Hall 1101-351

Do you think that schools should reintroduce vocational skills classes to prepare students for opportunities outside of white collar professions? Why or why not?Be sure to get specific—use examples from your own life, the lives of those you know or the media. Also, make sure your own claims are in conversation with Crawford’s (that is, if you make a claim that blue collar labor is useless, then find a quote of Crawford’s on the subject of blue collar labor with which you can agree or disagree.)

Today’s younger generations work to do more than just settle down. With all the influences in today’s media of powerful multi-talented entrepreneurs , it leaves a strong urge to over achieve and perfect a skill. As an example, I hear a lot about Rihanna and how impressive she is for her successful music career, and makeup line, and now her lingerie line. Our current society craves successful renaissance women and men. Speaking from personal experience of myself and the peers I grew up with. Failure is not felt in a GPA, but in not excelling at the skills that can build into a reliable passion. A reliable passion being something you can not only support yourself off of, but also feel proud of. When a person can work on less general skills that go towards a specific task , or even a profession, it makes it easier to not only care about what you’re doing. This makes it so that education is not seen as separate from real life. Having the open opportunity to struggle and improve in a single field of knowledge that is cared about, by the student, is tremendously more self improving than going through random subjects blindly without personal motive. As a person who is a product of a vocational school myself, I do believe that the reintroduction of vocational skill classes should be implemented.
In a way there is a huge value taken out of education when passion and profession is not mixed. The whole point of the education system is to prepare the next generation to enter “the real world”. I can’t fathom how that would be possible if the time that would otherwise be used to practice real life skills is used instead only for courses that provide , mainly, unusable information for many. With so much modern day emphasis on praising those who becoming professionals in a field, It is only relevant to provide educational classes that aid people in doing so. Crawford states, “The satisfaction of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy… craftsmanship must reckon with the infallible judgment of reality. Where one’s failures or shortcomings cannot be interpreted away(page 9 )”, what I believe Crawford means in this statement is that by nature people want to find personal gratification in the work that they do. When a skill set is put to use in a person’s life it becomes their own way of measuring self-achievement. I agree completely with this statement based off of my own life experience. Being lucky enough to attend a high school where I majored in fashion design, I have learned the pride that comes from completing one of my own works and bring an idea into reality. Craftsmanship allows someone to interact with the world around them in a way where there thoughts can manifest into a physical and functional being. Of course with education for occupational skills they can be a starting point for mental independence in career orientated decisions. Students that I grew up with put in extreme amounts of independent thinking on how to go about projects as if they were actually working in the fields they were studying. In a way having vocational classes did make us feel like every project was a direct reflection of real career paths since we were studying on a focused craft that was useful and sentimental to us. If the only classes provided in schools are not career oriented then I do not see how innovative thinking can be implemented on people who are not studying what they can create, but instead only on what has already been done.
It used to take me by surprise to see how as high school dragged on my peers seemed to stress out less about every single grade they got and would instead prioritize their grades in comparison to other school activities and outside responsibilities. Come by senior year most of my peers just wanted to pass what they needed to and excel in what they loved. Given that our school provided different majors in art and business, and performance programs in sports and theater that all required specific efforts and balanced grades, students took themselves and what they were doing seriously. Grades are not the only thing that matter. This of course should come as no surprise to anyone.. Grades are only grades until they are used to measure and, hopefully in a good way, impact subjects of personal importance to the one who receives them. When Crawford writes, “The well-founded pride of the tradesman is far from the gratuitous ‘self-esteem’ that educators would impart to students as though by magic(page 9 paragraph 1)”, Crawford is claiming that grades alone do not build character if the knowledge learned by the student cannot be proven effective in a real life scenario. The false self-esteem comes from students successful memorizing and spitting back out random information that is not important to achieve long term goals. Getting straight A’s is great, but not if information regarding the individuals personal interest beyond standard academics is not taught. Having a high GPA certainly won’t be enough to invoke passion and self-motivation in a career setting. Which is what makes giving vocational class options so great. They provide a simulated experience of what using real trade knowledge is like. This way students can be educated in a way where they will develop parts of their character they hadn’t previously needed to.
I don’t believe that it’s easier to go to a vocational school than it is to go to a more ,so to say , basic school. However I am saying that it seems easier to care about going to school when there is guaranteed to be one subject that you want to build off of for a long period of time. Not to just study a topic lightly for a semester and then move on to the next and newest “vital” information. I for one dislike going to school in general. Which I know is not the same experience for everyone, yet I believe that the only thing that kept me interested in school was the fact that I got to study something I found enriching and that I had chosen to study. According to Crawford, “…there is nothing new about American future-ism. What is new is the wedding of future-ism to…a vision of the future in which we somehow take leave of material reality and glide about in a pure information economy(page8)”, in other words, Crawford is saying that for American school systems, in trying to move society into having a more versatile workforce, have instead set up unrealistic and unreliable foundations for it’s students. Students are learning a random mash up of information in place of being able to learn how to go about focusing on an actual field of knowledge. Being able to study fashion and fashion construction set me up to follow a career path that I was already interested with a more informed and developed mindset for it. I do believe that the same use can go to others who take up vocational classes and studies that they feel drawn to.
In order for today’s education system to provide its student s with the kind of education people want to receive, vocational classes should be available for a variety of fields. This way students feel free to experiment and test out what kind of careers they want to peruse after high school is over. It is vital for students to not be coddled in every class, having nothing but a grade to measure their success. When school criteria is too general and vague it deprives the students of time that should have been spent on developing personal interest with the skills to match. Interest in performing manual works have not gone out of style so the education freely available should reflect that.