We’ve all heard it said, and maybe even said it ourselves: “I don’t want to tell my kids what to think, but how to think.”
Is that possible? What is indoctrination, and is it always bad?
Indoctrination has a negative connotation in society today, but what if that’s only so parents refrain from teaching their kids so that the schools can fill in for them?
How can you learn to think without having knowledge with which to think? What if indoctrination is necessary precisely for learning how to think?
Listen to the podcast:
Teaching, Thinking, & Indoctrination
has been indoctrinated to think California is a great place to live.
now lives in the indoctrination capital of the reformed world.
wants to indoctrinate us all to believe exercise is fun.
Scholé Everyday: What We’re Reading
Foundations of Christian Education, Berkhof & VanTil
Mystie is finally reading an education book that’s been on her shelf for over a decade and wondering why she waited so long because it’s so, so good!
Church History in Plain Language, Bruce Shelley
Abby is reading this with her teens for school.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein
Brandy is rounding out her distopian category for the year with a libertarian take.
What does it mean to indoctrinate?
Doctrine means teaching, so indoctrinatation means to teach. So indoctrination is education in the strictest sense. Indoctrination is to give an idea to someone else.
Formerly also endoctrinate, 1620s, “to teach,” formed as if from Latin (but there seems to have been no word *indoctrinare), perhaps modeled on French endoctriner or extended from earlier (now obsolete) verb indoctrine, endoctrine, “to instruct” (mid-15c.); see in- (2) “in” + doctrine + -ate (2)). Meaning “to imbue with an idea or opinion” first recorded 1832. Related: Indoctrinated; indoctrinating.The Dictionary
The resistance we feel with the world indoctrination is that a part of indoctrination can be imbuing someone with opinions
Doctrine refers to the fundamental principles of a field of knowledge, so in one sense, we should be firmly committed to giving our children doctrine. Each person should not have to start from scratch to discover the fundamentals. Part of giving our children their inheritance is giving them the doctrines we also have received.
The word can also mean, particularly now,
But archaically, the word did not include the “uncritically” part.
Taking a position is mandatory
We don’t really have the capacity to think unless we have material to think about, unless we have ideas to consider.
In Norms and Nobility, Hicks discusses teaching dogma – held beliefs or doctrines – as a positive and necessary thing for dialectic education.
To teach and learn dialectically, one must take a position. Only by taking a position can you begin to see another perspective. With no commitment to an idea, you can’t actually understand someone else’s commitment.
How to we raise critical thinkers?
The current emphasis on critical thinking is actually an emphasis of skepticism. Students are told to begin with a blank slate, with doubt, and from that they will discover their own truth.
It’s an emphasis on information coming from analysis rather than the Charlotte Mason and classical approach of knowledge coming from connections and synthesis, which requires a foundation, a starting place.
Mentioned in the Episode
Bruce Shelley's classic history of the church brings the story of global Christianity into the twenty-first century. Like a skilled screenwriter, Shelley begins each chapter with three elements: characters, setting, plot. Taking readers from the early centuries of the church up through the modern era he tells his readers a story of actual people, in a particular situation, taking action or being acted upon, provides a window into the circumstances and historical context, and from there develops the story of a major period or theme of Christian history. Covering recent events, this book also:
- Details the rapid growth of evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity in the southern hemisphere
- Addresses the decline in traditional mainline denominations
- Examines the influence of technology on the spread of the gospel
- Discusses how Christianity intersects with other religions in countries all over the world
For this fifth edition, Marshall Shelley brought together a team of historians, historical theologians, and editors to revise and update this father's classic text. The new edition adds important stories of the development of Christianity in Asia, India, and Africa, both in the early church as well as in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It also highlights the stories of women and non-Europeans who significantly influenced the development of Christianity but whose contributions are often overlooked in previous overviews of church history.
This concise book provides an easy-to-read guide to church history with intellectual substance. The new edition of Church History in Plain Language promises to set a new standard for readable church history.More info →
Widely acknowledged as one of Robert A. Heinlein's greatest works, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress rose from the golden age of science fiction to become an undisputed classic—and a touchstone for the philosophy of personal responsibility and political freedom. A revolution on a lunar penal colony—aided by a self-aware supercomputer—provides the framework for a story of a diverse group of men and women grappling with the ever-changing definitions of humanity, technology, and free will—themes that resonate just as strongly today as they did when the novel was first published.
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress gives readers an extraordinary, thought-provoking glimpse into the mind of Robert A. Heinlein, who, even now, “shows us where the future is” (Tom Clancy).More info →
Van Til and Berkhof call for biblically sound Christian education that is self-consciously engaged in the spiritual battle for the minds of students.More info →
After teaching about educating young children (up to the age of nine) in Home Education, Charlotte Mason turns her attention to 9-12 year-olds in School Education. Along with examples of books and exams she instructs us on:– The rights of children– The value of holistic education– How to help your child learn for themselves– How to develop the whole person– The importance of living books in education– How grades and rewards kill curiosityMore info →