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Teacher of Hearing Impaired in MS

What a shame that our world

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What a shame that our world has disheartened the future generations against becoming the productive citizens they choose to be because they are concerned about being belittled that they aren't trying to become what others expect them to become. I completely agree that Vocational education should be highly valued. My support is FOR vocational education to continue and if that means speaking out at my local level, I commit to doing so.

Striking a Balance

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It is interesting to note the differences across cultures. Here in the Caribbean, aspects of vocational education are introduced to students as early as primary school. I would not say there is no stigma attached to various vocations, but it is indeed limited and students are encouraged to utilize their vocational strengths to help learning in other academic areas.

As you have stressed, educating individuals, particularly parents, is necessary for vocational education to be effective. Students too should be guided to understand that their desires are valuable and their occupation choices are quite necessary to society.

Nonetheless, teachers should not hinder students from using their skills during learning. They should capitalize on such opportunities to awake in each student the ability to be someone great someday whether it is a blue collar or white collar job, by starting with the balance between the academic and vocational.

Seventh and Eighth Grade Art Teacher and Summer Camp Director

Vocation vs. Academic attitude

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As an art teacher, I think student performance is sometimes tedious because of the stigma discussed here. The value placed on "professional, white-collar jobs" causes many students to recalibrate their engagement level in my class. Students associate the "core subjects" with the higher-achieving, status-improving jobs and tend to "relax" when attending the "special area" classes. I was drawn to this article because I believe in my suburban, independent school community, what are called "special area" classes are the closest thing to vocational classes we have.
How do we combat these attitudes to insure excellent student performance when society and the school community tell our students that our discipline is second-rate?

NBCT, Fine Arts teacher, grades 9-12, Larkspur, Ca.

integrated "everything"

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I agree that a high school education that includes vocational programs along with academics lets students develop their interests and talents. Why do we need to label students as being in one or another of these tracks? We don't need to justify anything we study as valuable preparation for a specific job because everything we learn and experience becomes integrated into ourselves. People used to say to me when I was a little girl, "Oh, you are going to be an artist when you grow up," because I was so artistic. Well, I do lots of things with that art ability and interest, which also includes many other interests.

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