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Kenneth E .

Dawson

Industrial Arts
and the World of Work

TECHNOLOGY automated ual training" or "manual arts." The image


machines! Technology better living! of building an article or "project" for the
Technology complicated industrial project's sake is giving way to the build
processes! Technology reduction of ing of men and women for the world of
manpower! Technology taxing pres work.
sures! Technology research!
We live in an era often referred to as Defining Industrial Arts
the technological age. The term technol
ogy seems to possess a thousand mean Industrial arts is that phase of educa
ings and its implications are creative, tion which offers individuals an insight
mobile, dynamic, threatening, perplex into our industrial society through labo
ing, and revolutionary. Technology and ratory-classroom experiences. Through
industry continuously influence our way industrial arts, the role of industry and
of life. We can no longer think of tech technology is unfolded as students study
nology as something that is purely me the history and development of industrial
chanical. From the time of man the organizations, materials, products, proc
hunter, the trader, the builder, the manu esses, and related problems. Industrial
facturer, the mass producer, up to the arts provides experiences that develop
time of man the programer, we can see basic skills and knowledge common to
the various stages of technological devel many occupations and professions. The
opment. Today this term is unique be study of industry helps students under
cause society has become more aware of stand that the materials and products,
the complex integration of men and ma which contribute to the comforts of
chines, of ideas, of industrial procedures, everyday living, are the result of man's
of management, and of the necessity to inquiring mind and his ability to solve
conquer the unknown. industrial and technological problems.
In case not all readers are familiar with Actually, industrial arts provides a means
modern industrial arts, let us briefly ex by which students can apply in practical
plain this program of general education. Kenneth E. Dawson it Executive Secretary,
Some have been exposed to "shop" or American Induttrinl Art* AftOfiation, PiEA,
perhaps even the older concepts of "man Wathington, D. C.

236 Educational Leadership


and meaningful situations the theoretical ing, machining, sheet-metal, wrought
principles of science, mathematics, and iron, and art metal. Industrial arts labo
other related subjects. ratories provide students with the op
Industrial arts education is unique in portunity to become actively involved
its services to youth. It is the only cur- in studying, planning, organizing, creat
ricular area devoted to the interpretation ing, constructing, experimenting, testing,
of industry and technology which com servicing, and evaluating materials, proc
prise the dominant characteristic of 20th esses, and products associated with our
century American culture. The overarch industrial society.
ing objectives of industrial arts, as de
scribed in the U.S. Office of Education
Appeal of Industrial Arts
Conference report, Improving Industrial
Arts Teaching, include the following: A trend in industrial arts education
1. To develop in each student an today is the increase in students through
insight and understanding of industry out the country. In the school year 1948-
and its place in our culture 49, the enrollment of students studying
2. To discover and develop talents of industrial arts courses totaled 1,762,262.
students in the technical fields and ap In 1961-62 school year, the U. S. Office of
plied sciences Education estimated that over 3% million
3. To develop technical problem-solv students were studying industrial arts.
ing skills related to materials and proc Industrial arts in the elementary grades
esses is used to enrich and support the overall
4. To develop in each student a meas education program. Some school systems
ure of skill in the use of the common utilize industrial arts specialists to assist
tools and machines. elementary school teachers in carrying
out an activity-type learning program.
Studying a community and its activities
Subject Areas Included
comes to life as children work with ma
We have indicated that industrial arts terials and associate themselves with the
provides for a basic understanding of various occupational opportunities of
the relationship between man and his their immediate surroundings.
industrial environment. It encompasses Industrial arts is generally a required
a study of many areas to include the subject for all boys in junior high school.
broad aspects of construction, trans Students are introduced to various areas
portation, communication, manufactur of industry, which include a study of
ing, and research development. More natural and synthetic materials, produc
significantly, these may include subjects tion methods, and the resulting products.
such as automotives, ceramics, design, Junior high school boys and girls are
drawing (previously called mechanical encouraged to explore, plan, create, un
drawing), power mechanics, electricity/ derstand, and solve industrial and tech
electronics, graphic arts, leather, lapi nological problems.
dary, metalworking, plastics, textiles, and The world of work is experienced by
woodworking. Each of the preceding each pupil as a teacher directs the class
areas may involve a study of several sub- into a mass-production problem. Stu
areas; for example, metalworking may dents may form a corporation, sell stock
include opportunities in foundry, weld in order to obtain materials, determine

January 1965 237


and design a product to be manufac some later date. This factor is extremely
tured, prepare jigs and fixtures, develop important as it is predicted now that a
a flow chart representing the assembly person may change his occupational area
line, carry out time and motion studies, seven times during his life.
continuously try to improve the product Industrial arts education is devoted to
through research, etc. the interpretation of industry, which is
During this time management may the most dominant characteristic of our
even be faced with a threatened strike. society. Industrial arts education helps
This, of course, may mean a wage in all kinds of students to prepare for living
crease which would affect the cost of the in an industrial democracy and provides
item being produced. If it is not practical a foundation for specific occupational
to raise the price of the product, it will and educational opportunities. Industrial
be necessary to improve production arts gives basic education for the tech
methods to increase output in order that nician, engineer, scientist, and for the
cost may be held constant. As can be several occupational education pro
seen, there is no limit to the practical grams.
learning experiences in the industrial Rather than being confined to the
arts classes. And, of course, other meth learning of a specific trade or skill which
ods such as the unit approa> h and group may be obsolete within a few years, to
project are also used effectively in study day's concept of industrial arts empha
ing about various industries. sizes transferable skills and knowledge
so that boys and girls may become more
flexible and versatile in this rapidly
Preparing for Change
changing world. By receiving basic in
Senior high schools generally offer in formation on the total scope of industry,
dustrial arts as an elective. The individ students understand the necessity to
ual interest of a student, whether it be equip themselves for future adjustment
professional, business, management, or to employment changes due to scientific
technical, to a great extent determines and technological innovations.
the content and direction of senior high Industrial arts educators realize that
school industrial arts. The area of re more and more youth are entering the
search and development offers the col labor force. They are also aware of the
lege bound student an opportunity to fact that women are playing a signifi
carry out individual research. Industrial cant role in industry since 27 percent of
arts provides further knowledge and the labor force today is female. It is
depth of industrial techniques for those estimated that this proportion will be 45
who desire to enter a technical school. percent by 1980. Industrial arts education
For students entering the world of work is concentrating on meeting the needs of
immediately after high school, industrial all young people. This area must provide
arts may be the only opportunity they motivation for the underachiever and the
will have to develop a broad understand academically talented, the potential
ing of industry and become thoroughly scientist and the pre-engineer, the future
familiar with the .basic occupational consumer and all other students. They
skills. The basic knowledge derived from must realize that their whole life will be
industrial arts will facilitate specialized influenced by the wonderful, but com
training and perhaps even retraining at plex, world of work.

238 Educational Leadership


Copyright 1965 by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum
Development. All rights reserved.