by Harry Snyder
“Will I need to know this?” It’s a question that students often ask about school subjects and assignment. They want to know the practical use of the knowledge they’re gaining. At Great Oaks and other career campuses, much of what students do during their career labs has an immediate real-world application. Making that connection between learning and life is important, and English instructor Steve Tracy does that in a unique way. An annual assignment in his classroom requires students to choose and read a book and then create an original project to demonstrate knowledge of the book.
Some students will do more traditional projects—written essays, for instance—but others will take the career skills they’re learning and apply them to the English assignment. Digital Arts students may do a comic book or illustrations. Students who are used to building and assembling in their career labs might create a diorama. And this year the most unique project was Landen Pitcher’s. A Welding student, he welded a model of the Furnace Penitentiary, the setting of the Escape from Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. His model included welds that showed the rough texture of the walls described in the stories and other elements were included as well. “The author was very detailed,” said Pitcher, “and I liked that. I appreciate the details.”
The point is to apply hands-on learning and experiences to help understand and value literature. “It’s all about having a choice and being able to focus on what you’re passionate about,” said instructor Steve Tracy. “So many of our students have enormous talent that can’t always be utilized within traditional, educational assignments. This project allows them demonstrate their creativity in a variety of ways, and helps them connect those passions to literature; whether that’s drawing and writing, or using the skills they’ve learned in lab to create and build. Plus, it also adds another book to their repertoire.”
Knowledge is valuable. Activities like this that connect knowledge, skills, and experiences are even more so. We appreciate our instructors, who are able to make those connections.
For more information about potential careers in our region, visit ohiomeansjobs.com, greatoaks.com or ohio.gov.