virus: Teaching vs. Educating

Lior Golgher (
Fri, 13 Dec 1996 01:18:29 -0800

Stephen wrote:
>When one educates, there is a
>memetic infection, certainly, but the goal of education is to teach
>people to teach themselves-- to make them aware of their potential.

And Dave responded:
Disagree here. I did a teacher-training course, and left because the
over-riding reality of the classroom was not the high educational
principles, but hammering mathematical and geographical memes into the
heads... and also teaching them that they are not the only person in the
world, that others have to have a go at the attention and resources too.


That's the exact difference between teaching and educating. As part of my training as an educator, I took an active role in deciding what are our goals. We came up with 'independent thinking' as our top goal. As a result, we don't touch our values during the first six months or so. During this period, we develop our learners' skepticism and amplify their range of view. We enable them to fully understand the game played and the memes used, so each of them could know what is done with him and actually choose whether or not to play. Only when we have skeptic customers who could tell our tricks, we try to sell them our values. That way we can be sure that if our learners reject those values it's only because the values are bad, not the education methods.

In other movements hidden idealogical messages are inserted straight on the first activity <or do you call it a meeting?>. Learners are much younger, and means of collective pressure to keep on with the idealogy are legitimate. Educators are trained in a summed-up course of about 10 days, in which they are confronted with elder and far more experienced educators. With a few sleep hours each night, in harsh camping conditions, and accompanied by totally stranger people, their will and ability to reject the values washed into their brains throughout the course are rather abstract. That's why I've retired one of those movements.

I know it sounds like a classic 'us vs. them', but this status really exists.

We don't use means of brainwashing simply because of the shallowness which such means produce. The idea isn't to reach somekind of a 'fair play', as no such thing exists - atleast not when you have to struggle with infinite number of shallow conventions inserted by various T.V. memes. The idea is to enable people to *choose* whether to accept or reject certain values. Skeptic people won't accept those values unless they first fully understand them, so you always get open-minded people. That result is our aim. That cannot be reached by teaching, only by teaching people to teach themselves.

Phew, that sounds passionate.