5.b.13 – Education or training?

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July 13, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Education or training?

Speaking of the service that should be offered by schools, it is good to ask ourselves what we want for our children and what they actually need. Human cultural heritage, as we know, is and has been handed down in different forms: there is a whole range of behaviors and rituals that are passed by imitation; there is a huge amount of abstract concepts, which are passed through tales, stories and school teaching; there are also mixed cases like the language, which learning combines imitation and oral explanation.
The school has the function to pass the heritage made of abstract concepts and notions of various types that are transmitted through the word, so there are teachers specialized in the different subjects; this process is usually defined education. With regard to less abstract activities, transmitted by imitation, their teaching is called on some cases training and on other education. We talk of training if a particular behavior is taught, a practical exercise, linked to the world of work or sports, we talk instead of teaching good manners in other cases, such as we behave when receiving visitors, or what attitude it should be kept in front of an elderly person. The values are generally passed through rituals and social habits, are therefore included in the educational process of the person, but are also enhanced by oral tradition and are a hybrid case. Education and training have in common the continuous repetition of certain behaviors that ultimately will become automatic, and therefore it is a learning process that involves the unconscious mind. Even the games of children and the religious rituals use this technique because they are highly educational processes whose importance should also be reassessed for adults too.
We might think that the school is created to give an education to children and education rests with the family; this way of thinking can easily be put into question by the following considerations: the first is that theory and practice to be well understood should be complementary, there isn’t a long and complex preparation only theoretical or practical. We all remember that at school we were persecuted by countless homework, or exercises whose aim was to make us master of the theory. It follows that education cannot be separated by the training, and the same goes for teaching good manners, because children spend much time at school, during which they engage to live with their peers and with older people external to the family. Education can have a theoretical part based on recommendations and educational stories, but certainly requires a lot of practice to develop the right attitudes and imitate the right habits; a lot of practice means a lot of time and the children, going at least half a day at school and often much more, need that time for their education.
We must therefore conclude that the school cannot be excluded from the educational process, even from this point of view it should be of support to parents, with whom the collaboration is to be very close, having to send to kids consistent messages. But today we are very far from that goal, in our mind education is transmitted simply by following the old traditions without thinking too much on it, it is not usually a conscious act such as training. The old traditions in modern life often cannot be practiced or are antiquate and harmful, then there is a strong need for cultural adaptation in adults that allows to transmit again a good education to their children.
Many of the concepts of mathematics, history and geography are then forgotten in time, but education is rather always necessary in the lives of our children, the educational support service is perhaps the most important. When we think of what kind of school is appropriate for our children, we should ask ourselves first of all what kind of education we want for them, or better, they need. In parallel with the school programs we must also start to discuss the educational programs, including the right attitude towards the study and its management once become adults.

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