September 28, 2016

Published: November 1, 2004

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Mike Rose’s article “Double Shift” [Comment, August/ September] brought out some important points. I am an industrial arts teacher at Washington Middle School in Missouri. After several years of teaching and running a carpentry and cabinet business, I have come to see the importance of integrating academics with vocational skills. Experience has taught me that a valuable synergy develops from such an approach. The benefits of hands-on science are obvious, but academics in the shop are powerful. I’ve had students come to my class vexed by the task of adding fractions, but when the practice is combined with lessons on reading the ruler, success is often achieved. Students learn the Pythagorean theorem in my class first, along with the process of squaring up their bookcase projects. The challenge is to develop a curriculum around meaningful objectives that facilitate problem-solving, and there is no better place to observe students solving problems than in a well-run school shop. The longer I teach this subject, the more I realize the potential to enhance my students’ lives through my shop [class].

Mike Smith
Washington, Missouri

Vol. 16, Issue 03, Page 6

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