Misconception about Education and Training

One of  the problems of modern industrial society is that work tends to take on a very powerful, even dominant, significance for adults. Employers, parents and the young themselves often see childhood and adolescence largely is n term of praration for work. This must be an incomplete view of education and maturation, since work is one of many features of the adult world. A real danger is that that preparation for work is seen as the purpose of education rather than one of the several purpose; a related danger is that the distinction between education and training becomes blurred, or that training is confused with education completely.

               Recently,there has been a good deal of discussion about education and training sometimes contrasting the two words, sometimes treating them as synonymous. It has even been suggested that schools are failing because they are not providing the kind of trained manpower needed by industry and commerce. This is an over simplified argument which becomes ever more misleading when interpreted as an excuse for more training but but less education.

           It is important to preserve the distinction between the two concepts and to emphasise that some worthwhile activities and experiences in may be a mixture of both. It is also important to avoid the simplistic assertions that education is good and training is inferior. The difficulty is compounded, in English, by the verb 'teach' being associated with education, whilst the verb 'instruct' is used in the context of training.

                Training is the appropriate word when we are concerned with a specific skill or set of skills where there is a clear criterion or set of criteria for right and wrong. The army employs weapon training instructors, not weapon education teachers. They have clear criteria about how to hold a riffle, how to aim, how to squeeze [not pull] the trigger, how to strip and clean a rife and so on. There is no room for any kind of debate about method and opinions - there is a right way or wrong way. Successful performance can easily be measured - how many bulls were scored etc. 

         Training is a closed system;progress takes place with a deficit model-error and omissions are easily identified and put right. A one hundred percent success rate is the required goal. Education, on the other hand, is open-ended. Objectives cannot be defined or pre-specified with complete precision; there are criteria to indicate good and procedures and practices, but there will not necessarily be one cerrect answer nor one right way of performing, good performance and achievement can be recognized, perhaps even measured, but with less precision and certainty. Indeed one of the goals of education is to encourage encourage the tolerance of uncertainty and ambiguity, where appropriate. If students stated the French Revolution started in 1815, he's certainly wrong (although there is a good deal of doubt when it really did start); and if we move onto the the causes of French Revolution, there is even more room for debate. There is no right answer partly because important event in history can rarely be related to one single cause. Similarly, English literature, who can say that Oliver's interpretation of Hamlet was more correct than Gielgud? But word like interpretation taste, style are much more difficult to cope with than rifle shots hitting a target. 

            Although education is necessarily concerned with 'high level' activities, training is still an important aspect of educational planning. Training is a vital part of many valuable school activities. It is true that you can train a dog but not educate it; but most traveller would prefer to goto America in an aeroplane with a well trained pilot rather than a well educated one. Some kinds of essential training are very complex and demanding. It has become fashionable to talk of teacher education rather than teacher training, but that should not obscure the fact that for some aspects of teacher preparation, the word training might be more appropriate. Teacher unlike pilot needs to be well educated as-well-as well trained. Most involved in higher education would like to believe that the airline pilot would be a better human being if he was educated as well as trained. Training is, however, morally neutral where as education implies improvement in quality: it is possible to train an individual to be an efficient torturer, but you could not make him a better educated in that way. 

            For some educational processes training is a prerequisite; school are necessary concerned with training as part of the education process. For examples, elementary reading arithmetic involve training in basic skills;so does learning a modern language in or playing the piano. One legitimate criticism of some schools is that they do not pay enough attention to skills and training- they take them for granted when they should be more aware of them as desirable objectives; but it is equally mistaken to think of all education simply as acquiring a list of skills. 



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