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Hands On Literally!!


Kevin English, Teacher, Career and Technical Education, Peoria High School, Raymond S. Kellis High School, Peoria Unified School District, Peoria, AZ
Posted on Tuesday 29th September 2009

Twenty three years of teaching and I still love it! I’ve been teaching high school students in welding, agriculture and construction and found that using a hands-on approach is the best method for student achievement. When students do, they learn. Pretty simple concept! Looking at the alternative energy and sustainable construction techniques, equipment, methods and teaching to a level of comprehension, the most successful technique is applied, hands-on learning.

With the attention span of my students being relatively small, they need to get involved and do it quickly otherwise I will lose them to other not so productive courses of action. Lectures are action packed and concepts need to be applied immediately. Real world equipment at hand is critical so the students can see and touch it. Showing pictures, power points and slides does not cut it with my students. Designing lessons that are dynamic, technically intense, with hands-on practice of the application is vital for my students to succeed.

Alternative energy and sustainable construction are hot topics in today’s world. Industry professionals see this as an emerging career area and are asking schools and instructors to teach students these applications. As an instructor I need to be creative in my teaching, I do not have all the state of the art industry equipment available. I also need training from my industry partners to keep abreast of new developments and techniques used in the field. With this knowledge I continually update my curriculum and find innovative ways to teach and engage my students in the learning process.

I read a lot of industry magazines, catalogs, and meet with Industry partners, design new teaching units and practice my skills. You will see two approaches to Alternative Energy Curriculums in the future. Those schools that dedicate specific programs to Alternative Energy and those schools that choose to address it across their curriculum. Both strategies will need a hands-on real world application for the courses to be successful and meaningful to our students!

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