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Choose education over training

My university learning was improved by choosing professors who “educate” rather than professors who primarily “train.”

I have found value in noting that training relates to specific skill building and educating relates to the general skill of putting specific skills to use so as to facilitate self-direction.

This column is designed to help you notice you have more power when your courses are more involved with educating than with training, even though you can’t be educated without some training.

It is useful to notice there is learning, which educates, and a lesser variety which trains. Excessive training can inhibit education/self-direction.

I have found education/self-direction hones my judgment and allows me to move to the threshold of my mind (where I wonder and openly inquire).

As I become more educated, I can more easily choose to be trained in a high-quality way.

Without being educated, I would not know what is quality and would continue to ask others what quality is. Excessive training can inhibit education/self-direction. Professors who educate often do experiential activities such as Socratic questioning, open inquiry, and they rarely dominate class discussion.

Other valuable events you will not know when you are primarily trained, rather than primarily educated, are events such as those mentioned by James Guinan, former University psychologist.

Guinan’s events are often practiced by those who know quality without being told (those who are educated/self-directing). Some of these events are as follows:

A person is educated when he or she:

1. Increases the tendency to let things happen, rather than make things happen.

2. Has frequent, almost overwhelming, episodes of appreciation.

3.Has the tendency to think and act spontaneously, rather than from fears based on past experiences.

4. Loses interest in conflict.

5. Loses interest in judging others.

When I was a student, I would ask questions such as: “Is this going to be on the test?” and “How many pages do I have to write?”

Looking back, when I asked those kinds of questions, I noticed I was more interested in a grade and a degree than I was in becoming educated.

There is more to being a learner than being a student who primarily seeks grades and degrees rather than learning/self-direction.

The school’s emphasis has been on your being trained rather than being educated to become self-directing.

At the heart of self-direction and experiencing freedom is awareness.

Awareness/the beginning of consciousness is increased when one becomes educated/self-directing.

I am convinced forcing students to cover content (training) can prevent the occurrence of mind opening.

Noticing whether or not you are primarily trained can be an enormous step in becoming educated.

Conrad P. Pritscher is a professor emeritus at the University. Send responses to his column to [email protected].

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