor resources, and they (the engineers) realized the shop floor personnel enjoyed having their input considered.

But these younger engineers pick up on it and basically abused it, and never learned from what was told on things like manufacturability and cost effective fabrications.

And if you can pick up on what they are telling you and retain it as well as understanding, then it becomes a Two way street, where both you and the shop personnel are brainstorming issues that the both of your inputs resolve it.

But you also have to remember there are those that will talk not because they have something to say, but only because they like the sound of their own voice, that's when you have to step up to the plate and facilitate.

(personally I don't mind because everyone needs to vent).

Good for you to have that understanding, remember being humble is better that arrogant

I guess in a few months I will be able to tell if the shop floor likes me or hates me.

Its not a matter of like or hate but a matter of respect...which is also 2 ways.

phoenix911

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#74
In reply to #60

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 11:52 AM

Ask housekeeping how often they scrub your name from the bathroom wall

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#114
In reply to #60

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 11:52 PM

"because they can tell me if my design physically will or will not be constructable. The operators can tell me which pipes I can or can't tie in to."

Seems to me, given a set of prints of what exists, you ought to be able to do that for yourself.

"I know I can't please everyone so the best thing to do is to make everyone come to an agreement."

When did engineering design become a committee endeavor subject to a majority vote?

j.

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#117
In reply to #114

Re: Practical skills education

07/02/2009 1:22 AM

When did engineering design become a committee endeavor subject to a majority vote?

When there aren't enough hats...

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#140
In reply to #114

Re: Practical skills education

07/06/2009 11:26 AM

When engineering design becomes a committe majority endeavor the projects fail to get completed. While it is good to confer with operators on the operations, they never know where lines should tie in, only where they should not tie in to obstruct their work (not facilities operation). However, it is always good to confer with operators because they can screw a plant up fast if they think their input was not considered.

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#142
In reply to #140

Re: Practical skills education

07/06/2009 2:19 PM

One has to facilitate which would be the P.E. But how can he facilitate without understanding the process........The process has to be taught to him. in the mean time the project runs behind schedule and a good chance failure.

However, it is always good to confer with operators because they can screw a plant up fast if they think their input was not considered.

Ever so true... . . . .or just watch it happen.

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#143
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Re: Practical skills education

07/06/2009 2:44 PM

Training is the requirement of the supervisory engineers, principals, who above all else are supposed to be experts already in the process as no engineering lead is supposed to take on a job they do not have sufficient expertise in, in accordance with their code of ethics. This is the mentoring process, and why associate engineers earn less than principal design engineers in theory (in truth it is more about client base, internal politicking and age, but...). So the engineers must already understand the process before taking on the job, they are supposed to be experts. What they need to discuss with the operators and understand, is how they are specifically trained and what they have ahd issues with. The operators are not considered the process experts, they are the guy who do however have to monitor systems and operate them, and they may not know enough to do some of the things they would need, may see access issues for their specific staff, may identify limitations in staffing skills that require a more hands off system (or a need due to water quality or wastewater quality for more flexibility due to unidentified or eprceived conditions that are not disclosed in regulatory reports), and such.

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#144
In reply to #143

Re: Practical skills education

07/06/2009 2:51 PM

I agree with you RCE,

Except on this point.

The operators are not considered the process experts,

I had confered with the fabricators for manufacturability of the process equipment with the equipment they have, to cut costs and not having to job out and lose control (by control I mean other schedules, and quality issues) by depending on someone else, and keep it internal.

phoenix911

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#146
In reply to #144

Re: Practical skills education

07/07/2009 4:59 AM

Depends on the knowledge level and pertinent job descriptions of the operators. In many instances the operators were burger flippers last week

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#147
In reply to #146

Re: Practical skills education

07/07/2009 9:24 AM

funny, but no, these were skilled position that required testing before hire.

Which the Project Engineer was envolved.....small company about 60 People

But yes, point taken.

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#109
In reply to #43

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 10:07 PM

Who is paying for all that extra expert time?

If you are a construction project engineer and don't have the skills to apprehend all of the aspects of a job and have to depend on others, then you are causing the cost of the job to go up.

Your employer may not know that but we do.

I don't know what MCC's are and a search brings back to many uses for the term. But it sounds like you are talking about being too close to high tension electrical stuff.

Wouldn't it have been helpful to be aware of the special characteristics of such?

What happens when you think you know, like with high tension for instance, and nobody is there to stop you before trouble occurs? You cannot know intuitively how high tension behaves save you have hands on (Pun intended) experience.

