Nothing wrong with indoctrination


At a two-day training class I attended a couple of weeks ago, the students were mostly civilians, but there was a large contingent of Navy medical officers. In one session, groups of students had to hammer out a strategy for a fictional company we supposedly worked for. In the course of the discussion, one of the officers suggested that "indoctrination" would be a good idea for line workers.

The civilian half of the group assumed he was either joking or revealing himself as a crypto-fascist, but he was doing neither. "Indoctrination" is often used as a pejorative, but that is not its primary definition:

1 : to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : TEACH
2 : to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle

Or as one weapons instructor said to us in boot camp, "Indoctrination doesn't mean brainwashing." Immersing yourself in "fundamentals or rudaments" doesn't mean you have to amputate your faculties of reason; if you're really ingesting what you're learning, the opposite is true.

Fear of "indoctrination" is, I think, at the heart of why adults today are reluctant to teach kids firm principles. But the only way you can get kids to learn something is to repeat it until they understand, and then reinforce it frequently. Kids don't want, much less need, fine distinctions -- they crave clarity. When they want a fuller explanation as to why it's wrong to clobber your brother with a mallet, you can provide it when they are ready. Until then, mallet-clobbering is bad because it's wrong to hurt people, period.


So I guess you've had to put the kabosh on mallet klobbering at Casa Johnson?

Don't give me that bull, Private Papist!!!

Mallet-clobbering will toughen up your boys and acclimate them to pain and torture!!!

You are turning your boys, Private Papist, into a kuppla pansies unfit to join my beloved Corps!!!

Private Papist, do you love The Virgin Mary!!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Eric Johnson published on October 11, 2005 10:08 PM.

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