Difference Between Train & Indoctrinate


The intersection of indoctrination and training has raised much controversy in the workplace, military and community. Indoctrination has a negative connotation and commonly describes the way in which ideas are integrated into a person's actions and mindset. Training, on the other hand, is often regarded positively as the way in which a person develops skills and ideas needed to do a certain task. The controversy lies in the way in which certain institutions provide training, which can also entail a subtle form of indoctrination.

Indoctrination Definition

  • Indoctrination refers to the way in which a person receives instruction on certain fundamental ideas or core values. Its negative connotation comes from the idea that instruction on core values or fundamentals may be biased or unstated. For example, the U.S. military may receive criticism for indoctrinating ideas of U.S. superiority in soldiers. Military instructors might tell soldiers that they are the best in the world, a biased idea that encourages them to internalize the idea that they are superior to others. Policies can also indoctrinate ideas; "Jim Crow Laws" between 1876 and 1965 prevented African Americans from voting and planted the idea in society that black citizens were somehow unfit to vote in a white election.

Training Definition

  • Training refers to the way in which skills or ideas are transferred from one person to another. For example, a woodworking instructor might train students to use a handsaw, which means he showed students the proper way to hold and use the saw. Training may also be used as a noun that refers to a period in which a person learns a new craft. For example, a person may undergo training before embarking on a new job.

Signs of Indoctrination

  • Indoctrination, which is an indirect form of implanting ideas, has several indicators. Misleading use of statistics, creating false dilemmas, appeals to authority, ignoring assumptions and use of propaganda are ways in which indoctrination occurs. In addition, much indoctrination relies on an appeal to universal beliefs, using phrases such as "everyone is doing it" or "everyone believes this to be true."

Training Along with Indoctrination

  • Although indoctrination may be negatively viewed, many institutions use it as part of a training process. The U.S. military may use indoctrination as part of the training process to teach ideas of national pride, hard work, secrecy and diligence. These values cannot be directly taught, but they can be indoctrinated through the rigor of the training process.


  • Fluoridation: Indoctrination vs. Education
  • "The Oxford Companion to American Military History"; John Whiteclay; 2000
  • "Review of Radical Political Economics: The Costs of U.S. Hegemony -- Military Power, Military Spending, and U.S. Trade Performance"; 1999
  • Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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