There are here on the net some video demonstrations of high tension effects. Have a look so you understand the materiality of what I am talking about.

The point is that engineering requires, despite any particular specialty, a general, but subject specific knowledge of the surrounding circumstances to any problem, especially when you are the project engineer.

Yes. You can learn on the job. But the time you get too close to a high tension system your learning will be over.

School is where you learn to be wary if not immediately knowledgeable.

j.

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#113
In reply to #109

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 11:51 PM

"I don't know what MCC's are..."

MCC = Motor Control Centre

In buildings, this is the location of all the motor starters contactors/lockouts/status switches and lights. Each fan, pump (hot and cold), chiller, boiler, cooling tower will have one cabinet (box with switch handle). In a large building complex, there can be hundreds of motorized pieces of equipment, located around the building in various mechanical rooms/electrical rooms. usually these are 230/460/575 volts. (380 volts for lighting) They are subject to local electrical standards, plus typically the Canadian Electrical Code or National Electrical Code (US), depending on where you are at in north america

Chris

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#119
In reply to #113

Re: Practical skills education

07/02/2009 1:56 AM

I was an industrial maintenance technician. Usually the controls for a machine were at the machine.

Looks like somebody has figured out a way to spend a lot of money on extra pipe and wiring.

But my guess was close only I was thinking high tension.

j.

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#122
In reply to #119

Re: Practical skills education

07/02/2009 8:58 AM

Having a MCC room, has some positives, one being redundancy. (same type of controller)

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#44
In reply to #42

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 3:40 PM

That's why engineers have to listen to the mechanics and assemblers because they see first hand the results of what ever the engineers send out.

We had an engineer one time that wouldn't listen. We'd explain to him what was happening and he'd just tell us it will work go do it. We ended up just modifying the parts to work.

What was happening is we were making trays that had to shift to one side. The flat bar on each end of the trays needed the holes to have the same spacing so they could shift the to one side. Instead they were not equally spaced and worked more like cross bracing on a scaffold. We couldn't get that concept through to him. He eventually went back to France and was out of our hair.

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#108
In reply to #39

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 9:34 PM

Once upon a time folks were generalists or had immediate access to a generalist.

Today that is not the case.

You are to be commended for learning to do what it takes to maintain your house.

Nonetheless, when a job is beyond you, how do you gauge the skill of a hired craftsman whom you may pay big bucks?

The point underlying here is that not only are we losing the skilled craftspeople, but we are losing the sensibility that accrues to each of us when we live in a society where we are surrounded by such people.

I have a friend, an attorney, who is ripped off for a thousand dollars every time he takes his car into a dealer because he simply cannot put together the logic, or illogic, of what he is being fed.

Another example, a much simpler one.

A friend called me on the phone. She was having trouble because when she put a DVD in her player it would run a couple seconds and then shut down.

She wanted to know what was wrong with the player. I simply told her to put another disk into the machine.

Problem solved.

What we are losing on the part of a large section of our population is the simple ability to think sequentially through a material, concrete, problem.

I think most here understand that and that it is a very serious matter.

The Congressmen who think of aircraft mechanics as semi-skilled themselves demonstrate their own thinking failures in that they don't understand that aircraft to be properly and safely maintained have to be in the hands of folks wherein the last and visible result of their understanding is the mechanical work they do but that work is dependant on their conceptual understanding of that aircraft and all its operating systems on laws of physics, like for instance airfoils and lift.

Actually, the problem we are talking about is one of economics and what happens when an industry is in the hands of time and motions study people instead of highly skilled craftspeople who proceed in measured fashion as opposed to the speed-up of the assembly line.

j.

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#123
In reply to #108

Re: Practical skills education

07/02/2009 9:40 AM

in my experience : the safety meeting is always held after the incident , accident.

on economics:

the VP of line maint came to sfo. in the meeting he admitted that winglets reduce fuel consumption by 10 %. over 600 aircraft. 10 % saving on fuel would be a substantial amount.

considering that the company and "our " union had just agreed on a " give back " that erased over 60 years of contract advances for the membership.

over $$10 k reduction in wages per year for 6 years, loss of 1 week of vacation, loss of ..etc..

* fast forward to today:

the company has offered a contract, yet the union rejected that offer and then counter offered w/ a proposal that was worse. the company rejected that.

so who knows .

imho: when the military produced aircraft technicians the airlines had a minor league, for free.

with the reduction in size and better retention bonus's most of that labour pool is staying in.

so , instead of getting someone who has 3 ~ 4 years or more of flight line experience, the people come out of ap school. much has been said about the gap between the workplace and the school preparation to enter the workplace.

