Originally published April, 2012 on Dusty World (and the precursor to many more Skills Ontario posts)…
Friday I chaired the video creation Skills Canada regional competition in Guelph. Ours was a competitive division with five teams who had to film, edit and post-produce a preplanned thirty second ad in four hours. Only three teams could place and only the top team could move on to the provincial competition.
Some observations stood out:
- The hard deadlines came as a shock to many of the students, who aren’t used to them any more (we don’t really require hard deadlines in class any more)
- The competitive nature of the competition concerned a number of the teams, who couldn’t comprehend being allowed to lose in school (we don’t really integrate competitive winning and losing in class any more)
- The sense of satisfaction that resulted from getting a quality piece of work done in the time given surprised many of the students (we don’t really allow students to develop a sense of satisfaction from completing work on time – on the contrary, a number of students recently told me at parent teacher interviews that they are sick and tired of knocking themselves out to complete work by deadlines only to see slack and idle students hand in the same thing whenever they get around to it).
- At the rewards ceremony many of the students were at a loss as to how to act when they’d won (stony faced and blankly indifferent were the norm, broken up by the odd grin). They were also unable to recognize what losing gracefully looked like.
- In the automotive technology section the announcer said, “congratulations gentlemen” only to realize that one of the gold medalist was female (from our school!) and back pedal. If we’re going to break the gender assumptions around skilled trades, it starts here (and is).
- Skills Canada has reinforced for me (yet again) that media arts isn’t an arts course so much as it’s a technical skills course that includes artistic input (like carpentry). We just got rather brutally cut for new students while being administered by the fine arts department, I think in great part because what we’re teaching is being administered by a department that doesn’t know how to present us or what to do with us.