What is there to say? I'm not very interesting. I'm not a good writer. I don't even dress well. If you insist on knowing something about me just wander through the archives. It's all there.

Monday, October 23, 2006

On teaching vs. training

As I may have mentioned, I spent a number of years in the classroom.

Recently, I had reason to consider the differences between teaching and training. Although the two are often used synonymously, they really are very different processes. Those blessed with the experience of working in the irregular bowels of the fast food industry are trained to flip burgers, drop fries and faux chicken chunks into vats of hot grease, and speak unintelligibly over the drive-through speaker. There is really no teaching involved here.

One does not need to understand the flatten disks of ground up cow in order to flip them. One does not need to know where those fries originated or what they will eventually become in order to fry them to a company specified golden brown color. On does not need to appreciate syntax, style, or elocution in order to mumble the question, “Would you like fries with that?”

Don’t get me wrong; I am not against the idea of training. It is a very efficient way of creating conditioned responses. In many stressful emergency situations, for example, those that may be encountered by public safety or military personnel, it is a great way to guarantee a prompt, predictable, correct reaction. Good training can save lives in emergency situations. It is not, however, the same as good teaching.

Good teaching changes attitudes toward learning. It provides a set of mental tools that can then be applied to wide variety of new situations. It sharpens our ability to apply previously acquired information to face unexpected complications. It heightens our awareness of connections between seemingly unrelated elements: the hallmark of creative problem solving.

We do not learn responses from good teaching. Good teaching teaches us how to learn.


Anonymous a(nother) Jedi Teacher [warp coordinates: apetrucci[at]] said...

"Remember, a Teacher's strength flows from the Knowledge. But beware. Soap operas, videogames, fast foods.
The dark side are they. Once you start down the dark path, forever
will it dominate your destiny"!

...a show of appreciation for your post from "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away" [Rome, Italy] ;)

4/7/08 8:12 PM  

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