* in a different city , during contract time, a vp went to address the station. in this meeting " no mechanic is worth $ 40. an hour "..

but when after 9/11 and the big give back contract , the very 1st time the company made a profit, the corporate secretary was given $250,ooo bonus. i called HR.

I WAS 1 MAD SOB. this wasn't the America I went to Nam to save from the red horde.

i was told that these bonus's were contractual, obligated. i told her that when i was interviewed, if you told me that my wages WOULD BE BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL FOR MY HOME , HOW MANY PEOPLE DID SHE THINK WOULD HIRE IN?...( the local tv had just done an article on a single mother of 2 , on assistance in SF. the amount that the person received was more than my wages for 40 hours.)..i was given a letter of insubordination , via my station manager.

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#124
In reply to #123

Re: Practical skills education

07/02/2009 10:00 AM

?...( the local tv had just done an article on a single mother of 2 , on assistance in SF. the amount that the person received was more than my wages for 40 hours.).

Well, this is slightly off topic but not by much........when the environment makes people rely on the government and makes people think that they are entitled.

Why be productive....problem is.....the money is paid by the few productive workers, and that is running out...........comrade.

I mean't to change this to On-Topic but too late.........But with the attitude that one does not need basic skills, because thier parents never taught them, or, because of thier degree, or for what ever reason, they think they are above it and can afford for now to just hire it done.

Let give a big laurel and hardy handshake to socialism.

phoenix911

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#125
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Re: Practical skills education

07/02/2009 10:07 AM

comrade..lol

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#45
In reply to #33

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 4:55 PM

so I feel obligated to respond.
AAAAARRRRGGGHHH!
NO you don't!
You feel OBLIGED to respond....Stop mangling a perfectly good language.
Del

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#54
In reply to #45

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 11:24 PM

Del to the rescue of the English Language - you've got your work cut out for you on this site mate

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#59
In reply to #54

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 5:14 AM

...site, Mate.

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#57
In reply to #45

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 4:14 AM

.......And that could have been looked up on the Internet!

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#61
In reply to #45

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 8:17 AM

Thank you.

Much obliged...or obligated...I'm so confused.

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#62
In reply to #61

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 8:28 AM

Ignore Del - he's just a pedantic 'old womanly' kind of pussycat.

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#63
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Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 9:50 AM
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#55
In reply to #33

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 1:05 AM

What a smart troublemaker you turned out to be.

Welcome is what I've got to say.

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#145
In reply to #55

Re: Practical skills education

07/06/2009 3:11 PM

ditto

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#15
In reply to #2

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 1:20 AM

"Then why only lately?"

Lawyers and short-sighted juries!

School administrators have to take some blame too...

I believe I was 13 when I had wood shop at school. I had already learned most of it at home. I learned to solder at home, but I didn't get any metalworking 'till I got to college. Fortunately, my college required it; without that metalworking knowledge I would be no where close to my current position!

Even though much metalworking is now done via CNC, I still believe that learning to use a plain old drill press, lathe, mill, and grinder correctly are an important start to understanding all of industry.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 3:07 AM

and what happens if the metal part is not fixated

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#22
In reply to #16

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 10:23 AM

I don't understand your comment/question.

My dictionary defines 'fixated' as 'having an obsessive attachment'. I enjoy machining a great deal, but I'd hardly call it an obsession.

If by 'fixated' you mean 'understood and/or appreciated by the learner', then perhaps that learner should investigate other fields than engineering.

I can't imagine an engineer who does not enjoy building stuff!

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#91
In reply to #22

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 1:25 PM

I believe his comment meant "What happens if the work is not held securely."

In other words, excitement.

milo

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#131
In reply to #91

Re: Practical skills education

07/03/2009 5:14 PM

Experience is bad judgment you survive

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#132
In reply to #16

Re: Practical skills education

07/03/2009 5:21 PM

may become anal

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#102
In reply to #15

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 8:18 PM

Wood-shop was only the half of it.

I went to Brooklyn Tech and as Freshmen we were not only making wooden patterns in pattern-making shop with very sharp chisels that of course we sharpened ourselves, we went from there to the foundry where we made green sand molds from our patterns and where, with iron melted in a cupola furnace, we filled the mold.

That shop in fact had three furnaces. Besides the cupola it also had an arc furnace and a resistance furnace.

Today, I believe based on a conversation with some folks who were planning new curricula for Tech, that is all gone, the foundry, the pattern shop, the sheet metal shop, the machine shops, etc.

