Buying a first car is a milestone in everyone’s life, but how many are familiar with the type of light bulb in a headlight, the process to change a flat tire, or the meaning of all those symbols on the dashboard?

That is precisely what students learn in the Grade 10 to 12 automotive technology courses at MGCI, taught by Mr. George. These courses are based on the maintenance of automobiles, and students are given the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience. The classes are taught in a room that looks more like an auto repair shop than a classroom, and includes some resources that were donated by General Motors. Several cars are located in different stations around the spacious room and provide the students with welding, electrical, and maintenance practice.

The stations are a core part of the hands-on experience in this course. After Mr. George explains the theory aspect of the lesson along with a demonstration, the students apply their knowledge at the various stations. “This course gives us unique opportunities besides just learning about the workings of a car,” said Affaan Khan, a Grade 11 student. “We learn how to use a welding station, which we wouldn’t be able to do in any other class.”

Student working at the welding station. Photo: Julien Lin.

The students often challenge themselves by going beyond just doing the procedure correctly and safely, but also doing it as quickly as possible. “Once they’re shown how to do it, they grasp the concept very quickly,” said Mr. George, “Many of the students are very enthusiastic and they like to help each other out.”

As a result, students have the chance to develop collaboration and teamwork skills. In addition, the hands-on experience and electrical training is a good foundation for many different career pathways, such as mechanical engineering, automotive engineering, and microelectronics. Past students have expressed that the skills they acquired in this course have helped them in college.

Student demonstrating how to change a flat tire. Photo: Julien Lin.

Students especially enjoy the life experience they are able to obtain, since the skills learned are applicable outside of the classroom. Mr. George also includes a research project in which the students explore the entire process of buying a used car.

“We learn how to deal with all these different car problems and different situations, which would really help me for the rest of my life,” said Grade 11 student Ali Mughal.

“The students are genuinely interested in the material and are very earnest to learn,” said Mr. George. “It’s nice to see the enthusiasm, and I want to keep that flame burning.”