Many teachers are perplexed by the Common Core State Standards and similar slates of educational objectives. They cannot understand how they can be expected to teach a skill such as “analyze the interactions between individuals, events and ideas in a text” (ELA: RI.7.3) unless someone tells them which text, which individuals, which events, and which ideas they are to present.
These teachers are confusing training with educating.
Last week Thomas Ricks was on the PBS NewsHour to talk about his new book The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today. In his conversation with Ray Suarez, Ricks said this:
You train for the known … but you educate for the unknown, for the critical, ambiguous, the complex battlefields you find.
That distinction is one educators need to understand. We can—should—train students for the world in which they live. But we also need to educate them to live in a different world that hasn’t been created yet.
Ricks went on to say that in battlefield situations a general must:
Figure out what’s going on here, what’s important about it, what’s trivial. How do I devise a response? What’s a solution? And how do I implement it through the actions of thousands of subordinates?
The kind of critical thinking and strategic solutions required of generals is also required of teachers and school administrators today if our students are to become educated for tomorrow’s world.
Training and educating are both essential. We shouldn’t neglect either.
And we certainly must not confuse them.
[Repaired broken link 04-03-2014; repaired broken link 2016-01-22.]