If it were a question of danger they would also have to close the physics lab, the chemistry labs, and the industrial chem lab.

The problem is conceptual. They don't understand that engineers need to have exposure to those basic functions in order to be competent engineers.

I'll bet there are plenty of folks in the countries that are producing the machines and other hardware designed here who curse engineers who by the faults in design, and hence fabrication and assembly, obviously had no idea about the hands on functions needed to turn their conceptions into real things.

The one place that is often most noticeable is in automobiles where in order to do what should be a simple repair becomes a major project where a half dozen things need to be removed, or an engine unbolted and lifted, in the process wherein putting those things in place was simple when originally assembled prior to placement and assembling of the entire car.

j.

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#116
In reply to #102

Re: Practical skills education

07/02/2009 1:02 AM

If it were a question of danger they would also have to close the

pool

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#34
In reply to #2

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 1:04 PM

Because lately people have become big on bringing up lawsuits for every little thing.

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#41
In reply to #34

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 2:50 PM

Because lately people have become big on bringing up lawsuits for every little thing.

Its not people....its attorney's.....even when things are settled due to an accident, an attorney would do a cold call and talk to the potential client, and explain how damaged he/she is and that with his help he/she can get more.

What is the ratio from the 1950's to attorney's and the rest of the US population to now. I bet its not the same.

phoenix911

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#4

Re: Practical skills education

06/29/2009 6:23 AM

Hi, After an apprenticeship as a HGV mechanic and two redundancies I was lucky enough to get on a TOPS scheme (remember those?) to change careers into electronics, then after some years in that field I retrained as a secondary school teacher, graduating in 1991. My subject was Design and Technology. Initially I liked the subject and its possibilities. After failing to find my first position due to a rule change which allowed the subject to be covered with home economics, I went abroad and taught in Botswana. They were going through a transition from traditional subjects Woodwork, Metalwork, Technical Drawing and Electronics (which I taught for two years) towards Design and Technology. The subjects ran in parallel as the traditional subjects were slowly dropped. The problem with D&T is the quality of the final product. A student's time is devoted more to the design folio than the designed item. The intention is to present the design process. Marks are assigned accordingly. There was (mostly) no design in woodwork, you learned the skills and applied them. Now whatever skills are needed are learned to produce the finished item. You can see that teachers who have skills in certain areas will pass these on and projects from different schools will have expertise in different areas. It's a difficult thing to teach the design process and graphics / presentation skills to document this and the skills needed to make the item which may incorporate woodwork, metalwork, plastics (vacuum forming, line bending etc.) electronics, fabrics or any combination of these. There are good sides to the subject, but because it is necessarily so broad there must be a lack of depth of skill. I thoroughly enjoyed studying it but my background helped.

If you look at society today, interests have changed and are soft. Incredibly creative things are done on computers. The skills you mourn are still taught at the next level, after school but much of that traditional teaching style (and content) went with the advent of the NVQ. (I worked as an instructor at an engineering training establishment on my return, and saw some of the change). The traditional skills are also less necessary as a result of today's technology. You can do stuff on a five-axis machine that you can't using traditional methods, and economics forces manufacturers further down that road. Plus economic arguments are outsourcing our manufacturing base.

What I didn't realize when I was at school was that these traditional skills are classified as art and still taught at specialist establishments; you can become a cabinet maker or boatmaker still but it is often a middle-class choice. Practical skills are not popular or common, perhaps only being passed on to children who share an interest in their parents' hobbies - a thing which is so uncool there will be a further diminution there.

Life skills now seem to be the ability to text with speed about insignificant gossip. Is being popular more important than being fulfilled? It's best not to worry too much, there are no vacancies for file makers any more, maybe we really don't need some of these skills, or if we do can we import them?

I've been back in electronics for 9 years now.

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#49
In reply to #4

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 7:15 PM

Admittedly we also dont need such skills as bronze swordsmith any more also. there was a time when this was one of the most valuable skilled labors. At one time we didn't go to school to learn these skills, actually not that many years ago, my grandfather learned carpentry through aprprenticeship, he didn't graduate 6th grade, and he was only born in 1921. In the 1950s we got the bright idea to teach shop to boys and home economic to girls in our high schools, and it really is not of much use in modern society, since girls work just like boys now and we have computerized machines to do woodworking that we used human labor for in the 1950s (the beginning age of cookie cutter housing developments and urban sprawl). Every skill set transitions as people discover better, more efficient ways to conserve labor and improve production. Imagine how much of a hit horse shoing took with the invention of the car (admittedly a much slower transition).

