The editor of Practical Welding Today received an e-mail from an advisory committee member of last years Practical Welding Today's Teacher of the Year explaining the program's success.
Guided mastery is a series of small successes where the student is set-up to succeed. Imagine being a student, and every day your instructor sets you up to win while all you have to do is keep coming back.
A funny thing about this process is over time there is a sense that you can change the world. Students who have had a guided mastery experience tend to work harder, persevere longer, feel more resilient toward any small failure, and apply their confidence to other things in life.
Guided Mastery has been around for a long time under a variety of names. Start with the simple and work to the complex taking small bites so each step is mastered. Probably the most common and the most successful approach used in vocational education. If you wish to delve deeper into educational theory, no better spot than The Wisdom of the Hands on the sidebar.
The April edition of the Welding Journal has a special feature on welding education. There is a huge listing of trade schools/colleges/universities offering welding related training along with a couple of articles featuring outstanding welding programs. However, what I found most interesting were the articles about how Hollywood and the movie industry uses welding. I'd never really given this much thought before but there's a lot of welding and fabricating in the movie industry. They make a lot of cool "one-off" stuff. Having a job like that could be a whole lot of fun.
And from one of the most unlikely sources of career advice, in the Odd Angry Shot column in the current issue of Guns magazine, John Conner presents an imaginary address to the graduating college class of 2014. Here's a couple of paragraphs but it should really be read in total.
Bummer, huh? You've been pumped fulla sunshine about being the "best and the brightest," and your future is all unicorns and rainbows? Well I'm not Willy Wonka - I don't sugar coat crap. I'll give it to you straight up, with no soda, no ice and tell you two things: First, "happily ever after" is so-o-o-o "once upon a time." Second, yes, you can have a good life if right now you stop "being educated" and start learning.
If your degree doesn't apply directly to building things, fixing broken things or keeping things running - whether it's natural gas turbines or human organs, diesel-electric engines or logistic delivery systems - you might rethink your plans for a bicycle tour of Europe this summer, and work at getting a certificate in welding. Go for a ticket in pressure vessel welding and right away you'll be making more than 90 percent of your classmates while you're trying to figure out what the heck you ever thought you could do with a Master's in counter-cultural theory or feminist theory.
The field of work isn't important, as long as it falls under building, fixing or maintaining, and you have more than a scrap of university parchment in your bona fides folder. Under-served by education and stuck with a crippled, regulated-to-death economy, you may in fact be America's lowest-qualified graduates facing the toughest job market in nearly a century. You can snivel and whine about it, or become the toughest, most determined and job-skilled grad in your class. You may have a high IQ, but if you've been entertained, flattered and indoctrinated by a dysfunctional system rather than educated, and can't deal psychologically with stiff competition for a decent job, well... I don't know of a single paying position open anywhere for a brilliant sissy with high but unearned self-esteem.
Definitely not Willy Wonka, that's for sure, but that ticket in pressure vessel welding he talks about is what will get you the $150K per year the article in the Wall Street Journal was addressing in my recent post. Speaking of which, the Wall Street Journal also had an article about apprenticeship programs the other day. I'm not sure why these fell out of favor but from a common sense angle they're often the perfect solution. A person receives on the job training and additional classroom training, typically provided by the company/trade or through a community college. Therefore the student learns the "hands on"skills the company is looking for in house and related theory at the local community college, often receiving a two year degree in the process.