BGHS Teacher Helped Write the Book that Trains Students in Automotive Life Skills
October 8, 2014
The thought that Ed Heim puts into teaching the Automotive Technology classes at Battle Ground High School reflects his broad swath of industry experience. The BGHS teacher, who has been teaching Automotive Technology at BGHS for 13 years, literally wrote the book on the subject. Heim is a co-author of the textbook he uses in his classroom, called "Fundamentals of Automotive Technology: Principles and Practice," which was published in 2014 and includes about 15 chapters that he penned.
In Heim's classes, students gain life skills in preparation for careers and education beyond high school. Students get hands-on experience in automotive care, maintenance, and repair using the very same equipment as businesses that provide automotive services. Battle Ground High School's Automotive Technology courses are part of the district's Career and Technical Education program, which provides students an opportunity to learn employability and leadership skills.
The successes that have come out of Heim's classes are many. Last year alone, four students in his program received job offers before commencement ceremonies.
Automotive Technology is divided into three classes: In Auto I, students learn basic automobile care and maintenance. Auto II builds on the basic fundamentals learned in Auto I by focusing on repair procedures to such automotive systems as brakes, engines, electrical, steering, and suspension. Auto III students explore some of the highest levels of diagnostic procedures using state-of-the-art equipment and learn about engine performance and how to rebuild engines. Some students work on special projects and participate in internships.
The textbook that Heim co-authored is used in automotive technology courses around the world and has a companion program that incorporates videos and web-based quizzes and exams. The tome is much more modern than anything else available on the subject, he said. Heim uses the videos, for example, to create interactive presentations in the classroom. And the book covers subjects like modern electronics that are used in vehicles, as well as the scanners and diagnostics equipment used to troubleshoot problems with the electronics.
But nothing can replace the experience students get from working on real vehicles. "We are excited to get donated cars," Heim said. "We usually get a couple a year. It really works out great for the students who get real-life experience working on these donated vehicles." The BGHS Automotive Technology program has received three donated vehicles so far this year. Students in all the classes will work on donated vehicles, depending on whether they need brakes or engine repairs or even just an oil change. "We use them as teaching aids for several years, and when we're finished we can auction them off and use the money in our program," Heim said. The money from auctioned vehicles often pays for the parts necessary to repair them and then could be used to buy equipment for the program.
About Mr. Heim: Before joining the teaching staff at Battle Ground High School 13 years ago, Ed Heim worked on the front lines of automotive technology. For more than two decades he owned a local automotive and machine shop with 14 employees. Before that he taught classes for four years at Clackamas Community College. Heim served in the Vietnam War with the 101st Airborne Rangers.