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#51
In reply to #49

Re: Practical skills education

06/30/2009 8:19 PM

RCE I think you missed a point some of us were making. Yes its true that we no longer need some of the skills in our daily life. But we do still need the understanding of the underlying principle and the techniques needed to make it work. The knowledge of what it takes to make an alloy is still significant. You mentioned computerized machines for wood working. The people who first developed them had to understand the basics of wood working in order to correctly design the automated machines.

People who have absolutely no concept of how things work and lack any mechanical skills in using tools are such clutzes they injure themselve trying to do even the simplest tasks. They are the people who fall victim to over priced trades who charge an arm and a leg to do even the simplest task.

I was given a garden tractor because the board members figured it was not repairable. Parts will cost me $160 and it will take me two days to tear it down, rebore the cylinder and install new piston and rings. I might not even need a new piston.

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#111
In reply to #49

Re: Practical skills education

07/01/2009 11:26 PM

And without intending in any way to insult the practitioners of all those skills you say are now not needed, guess who does them.

Strikes me as self imposed blindness.

j.

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#139
In reply to #111

Re: Practical skills education

07/06/2009 11:23 AM

those who do what, make bronze swords?

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#5

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/29/2009 8:06 AM

That was the same with us, but these skills was not only taught in school, but in organizations such as 4H............

And our high school, our curriculum resembled an industry arts /vocational school with tools that exceed actual trade schools, I had learned back in the eighties, some school board members felt that this was a waste of their taxpayer money and it was eliminated.......while some of the sports curricula remained even though they had such a hard time getting enough students to put a team together they actual had to merge with one of our rivals schools.

Then back in the earlier 2000-2001, they (school board) decided that the students did not have basic practical skills....and brought back some of the industrial arts programs.....funny thing happened, so did the interests on extra curricular activities such as football, baseball, soccer, track......that, they separated from the Ravel school and began competing.

Could these basic skills such as metal working, wood working, automotive or graphic arts have a link to motivating a student physical to take up a sport. I would think so.

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#8

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/29/2009 12:16 PM

When trying to hire a few technicians many, many years ago (~30?), I came to the conclusion that my generation was rearing a bunch of "button pushers," and unfortunately, I was right.

I grew up tinkering with things wood and metal, and I can't remember a time beyond the age of 14 years that I couldn't figure out how to do something.

It's a shame . . .

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/29/2009 2:07 PM

well one has to look at the family structure also.......I was raised on a farm, were no matter how old you were, you were responsible for a job to get done........whether it be getting 10 acres of hay in with rain on the horizon, mom and dad gone to a function, and its only you and your 12 year old twin sister, and the knotter on the baler is giving you problems, or the whole family gone and the barn cleaner breaks down...........because your 12 years old, and you let it go too long. You bust ass to get it fixed before your dad comes home, so you would not catch hell for putting off cleaning barn, till the gutters were over flowing.

Funny how fear can be one hell of a motivator, and bring out the ingenuity in a 12 year old person.....

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#64
In reply to #8

Re: Practical Skills Education

07/01/2009 10:31 AM

When I was 14 I was gunsmithing. Not making guns from scratch but repairing the actions of peoples guns. I started out by just taking my Dad's guns apart and putting them back together. I got pretty good at it and never had any manual.

Many mechanics learned the trade from their Dad's garage messing around with engines. I knew a kid that at the age of five made his own powered tricycle by putting a lawn mower engine on the tricycle. This same kid at the age of two was handing his Dad tools for auto repair before his Dad would ask for them. That comes from just getting your kids involved at an early age.

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#10

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/29/2009 7:53 PM
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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/29/2009 11:04 PM

Milo,

Are you the author of that essay?

If so you will recognize this essay on the primary author of the theoretical and social base of the question which some here might be offended at but is parallel to the essay you post and which I would urge all to read.

http://faculty.frostburg.edu/phil/forum/Marx.htm

j.

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#18
In reply to #12

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 9:11 AM

I am not.

This is likely as close as I got to writing that essay:

http://www.productionmachining.com/articles/career-in-the-precision-machining-industry-what39s-in-it-for-you.aspx

And here's a similar:

http://www.productionmachining.com/articles/keeping-jobs-in-north-america.aspx

I'll check out Karl's piece. When I'm not at work. Mustn't let the busybodies see me reading subversive litratur...

milo

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#20
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Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 10:09 AM

I met a guy who was one year away from retirement age. He was a machinist operating an ESD machining center. We got talking and he told me the company he worked for did not have a replacement person despite having advertised for almost a year. In other words when this man retired, the company would lose their one and only ESD operator. So how would they be able to stay in business?

