Category Archives: Education

Instruction is not Education

Perhaps we are not fully aware of the extent to which instruction and education are accepted as being essentially the same thing. I think you would find, if you looked into it, for instance, that all the formal qualifications for a teacher’s position rest on this understanding. A candidate is certificated — is he not? — merely as having been exposed satisfactorily to a certain kind of instruction for a certain length of time, and therefore he is assumed eligible to a position which we all agree that only an educated person should fill. Yet he may not be at all an educated person, but only an instructed person. We have seen many such, and five minutes’ talk with one of them is quite enough to show that the understanding of instruction as synonymous with education is erroneous. They are by no means the same thing. Let us go no further at present in trying to determine what education is, but merely take note that it is not the same thing as instruction. Let us keep that differentiation in mind, never losing sight of it for a moment, and considering carefully every point in the practice of pedagogy at which it is applicable. If we do this, I venture to predict that we shall turn up an astonishing number of such points, and that our views of current pedagogy will be very considerably modified in consequence. An educated man must be in some sort instructed; but it is a mere non distributio medii to say that an instructed person must be an educated person.

via The Theory of Education in the United States – Albert Jay Nock – Mises Institute.

Albert Jay Nock had his oddities, but he’s a favorite of mine in several ways.  Lately I’ve been thinking of classical education (since I have bee participating in teaching the same) so I was reminded to look at some things Nock had written.

The whole book is available online.  Follow the link above and take a look.