This chapter introduces a model of three domains of education, namely Fundamentals, Instructions, and Teachings, hence the acronym — the FIT model. A brief background that lead to the development of the three domains precedes a discussion of each of the domains.


            To many readers the terms instructions and teachings may sound practically synonymous. Exploring these terms eventually expanded into the development of the FIT model presented in this chapter. Usage of the nouns, instructions and teachings, is preferred to using the verbs, teach and instruct. The interchangeability of the verbs in speech seems to veil the necessary semantic information to help winnow out the essential differences that are pertinent to this discourse.

            In common usage, there seems to be no significant difference in the meaning of these two sentences, for example, “Who is the teacher?” or “Who is the instructor?” The verbs instruct and teach are often be used interchangeably: “He taught me how to solve the riddle.” and “He instructed me how to solve the riddle.” What is the difference then?


Figure 1. A detailed representation of the three domains of education with the culminating level of each.

            Even a superficial glance at the terms teachings and instructions, reveals a particular difference between them. We speak of the teachings of Christ, or the teachings of Buddha. There is a difference between, “Do you follow the teachings of Christ?” versus, “Do you follow the instructions of Christ?” These two questions do not provide the same mental impression. If you failed at a procedural task, I would ask you, “Did you follow the instructions?” rather than, “Did you follow the teachings?” Both instructions and teachings point at a desired behavior, and both expect learning to occur.

         The three proposed domain designations as a model of education are discussed below. The first proposed domain is called Fundamentals. It is followed by the other two domains, Instructions, and Teachings. Thereafter these domains are juxtaposed to demonstrate how they integrate to address the immense diversity within education. The following figure is an advance organizer to this discussion. Under the heading for each domain is an appropriate elaboration.

The Term Fundamentals

            Fundamentals are the launchpad to Instructions and Teachings. Historically the domain of Fundamentals is defined within the context of Instructions and Teachings and overlooked as a distinct domain. This apparent transparency of Fundamentals as a domain has contributed to instructional designs that attempt the development of skills and knowledge without a specific recognition of Fundamentals, and not demonstrating an understanding of the characteristics of this domain and how to address it. If it were not for the fact that Fundamentals also stand alone as an independent domain, the argument could be made that in essence it is a subset of Instructions, and do not merit the distinct status proposed in this investigation. Fundamentals that stand alone are described in Chapter V under the heading of Community for Fundamentals.

            The ultimate objective of Fundamentals is to establish contextualized nonreflective recall. An everyday noneducational example of nonreflective contextualization would be how you figure out who you are, and where you are, when you wake up every morning. If you were not to know who you were, or where you were as you woke up, it would put everything else on hold till you had that figured out. That is a fundamental to being alive — every morning we access this information non-reflectively.

            In the context of Instructions, Fundamentals addresses what Van Merriënboer describes as part-task practice. He says that “part-task practice may be necessary to (over-) learn certain critical recurrent skills or to make whole-task practice and/or ultimate whole-task performance more effective.” (Van Merriënboer, 1997, p. 211).

            In education, this purpose is served through activities such as concept initiation, fact attainment, and building a relational context or a typology of concepts where appropriate, with an emphasis on ultimate nonreflective recall. It is the aspect of recall and not skills that is the center of gravity of Fundamentals.

            Fitts’ Law (Fitts & Posner, 1967) describes the process to develop automated ability, and in the case of Fundamentals it would be nonreflective recall. Fitts’ Law pertains and describes the acquisition process to all three domains. Through practice, the nature of skills change in how they are mentally processed. For example, the skill to count starts out as a reflective skill. This is the first stage, which Fitts describes as the cognitive stage. Next is the associative stage, which is the application of knowledge to develop physical proficiency. Physical proficiency could include all of the senses, like being able to say the right thing, being able to visually spot something or to discriminate by hearing or smell, or doing something. The final stage is the autonomous stage in which the control over what has been learned becomes automated. The following list is a sampling of cognitive and motor skills where Fitts’ Law applies:

          Mathematics (counting)

          Pilots (flight procedures)

          Surgeons (operating procedures)

          Writers (vocabulary recall)

          Political Policy (facts from history)

            The following discussion provides a brief elaboration on some examples of nonreflective performance. Consider a toddler learning the alphabet, or learning to count. These activities are directed at basic comprehension and fact attainment. If we consider numbers, the initial stages of counting include rote memorization. This ability is then transferred to the comprehension of the 10-base system which rapidly transforms counting into a generative skill. Counting migrates to a basic skill that is virtually non-reflective. This indicates that if we approach the skill from a functional perspective and determine it to be a fundamental skill, it has to be recognized that it does not start out as such. The ability to count has to be acquired by involving some measure of reflection, and then only can it migrate to a nonreflective fundamental skill. This recall ability is essential to feed a higher-order reflective skill like addition and subtraction or to master part-task skills.