Although they did do various mundane jobs, the ESD was central to their main product lines. This was not a cookie cutter operation. He had to know how to set up each job and in some cases manufacture the tooling to suit. Then he had to monitor and adjust the machine as the job progressed. According to him the current would sometimes have to be adjusted and the voltage had to be maintained within limits. With each new job the cutting electrode had to be shaped to suit.

How many other companies are ther like that. As their aging staff quits or die off from illness, the companies will disappear.

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#23
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Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 10:25 AM

How many companies are there like that? here's scoop in US

362,829 in "manufacturing;"

27393 in "machining alone."

http://www.census.gov/epcd/ec97/industry/E3327.HTM

these aren't the latest census figures, but they are a good benchmark for discussion, even allowing that 20% of them have probabl;y closed in the last few years.

milo

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#104
In reply to #20

Re: Practical Skills Education

07/01/2009 8:39 PM

Now there is one, an ESD machine.

I had read somewhere in the past about manufacturing or repair processes that depended on the deposition of thin films to build up parts or products.

Didn't know there were machines designed to do such electrostatically. Now I do.

j.

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#13
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Re: Practical Skills Education

06/29/2009 11:05 PM

Is this true? If so, then how are youngsters going to be taught the basic practical life-skills needed, and what does this bode for the future of Engineering as a set of practical disciplines?

Youngsters are not going to learn. Practical skills are dying out. I attended a Science Trades and Technology course wher we learned all the various trades.

One time I happened to drive b ymy old highschool and noticed the entire wing was closed down. Found out this was also happening elsewhere. When I inquired as to why I was told the School Boards were afraid of liability issues in the event of an accident. Well Gee!! We never had any accidents when I went to school nor have I heard of any serious mishaps elsewhere.

We are already losing the technical initiative. We have exported our manufacturing base and that leaves only a bunch of computer literate mouse herders. When they suddenly discover they cannot get something repaired and they have no job with which to pay for new imports it will be too late.

Thank goodness I have my skills intact. Just finished building a greenhouse for the wife and I am setting up my garage with a workshop. With no jobs coming in for my design work I am going to set up shop as a Mr. 'fix - it'. I lost track of how many things I fished out of a dumpster and restored to working condition with an hour or so of tinkering. With so many people out of work they can't afford to buy new replacements sbut they may have a bit of money to get something repaired.

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#40
In reply to #13

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 2:26 PM

The decline of the empire is what we are facing imho.. thats why I asked What If? So what if North America had Affordable Trades Education?

Chris

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#11

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/29/2009 11:01 PM

My kids learned in my garage, despite a couple of schools that still had shops, never could seem to get my kids in. But they were popular.

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#14

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 12:26 AM

Because a school workshop costs money, and costs are more important than the quality of our education these days.

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#17

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 7:54 AM

When I was in junior high school we had to take a variety of industrial arts classes. Printing, woodshop metal shop and drafting. While these classes were but a mere introduction they opened my eyes to an area that I was not fully aware of. In conjunction with that my father, who immigrated in '52 with no money and an agricultural job, had to figure out how fix many things in the home. Being a curious little rat I always dogged him, probably driving him nuts with questions and the sort. He passed a lot of information on to me along with the realization that most projects are no insurmountable if you study and research the problems.

Today I still use many of the basic skills learned in my youth at home and at work as a clinical engineer for a cancer center. I regret the fact that the emphasis on these basics has waned in our school systems. And like many have stated the children and young adults of today do not take an interest in "fixing" or making things. I guess if they can buy it or have their family buy it that will suffice.

Bob

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#19

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 9:14 AM

I have so many friends that can't do even the basic things like replacing an electrical outlet or a switch. I'm surprised they know how to change a light bulb.

Even after the kid cut off his 2 fingers on the table saw in shop class I still wanted to use the thing. And the fact that my father was a machinist also meant he fixed everything himself, thus I learned a lot from him. Though I've discovered over the years he didn't always do things like electrical work in the best way possible. He still did the work in a safe manner. I'm trying to teach my kids some of the basics but the oldest just isn't interested at all. The youngest at least tries to learn. But his attention span is about 2 minutes max. Now we have a 15 year old daughter too and shes helping me with almost everything. So she'll be able to do the basics at least. She even asked me to show her how to change the oil & filter on the car.

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#103
In reply to #19

Re: Practical Skills Education

07/01/2009 8:24 PM

When the other two get to see what she is capable of perhaps they will want to learn too.

j.

