We are all about hands-on learning.
We hope that’s obvious.
For too long, our public education system relegated “technical” education to a second-tier status. The shop. The auto repair kids. “Home Economics” came-and went.
Schools promoted “sitting and getting.” The old idea was a “sage on the stage” (a teacher) who talked while students sat, passively, learning.
Or not learning.
Recently, that’s begun to change. The trend is toward active learning, active student participation, and a recognition that students who work with their hands—to create, to build, to fix, to understand anything—are valuable to the well-being of society.
Now, at last, it’s okay to do things while you learn!
That’s why we were thrilled to see the proposal this month from the White House for a $900 million increase in the federal funding for Career Technical Education (CTE).
Federal programs supporting CTE have been chromically underfunded for decades so this is a welcome shot-in-the-arm for sure—even if it doesn’t make up all the ground that’s been lost.
But here is the main point: hands-on learning is critical.
Students who learn by doing—with their hands—learn to appreciate its power.
Students who learn by doing—with their hands—should never be made to feel somehow inferior in any way, shape, or form.
Students who learn by doing—with their hands—may feel more connected to schools and the learning process. (Hey, it’s relevant! There might be a career here!)
A recent study (2017) found that “CTE can motivate students to attend school more frequently and be more engaged, and therefore improve core academic skills.”
See how that works?
A student in career and technical becomes more curious and interested in understanding that “core academic skills” are also important.
Human anatomy is daunting. We get it.
With 630 muscles, 206 bones, and all the detail—it can seem overwhelming at first. You could spend a lifetime exploring and understanding one organ or the function of a critical component, like the eyes or ears. The detail is, quite frankly, endless.
But, as we like to say around here: The mind cannot forget what the hands have learned.
Your doctor. Your massage therapist. Your nurse in the hospital. Your surgeon. Your occupational therapist. Your yoga teacher. Your Pilates instructor.
Would you rather they had some hands-on experience with the human body? Or that they just studied a book?
Here’s to Career Technical Education.
Long may it run.