Sex Education Training

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What’s the difference between training and education?

If you are in or interested in education, you should enjoy this explanation which I heard via Mitch Joel in his intro to Six Pixel’s of Separation podcast #104. Quoting a conference speaker Mitch heard in Toronto, he shared with us how to make the difference:

Any of you fathers in the audience have a daughter? If so, the question I have for you is whether you would rather your daughter have sex training or have sex education?

Simple distinction.

So, what does education mean? As Socrates believed, education (educere, to lead or draw out in Latin), is about making apparent what you already know. For example, one is led to understand one’s own value system. But, it also speaks in part to the pedagogical method of having people learn through experiment or experience: the interaction brings out the learning–in which case training has all its place. Merriam-Webster writes as a second definition of education: “the knowledge and development resulting from an educational process.” A school formally considers imparting knowledge as its core contribution to a student’s education. The question, however, is to what extent a school’s remit is to work on the secondary component, that of development? What should “development” look like? Learning how to learn, rewarding curiosity, instilling manners & discipline, teamwork, sex education… etc. Where does it start and end?

In France, in the Figaro of 6 June 2008, LCI OpinionWay presents the results of a survey saying that 89% of those interviewed were favourable to an obligatory « real moral and ethical instruction » at primary schools. In the same survey, 93% said that French primary education needed to return to the basic knowledge of reading, writing and counting. For the debate on France’s national education, see page 12 of the pdf file here.

Another interesting question in the same survey, showed that 31% of respondents believe that it is a priority to reform the training of the teachers, in France. And in a curious spin, the survey showed a range of 18% up to 52%, according to the Presidential candidate the respondent voted for: basically with those voting for the left [Ségolène Royal 18%] feeling reform is less a priority while on the right [Sarkozy 44% and Le Pen 52%] feeling that it is more a priority. Voters of Bayrou were down the middle at 36%.

In French, the word education is typically translated as “formation.” The Larousse writes: “Conduite de la formation de l’enfant ou de l’adulte.” Etymologically, formation is quite a strong term — ironically, word formation is a definition of etymology, too. In its execution, however, “formation” is regularly closer to “training.” Education encompasses a wider mandate and, in the case of sex [or athletics] training, is less a question of repetition and more about the context. I tend naturally to attribute to education terms such as ‘life skills.’ And I continue to advocate that sports is a very good way to bring life skills into the education of a child.

In any event, as a close to this post, when I asked a couple of mothers of daughters whether they preferred their daughter(s) receive sex training or sex education, they both smiled and said, under certain conditions, each had their benefit. Even sex training depends on the context.

4 Comments, RSS

  1. Alexandra

    Thanks Minter, amusing and insightful.

    In the professional world of education, increasingly the French use education instead of formation, using the two more like the English usage. Hence formation professionnelle, Ministere de l’education. Your point is valid and well made, and your blog is a basket of riches.

  2. […] The article features a speech by Jacqueline de Romilly on the state of education and teaching in France. Education is a subject dear to my heart both personally and professionally. In a post I wrote earlier this year, I touched on the topic addressed in the speech by Ms. de Romilly, writing about the differences between education and training. […]

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