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Re: [xmca] From Mike Rose on academic-vocational divide

Would Sylvia Scribner's work on this theme be relevant, Helena?

On Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 3:18 PM, Helena Worthen <helena.worthen@berkeley.edu
> wrote:

> Thanks, Mike Cole and Mike Rose.
> I am now going to try to think through and write an explanation of how the
> "academic-vocational divide" arises from the false dichotomy of mind and
> hand.
> In the meantime, here are some photos of a meeting yesterday of labor
> educators, some from colleges and universities (City College, UCB), some
> from unions, some from CBOs, at City College of San Francisco. It took
> place in the CityBUild (basic carpentry) spaces and was led by Bill
> Shields, head of Labor Studies there.
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/76869798@N04/sets/
> Many of the photos show participants elaborating on how they draw
> discussions out of a simple popular education exercise in which you
> illustrate the economy by making piles of pinto beans.
> Helena
> Helena Worthen
> helena.worthen@berkeley.edu
> 21 San Mateo Road
> Berkeley, CA 94707
> Visiting Scholar, UCB Center for Labor Research and Education
> 510-828-2745
> On Feb 16, 2012, at 6:10 AM, mike cole wrote:
> > Dear Helena and Everyone, This is such a good exchange. I wanted to
> respond
> > quickly to a few issues Helena raises in her two posts. (And, as David
> > notes, she raises them "sublimely.")
> >
> > 1. The academic/vocational divide is bridged when economics--and with
> > economics, history, sociology, politics--is brought into a discussion of
> > work. I give some treatment to this point in The Mind at Work (especially
> > in the chapter on American Vocational Education in high school), but,
> > sadly, not adequately in the current article. Helena provides that much
> > fuller elaboration.
> >
> > 2. In her first post, Helena asks if the student welders I write about
> > "learn why there are no old welders." Actually, they do, and in a way
> that
> > is worth describing briefly, for it leads to another point. Both of the
> > lead instructors continually urge their students to stay in school to get
> > an Associates of Sciences degree as well as their welding certificate
> > because it opens the door to teach or to gain further education to
> become a
> > welding inspector or other related work. They drive home the hazards of
> > welding and why students need to think beyond their initial welding jobs.
> > They also support joining the union and the American Welding Society, a
> > trade group. Not all students can stay in school that long, for the
> > immediate demands on some of them are immense, but the message is driven
> > home continually.
> >
> >  Clearly this is not the same kind of thing Helena describes, it is not
> > oriented toward a political analysis of work and the labor market. But it
> > does alert students to the hazards of the work and tries to provide some
> > options for protection and advancement. So given local history, the
> > backgrounds of particular participants, etc., various kinds of broader
> > treatments of work and working conditions can emerge.
> >
> > 3. This is not directly related to Helena's or anyone's particular
> > comments, but I want to raise it again, for I don't want us to lose sight
> > of it. We all use the word "skills" as a kind of shorthand for
> techniques,
> > and, in common usage, "skills" tends to be contrasted with the
> conceptual,
> > the analytical, etc. But ultimately, I think, we want to affirm a richer
> > meshing of "technique" and "concept," for their separation in discourse
> > contributes to the academic/vocational divide.
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