Magazine article Techniques

Career Reflections

Magazine article Techniques

Career Reflections

Article excerpt

Life is a Journey, Not a Guided Tour

Have we as a profession of career, occupational, technical, vocational educators lost interest in the history and philosophy of our areas of interest? Are courses available in teacher preparation and advanced graduate programs for those preparing for or advancing in their careers in career and technical education? Is there a small cohort of career educators who are interested in the study of the history and philosophy of vocational education, including career, occupational, technical and vocational education?

My personal journey in this arena began in 1953 when I entered the B.S. degree program in industrial arts education at the State University of New York College for Teachers at Buffalo. In June 1957, I completed the requirements for the B.S. and was awarded the degree in industrial arts education. This was a traditional program of preparation designed for those interested in teaching IA in junior and senior high schools. This program included several courses dealing with the history and philosophy of industrial education. Names such as William Warner, Arthur Mays, Homer Smith and George Wells were common in the literature and discussions at that time.

The journey continued with an M.S. in industrial arts education in 1961 and the entry into doctoral studies at the University at Buffalo, also in 1961. The doctoral program was in the area of vocational education and curriculum planning and development. My major professor was Dr. Gerald Leighbody, perhaps best known as the author of Vocational Education in America's Schools: Major Issues of the 1970s (1972). Gerry was a recognized authority and leader in vocational education. He headed the workforce efforts in the World War II era in the Buffalo public school system.

Leighbody guided his students in the understanding of the history and philosophy of vocational and industrial education. This historical background helped me in a professional career of over 40 years. We learned much about former leaders who forged the way in vocational education. Names such as Charles Allen, Melvin Barlow, Charles Bennett, John Dewey, Lynn Emerson, Rupert Evans, Verne Fryklund and J. Chester Swanson were common citations in the lectures and literature.

During my educational journey for the B.S. and M.S. degrees, my career efforts were teaching industrial arts in a comprehensive high school in New York State. Upon completion of the Ed.D. degree at the University at Buffalo, I was hired as an assistant professor at Rutgers--The State University of New Jersey in 1967. …

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