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#21

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 10:16 AM

PWSLACK,

There was a similar forum by ROGER PINK recently and lots of inputs had been discussed about HANDS ON PRACTICE.

Today's visual gadgets likeT.V and computers are making kids to be good players on computer screens and not to reality much.

In many schools, polytechnics and engineering colleges, practicals are just for curriculum formality and no much serious emphasis is being given by way of serious conduction and even cooked up values.are being encouraged.

The main drive is towards marks and ranks and grades and not much on practical talents. Many teachers opting direct career in teaching without practical exposure also add fuel to this.

The best part one can do is to encourage hobbies with value skills. During leisure time and holidays kids can be sent to workshops of various disciplines to put hands on work and gain skills to perform jobs.

A house should possess basic tools and kids are to be instructed on how to use.Inspire them to develop common sense and a sense of readiness to try small fabrications and repair works based on analytical approach.

In schools mini projects play most importance and should be encouraged, forget about total success, the effortfulness is of at most importance.

Grooming kids with values and an outlook with common sense is a total responsibility of the elder community in all walks of the child. Ultimately Education should teach how to apply learmed knowledge to new sitiations and the learning process is an endless affair to all of us.

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#26
In reply to #21

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 10:39 AM

Where I live the Adult School has classes almost all those trades.

I learned from my Grandfather and Dad.

I learned to frame houses on the job. It seems that as long as you are willing to learn the small construction outfits will hire and train you. I learned to roof houses that way too.

I built and installed a section of cabinet in a kitchen that fit perfectly without any training.

I also build a futon that worked perfectly, made from old wood recovered from a 100 year old house. The wood was a red oak 6" x 12" beam that I cut down into boards and cut out most of the bug damage. No training, just the ability to figure it out.

I took metal shop and wood shop in Junior High School for one semester and never used any of those skills until I was well into my 30's. I started working in a fabrication shop 12 years ago and have been here since, however I have moved up to the engineering to manufacture machinery.

On the Job Training.

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#28
In reply to #26

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 10:59 AM

JANISSARIES,

G.A, there is a saying here in INDIA ' the packed parcel food never lasts long and the taught lessons also never find use longer' meaning that one got to be always effort ful to handle new situations and needs. Inspiration and creativity are inseparable aspects of constructive works. So to say the first human who built a house was not an engineer from university, the first dressmaker was not a formally qualified tailor. Self drive for learning and performance is of reality value and makes one self supportive.

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#24

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 10:26 AM

very interesting question posed .

would any of you be surprised to know that in the U.S. , Congress has decreed that an aircraft mechanic , licensed by the FAA. , is considered semi ~ skilled labour.

that'z the same catagory as a ditch digger.

think i'm gonna teach your children to do that ?

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#25
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Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 10:35 AM

Ahuha wrote: in the U.S. , Congress has decreed that an aircraft mechanic , licensed by the FAA. , is considered semi ~ skilled labour.

Whan can you expect from unskilled labor such as bureaucrats and politicians?

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#27
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Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 10:44 AM

garbage in = garbage out .. tried and tested..

but i suspect the Railway Labour Act.

looking for the very nice gold platted bowl to set out...

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#80
In reply to #25

Re: Practical Skills Education

07/01/2009 12:20 PM

GA but politicians and bureaucrats do have skills though neither practical nor applicable to any mean use other than obfuscation.

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#98
In reply to #25

Re: Practical Skills Education

07/01/2009 5:13 PM

Why include 'labor' in it?

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#31
In reply to #24

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 12:50 PM

Well, one good thing....the so called dig diggers that works in our county (county highway employees), makes more than an engineer, and pension and bennies that is hard to beat.

government workers, that I believe are union also.

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#35
In reply to #31

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 1:12 PM

as were the air traffic controllers,..being hired by the county government is a little different than being subjected to the whims of the bankruptcy courts over pensions.

wage grade( gs ) vs collusion and contempt..

imho.

ahuha

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#105
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Re: Practical Skills Education

07/01/2009 8:48 PM

Congressmen should be confronted, when they are about to board a plane, with signs saying "This plane maintained by semi-skilled labor, i.e., ditch diggers" or something like that.

Talk about ignorance!

j.

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#121
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Re: Practical Skills Education

07/02/2009 8:54 AM

Reminds me of the movie Armagedon.......

When the actor rookie astronaut (can't remember his name good actor though) reassures the other rookie actornauts.

