Automotive Class Taken to Another Level at FrankHurt Secondary
FrankHurt Secondary has become well-known in the Surrey School District, winning a gold, five years in a row through the Skills Canada Regional Competition, and twice winning all three medals (gold, silver and bronze) with relation to their trade programs, specifically their automotive program. The ACE-IT program chooses 16 students from the Surrey School district and this last year, 4 students alone were chosen from FrankHurt. That’s pretty impressive considering there are 19 schools within the Surrey School District to choose from.
What’s really impressive though is how popular the automotive program is in FrankHurt and this is mostly due to the automotive technology teacher, Manpreet (Mani) Grewal, who is now in his ninth year of teaching Automotive at FrankHurt Secondary. “Originally my auto teacher got me involved in teaching. I used to take his class at Terry Fox School in Coquitlam and from there went on to be a licensed mechanic,” explains Grewal. “He came to my shop and asked if I’d be interested in teaching automotive. I obtained the additional education I needed, and then taught for a while at another school before coming to FrankHurt.”
In the beginning, Grewal thought he wouldn’t have much patience for teenagers, but what he found instead was that teaching and working with the students was some of the most rewarding work he’d ever done. “I love being hands on with the kids,” notes Grewal. “Because I’m very open and honest with them, the connections are easy to make and foster”.
Grewal also has high expectations for the students that enter his class and he’s always looking at ways to engage them more. To keep his students focused, Grewal stopped teaching from a book and instead started creating PowerPoints to assist with the lessons.
“It was frustrating trying to teach automotive from books, especially when wanting to show the internal parts of an engine working and other mechanical parts of a vehicle,” stresses Grewal. “I started to develop lesson plans using PowerPoint and found it to be an invaluable teaching tool. It has had a positive influence with the students learning and understanding of more difficult theories.”
The students then took it a step further and started to videotape various automotive related demos and posting them to YouTube, and soon the FrankHurtAuto YouTube channel was created, with access available to the public.
“When the students got involved with making the videos, they worked that much harder, wrote scripts and then decided if they wanted to post it online,” explains Grewal. “It was four times as much work doing it that way, but they mastered the skill and it was obvious that their understanding had improved exponentially.”
Besides the YouTube Channel, Grewal also set up a wikispace where you can find all the PowerPoints, Automotive course outlines and even some insight into their personal school drag racing team! What was most surprising was the reach these resources got.
“I started receiving messages from people and other teachers from all over the world, who were accessing our resources and finding it extremely helpful,” notes Grewal. “People contacted me from the US, Australia and India, all with the same note of thanks for providing such a valuable resource to help them.”
The modern equipment and school support also helped to take Grewal’s automotive class to another level, allowing them to run a ‘light’ shop, bringing in local cars for work.
“This real world experience helps my students to apply their knowledge and skills in a more impactful way,” states Grewal. “They learn to deal with customers, resolve problems, provide potential solutions, all while creating other skill sets that will help them after school.”
With only 24 students allowed per class, this automotive program is in high demand and has a waiting period. On average, out of that 24, 8 to 10 students go into a trade either in automotive, heavy duty or commercial transport. That’s a great success rate!
Whether you’re a student wanting to get ready for that automotive test, or if you’re just an average person wanted to learn some basic automotive care, Mani Grewal’s educational resources will come in handy!