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Teaching & Training - What is the difference?

The truth is that most of us don't really know and so are inclined to believe the hype we read on various websites that promise so much yet deliver so little.

Some may grasp this and others won't, but this is because we do not really understand the requirements for teaching or for training and development, so let me try to explain.

A quick study will reveal that teaching and training may be thought of as one and the same thing, but in fact there are many differences.

While they are both appropriate in certain circumstances, sometimes the presence of one may be to the detriment of the other, so a balance between both is necessary. It therefore makes sense that those of us who are entrusted with the education and training of others understand these differences and how we can be effective in our deliver modes.

Strictly Defined

Teaching is typically defined as, "to cause to know something, to guide the studies of, to impart knowledge or to instruct by example, precept or experience” where training seeks “to form by instruction, discipline or drill” or “to make prepared for a test or skill.” Training often focuses on physical and mental preparation for a very specific task or skill.

Another way to describe the difference is that teaching seeks to instill a deeper knowledge over a longer period of time, where training on the other hand, seeks to help people master a specific skill, or skill set, until they are able to execute it efficiently. Training is usually a one-time or short-term event, as with job training.

Implied Differences

Teaching is usually broader in focus than training. It generally is theoretical, while training is the practical application of knowledge. Also, teaching seeks to impart new knowledge, while training equips the already knowledgeable with tools and techniques to develop a specific skill set.

One of teaching's goals is to enrich the mind, while training's end is to mold habits or performance. This is where we apply the concept of Theoretical Science and Applied Science to everything we teach when it comes to Close Protection and Clinical skills for example.

Teaching is usually within the context of the academic world, while training is generally associated with the practical realm and the difference is found between thought and action so the essence of teaching is causing an other to know, while the essence of training is causing an other to do.

Another description would be that teaching usually deals with a subject or topic, while training deals with a duty or function. Teachers generally give students feedback, while trainers receive feedback from trainees.

Teaching and Training working Together

There are times when teaching and training must work in tandem. For example, an excellent singer may be wonderfully trained, but not necessarily taught about the theory of her craft. For example, she may not know how a certain muscle moves when she sings.

Most importantly, she must have strong training in order to perform the physical tasks that make up a great performance. However, learning is involved here as well. She inevitably will be required to sing in a specific style; therefore, learning various styles will allow her to apply her training appropriately.

For this purpose, then, it appears that teaching should precede training. However, the process of training, in this situation, can be of higher benefit to the singer.

When Training Interferes with Teaching or vice versa

There is always a danger that training may interfere with teaching, such as when we see and should be concerned with classroom teaching styles that seems to merely train students for a standardized test. All too often I see students “being prepared” by being given indicative answers to questions that might come up in an exam paper. This is malpractice that often goes unchecked and is very unfair to students as learning and understanding cannot be accurately assessed.

We can also argue that teaching can, in certain circumstances, interfere with training for example in the singer's case, thinking about what she is doing or analyzing it, as she would do when learning, would actually distract her from the task at hand.

The part of her brain that allows her to perform physically is different from that which is involved in knowledge in memory. The second she begins analyzing what she is doing, she will lose touch with her free-flowing actions. She must instead focus on training, including developing her muscles and mind to perform the action of singing.

Balancing the Two

Enhancing teaching and training, each with the other, is generally necessary. If someone has the academic or theoretical knowledge required to flourish in a position, or at a function, he or she will no doubt need some kind of skill-set training at one point or another.

On the other side, training will always be enriched when a deeper, longer-term knowledge is continually sought and acquired. Finding a balance between the two creates a person, who not only can understand and perform but also can contribute.

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