Something to the effect of, isn't it reaasuring to know your are in a machine with 15 million parts supplied by the lowest bidder.

phoenix911

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#130
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Re: Practical Skills Education

07/02/2009 2:02 PM

Steve Buscemi

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#127
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Re: Practical Skills Education

07/02/2009 12:15 PM

ever see a congreessman in any place but 1st class? free drinks..

long as the flight attendant can serve em..or did i just bring my own ?

bet they dont have to take their shoes off 1st. ,, ....

opps ..

my contempt is starting to show. ...

Ahuha!!

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#29

Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 11:50 AM

Hmm, well considering most of the people educated before WWII did not receive any "practical" skills training in school either, I guess the quality of engineering will be similar to what it was prior to the 1970s.

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#32
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Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 12:51 PM

Aren't you forgetting that North America relied heavily on skilled trade immigrants from Europe up to about mid to late seventies. The national railroad network in the east was built largely by Irish navvies and European railroad engineers figured prominently in many of the early design and construction. German and English machinists also played a significant part in setting up eastern manufacturing plants.

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#46
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Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 5:32 PM

Lol, I noticed you left the chinese out, when discussing the unskilled railroad labor of the 1800's, and they actually had to develop more impressive techniques for the times, considering the regions they crossed was vastly more troublesome and complicated. At one point all the americans were British, French, or German almost. The thing to consider is not that there is some trade school skills that are not of any value in modern society being taught in schools, like they were in the 1950s and 1960s (that should tell you your parents thought you were going to be doing for a career back then). Remember at one time the engineers learn the trade skills they needed from mentoring by their bosses and superiors in the practice of business, this is really what we have lost in a this time of project managers with no technical skills and corporate bottom lines. Really that training is what you do not see much now, when you compare it to pre WW II engineers. Though it could be related to the rapid expansion in technology and the fact that many of these older senior personnel are not really qualified to train anyone in current methods, with a few exception. What they are really qualified to do now it seems is market, sell and get something that works somewhat, as long as there is no computer modeling or CAD. I don't know of one civil engineer over 50 who knows CAD adequately to do his own project drafting or how to use Haested methods to model conveyance, they must have technicians on staff to do these things for them and younger engineers to review the outputs for quality control. So what you see is a transition from a more hands based concept to a more mind based concept of engineering, and a huge technological skills gap occurring between about 3 generations. Obiously there tend to be complaints from those falling behind technologically as they feel the pressure, much like the auto workers uions did 20 years ago against automation of factories (remember they felt they were skilled and automation could not replace them, except Toyota had already done it and produced better quality products). Everyone as they age wants to feel that their skills learn in youth are of increasing value, but in truth knowing they are of decreasing value they see thing through a perspective of losing valued skills to technological advancements and changes in society that must equate to a social decline.

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#50
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Re: Practical Skills Education

06/30/2009 8:01 PM

I was talking about the skilled jobs such as the surveyors who picked the route to begin with. And the engineers who designed the engines and carriages pulled behind the engine. I was also talking about the skilled people who laid the track ensuring it went in the right direction and was laid level or maintained the correct slope. Ever see the tables of chords needed to form a gradual curve? Not only were the tables made by skilled people, but it took some skill to understand and interpret them. since the early engines could not pull more than a 4% grade it took some skill to build to that criteria. Lay the track at 5% slope and the engine could not pull a heavy load up.

The chinese workforce was mainly used in he west and developed startling techniques for blowing off their heads in a hurry. That is perhaps a skill that should stay lost. They did however also develop an ability to find gold dust in just about every creek they crossed. Their most enduring skill however was as cooks and restauranteurs. Every whistle stop village now seem to have a chinese food place. It remains a question as to whether or not the culinary expertise is skillful.

When I was referring to the European skilled trades I was referring to the machinist and milwrights who built the foundries, mills, and production lines to build the track and the train engines and carriages as well as the track mounted cranes used in laying the track ahead of the engines. Remember the first trains were built in England and then the technology was brought over afterwards. The fist canals were also designed over in Europe.

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#66
In reply to #50

Re: Practical Skills Education

07/01/2009 11:08 AM

Actually, I think if you do a little research you would find the first canals were designed in Mesopotamia and Egypt. I am surprised that you would consider the irish track layers working on relatively flat slopes more skillful than the chinese working on severe slopes, building bidges and many other technologies needed to maintain the grades through the highest mountains in the contiguous US. You seem a bit eurocentric.

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#69
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Re: Practical Skills Education

07/01/2009 11:20 AM

And don't overlook the intricate network of tunnels the Chinese dug under Los Angeles. Some of which haven't even been explored and are roped off. Those tunnels are still there.

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