1101-391 Language and Identity.

Erik Yan

Dr.Carrie Hall


I think schools should reintroduce vocational skill classes to prepare students for opportunities outside of white collar professions because vocational skills are hard skills students can actually learn and have for the rest of their lives.  Schools today are teaching students the knowledge of how things work to get students to really think about whatever they are doing. Schools in the past, which taught shop class helped teach students hard career driven skills which I believe is pretty beneficial because it helps you develop other skills that can only be developed while actually being out and doing that task. By actually experiencing and honing on that vocational skills you become skilled in that one art which in turn kind of should make one feel satisfied because they now know they can do that skill well. I am further supported when it states “Craftsmanship entails learning to do one thing really well,” (Crawford, 2009, p.11). This shows that the author also believes that people should be proud of the skill they have mastered instead of potentially having skills but are not too sure because they have not gone out and tried the newly learned skills. I think being hands on and actually getting to experience the skills that are being taught to you through vocational classes really help you to see how the “real world” is like. What I mean by the “real world” is all the experiences outside of school, like working. Doing one thing really well can help someone obtain a job in a field they have technically “mastered”. Companies hire someone they know will help them make money,  the companies would lean more to hiring someone with previous skills that apply for that job than someone who has knowledge of it but not any actually experience. Crawford believes that schools should bring back vocational skills, he mentions about how people feel more compelled in being successful at something than knowing they might be successful at it.

The author also brings up how in today’s way of teaching, it has become the teachings of more overall knowledge instead of learning hard skills where it kind of keeps you only in one field of study. The schools are teaching students multiple different things which are not specific to any field may not always guarantee you will be successful when you finish school and get a job. If they brought back vocational studies in school, the student may have a higher chance of getting a job than the student not learning vocational skills because the student who has vocational classes will have skills he can immediately use when he gets the job. People also feel more satisfied in something they know how to do. For instance, “As Sennett argues, most people take pride in being good at something specific, which happens through the accumulation of experience.” (Crawford, 2009, p.11). This indicates that people are really prideful in the things they do. If they had vocational classes to teach them skills required in the field, they will feel a lot more prideful of themselves because they know they can do that specific task really well. I feel like jobs will look more for people with skills than someone with no skills. I don’t think companies would want to take a chance on someone who knows to do it but is not proficient at it. Companies do not want to lose money. This quote is basically Crawford trying to say that people appreciate more of themselves for the skills that they know themselves to be able to do. In the beginning of the article Crawford brings up how people who created their own things will not be as likely to throw out that item and get a new one. Instead that person would try to repair that item because they have an emotional connection to it. Bringing back vocational classes helps a person be more prepared and engaged in the field of work they are doing. The vocational classes are almost like a trial of what it is to actually work.

A lot of my friends have told me that you want to kind of have a good amount of things in your resume so that companying’s can hire you because it would seem that you have had a lot of experience. Having a lot of experience can help you find quicker and easier ways to do that certain task. For instance, “In early work with HyperGami, we often ran into situations in which the program provided us with a folding net that was mathematically correct-i.e., technically correct unfolding of the desired solid-but otherwise disastrous.” (Crawford, 2009, p.13). This demonstrates that there are ways to do a task but that method may not be the best method of doing so. In the example, they used origami in a program to create pyramid. The program created the pyramid but not really well. It’s almost like discovering a life hack to make things easier. The program did create the pyramid correctly but realistically that method is not viable. Crawford also explains how doing the origami pyramid by hand was much better than how the program created it. This applies to the real world because getting to experience skills needed in the actual working field can be taught through the vocational classes and therefore will help a person prepare for the field they are going to enter and excel their skills in. The vocational classes will help be hands on and develop those vocational skills for whatever career they are going to do. I feel that having vocational classes also helps to introduce someone into what the field would be like. Then you can see if you like that career or not.

Therefore, schools should reintroduce vocational classes to prepare students for opportunities outside of white collar jobs. I think having vocational classes would help me to decide what I want to do as a career because schools teaching general knowledge just doesn’t help me know what I am really good at. If I were able to try out some vocational classes and be hands on, I would find out if I can picture doing that career in the future. Vocational classes should be brought back to help students like me figure out what jobs to get into by getting a little experience of how that type of work actually is.


Tags: Crawford

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