Being Educated and Trained
Author Albert Jay Nock discusses what he termed as the change in the purpose of American education. Instead of concentrating on “training,” which is supposed to provide individuals with proficiency, education today centers on the intellectual gains. Nock compares the purposes of training and of education: that is, he states that in the past, training had a vocational focus that, “bore directly upon what he could do or get, while his education bore directly on neither; it bore upon what he could become and be” (par. 2).
However, as Nock stated, the differences between the two were “practically wiped out” (par. 3). One major disadvantage of education, according to Nock, is that it prevents people from cooperating and working with each other, thus encourages competition and leaves the educated human a “solitary figure” (par.
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5). Training, on the other hand, tends to do the opposite as it brings people together. In addition, training typically encourages individuals to live a simple life and be happy with what they have attained, either in skills or earning power.
Education, in contrast, tends to encourage a person to live an unsatisfied life, continuously seeking for more than what he or she already has. Looking at Nock’s perspectives and standards, I feel that I am both an educated person as well as a trained person. I value the processes of learning things as having its own rewards in the end and the importance of intellectual growth and development in my life. However, I also feel that I can do the things that I have been taught to do with a degree of competency and proficiency through the training I have received in school.
I value individualism, personal satisfaction, and happiness, as much as I value collaborative effort or cooperation in work and activities and simplistic living. Moreover, as Nock contended, education calls for educated humans to like and value thinking, one that is critical and objective that is. As what the Columbia University president said, very few people like to do this because they do not like thinking per se and it disrupts or hinders them from what they are doing.
As for me, critical and objective thinking is also one hobby or vocation that is difficult to come by. Only when crucial times call for it or when it is truly needed does thinking take over. This is because most of the time, I am more focused with my physical, emotional, and psychological well-being that critical and objective thinking only surface for academic purposes. In addition, I am more of a feeling-based person than a thinking-based one since my relationships and emotions stand above in the decisions I make.
I do not see anything wrong with this because as a trained individual, this is how I value things in my life and the choices and rights I have. However, as an educated individual and as Nock held, I choose “to cultivate a sense of history” (par. 9) in my life. Learning the past for me is learning how to cope with the present and the future. There are a lot of life lessons we can all get from the experiences of people from the past and their mistakes serve as our guide in our personal and societal undertakings.
It is part of our responsibility as educated or trained citizens of this nation to look back and know how our forefathers have fought for our democracy just so we can enjoy this freedom we currently experience. But I do not go “all the way back to the politics of Rome and Athens” (par. 9) all the time to evaluate the present times. Because as a critical, objective, and educated individual, I should know that there are instances in the past that cannot be applied in the present because of the differences in time, in people, in places, and in technology.
This is why history is essential for an educated society, but it is not the only factor that an educated person should consider in the present. In conclusion, I can say that I am both an educated and trained individual in that I value the boring intellectual learning I have to pass through, as well as the direct training I need in attaining true education. There are prices to be paid and sacrifices to be made in attaining education, but it will be worth it in the future when I “could do and get” and “become and be. ”