Teaching vs. Indoctrination

As usual, Paul went to the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures.
-Acts 17:2

There is a difference between teaching and indoctrination.  Education is not indoctrination.  But some secular and christian education is indoctrination masquerading as education.

If you are a teacher, whether you homeschool your children, teach at the pro level or you teach in your church; it is good to know this difference between indoctrination and true teaching.  Many people are indoctrinated today, rather than taught.

What you might notice, is that when you preach, whether you preach to a crowd or a few, it is easy to be an indoctrinator rather than a true teacher.  True teachers ask people questions and expect them to challenge and debate them.


  • Sharing ideas and concepts
  • Teaching is absorbed and integrated into one's own life
  • Concepts or ideas are questioned and debated
  • Material is reflected upon
  • Students summarize back what's being learned
  • Students think about and question the material
  • Material is deciphered into the student's own mind
  • The goal is to impart knowledge or skill
  • The goal is to develop the brain of the student, learning how to think
  • Teachers facilitate learning, coming along the side and training students
  • Students become knowledge seekers and fact checkers


  • Students told to accept material uncritically, unquestioning
  • Students receive information that they memorize
  • Information is not critically evaluated or judged
  • Students end up saying, "that's just what we believe"
  • No questions or debate
  • Bias is sometimes allowed and even celebrated
  • Students do not make the information their own
  • Opinion and belief is taught or imparted, without objective facts
  • The student is taught what to think
  • Teachers give monologue lectures or speeches
  • Students are influenced to believe or have an opinion that the teacher holds


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