Monday, September 30, 2013

Education and Training

In 'The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition', E. Christian Kopff has the following passage distinguishing between education and mere training:

"There is a yet more important reason we should receive a classical education while in our youth. Such an education provides, in quite pure form, true education, as distinct from mere training.

This distinction between education and training is [Albert Jay] Nock's and it is a compelling one. According to Nock, education is the study and mastery of a body of knowledge which is formative in character. Training, however, involves the learning of information aimed at the solution of an immediate problem or the accomplishment of a specific goal. Now, both training and education are important for a society. But anybody can be trained to do something. (The complexity and difficulty of the jobs will vary, of course, from short order cook to brain surgeon.) Fewer students today, however, know how to profit from education; perhaps fewer are capable. This becomes clear once the nature of education is grasped. The goal of education is to produce thoughtful people who have at their disposal a wealth of general knowledge, and who, in the light of this knowledge and with the courage to face facts, can judge matters of significance in a disinterested manner. Obviously this kind of formation is limited to the few who possess the character, the talents, and the stamina to be educated this way. A society without trained workers will not get its work done. A society without educated citizens will collapse in times of crisis and will wither away in times of ease and prosperity. Simply put, a civilization without educated citizens will cease to be civilized."

Kopff will be speaking at Veritas October 18, and at George Fox University as part of the sessions introducing GFU's William Penn Honors Program.

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