            Compared to counting, learning the alphabet is a similar, yet a more protracted process, to instil nonreflective recall — a progression that starts out where every new letter has a brief shelf life in being reflective — en route to its destined nonreflective state of recall. The child starts with rote memorization and then gradually develops diverse heuristics to negotiate correct spelling. This initial environment is instructional and the activity is reflective, relating both to recall and comprehension of its relational context. Then it evolves into nonreflective fundamental recall. Admittedly, as we compare one writer to another, the ability to spell some words nonreflectively will take a long time, with some words always having to be spelled with reflection. In such an instance, an even deeper level of fundamental nonreflective skills are employed, including phonetic rules, and matching with segments of similar words.

            Other examples would include the ability to ride a bicycle, to drive a car, or to become a ballet dancer. An array of skills have to become prereflective or automated as fundamental skills in order for new generative skills to be acquired. The path of becoming literate is another good example of this process. The following continuum expresses this progressive shift in mental processing described by Fitts’ Law: unconsciously ignorant > consciously ignorant . . . conscious learning . . . consciously able > subconsciously able.
            Figure 2 below represents the binary thereness-or-not of Fundamentals. The top row suggests the binary you-know-it-or-you-don’t mode. The second row introduces the concept of knowing something passively, but not actively. Knowing something passively means one is able to pick the correct answer from among several options, yet one is not able to actively produce the correct response. The bottom row is a further expansion of the concept of passive recall, with the difference being the amount of information that the respondent would need to identify or produce the correct response.
            Fundamentals address the memory directly and reflective choices are either not involved or involved at a very basic level. Stimulus-response learning environments are typical examples from the domain of Fundamentals. Lofting (1999) compared these nonreflective choices with Freud’s id. He said, “In Freud's analysis of human behaviour he recognized that raw life is very stimulus/response (S/R) oriented; habit oriented.” The next domain, Instructions, integrates the proficiencies gained in the Fundamentals stage as an essential building block to be able to succeed and relate somewhat to Freud’s Ego.



Figure 2. A representation of the mastery or lack of Fundamentals.

The Term Instructions

            The domain of Instructions is directed at objectives. As such these objectives are aimed at meeting a challenge, commonly expressed as solving a problem. In order for the learner to take on the challenge, reflective skills have to be attained. Learning within the domain of Instruction assumes the learner brings acquisition within the domain of Fundamentals to the table. Then at this level, facts, issues, and options are juxtaposed to help the learner develop expertise in reflection, a skill that requires practice and exposure to diversity.

            By their nature, these skills are physical (psychomotor) or mental (affective, cognitive, or communicative). Bloom (1956) introduced the following domains: psychomotor (about doing physically), cognitive (about knowing and rational thinking), and affective (about feelings and attitudes). These three domains are centered on the individual. These domains are active, even in the case of the lone-man-on-the-island-with-one-palm-tree situation. As a lone person on the island you would be able to develop your psycho-motor performance, your cognitive and your affective performance. You would not be able to improve your communicative performance significantly, unless you project yourself to fictional people, and even this would be a denatured environment. If we could conceive of a feral human with zero linguistic training or human interaction — all three domains that Bloom emphasized would still function. It is our socialization and our acculturation to our milieu of other people that enables us to develop our socio-communicative abilities. The socio-communicative domain draws from the three other domains, and in particular from our linguistic abilities — something every functional human uses. If it is not a spoken language, it is sign language, or as in the case of Helen Keller it is a haptic language. This same concept of adding a fourth domain related to the interpersonal communicative skills has been proposed by Romiszowski (1999, pp. 462-3). The socio-communicative domain might have a broader intention since it does not only consider auditory languages, but also includes visual and haptic languages.

            Instructions are directly tied to performance. According to Bloom’s taxonomy, the following table shows the dominant or supportive role of each domain. It is the demand of a dynamic response that makes a skill dominant.

            Supportive skills refer to skills used in a nonprimary role, meaning the skill is either nonessential, or it can be done by a surrogate with mediocre ability. Math for example is a cognitive skill with a physical skill being supportive. This physical writing out could be removed (doing it all in the head) or a child could do the writing with simple instructions.

            Table 1

            Dominant and Supportive Domains


Dominant / Codominant Skill

Supportive Skill

Tug of War

physical, socio-communicative

cognitive, affective

Production Line Work


cognitive, physical


cognitive, affective, physical

cognitive, affective, physical



cognitive, affective, physical

Auto Mechanics

cognitive, affective, physical

cognitive, affective, physical






cognitive, affective, physical

Company Receptionist

socio-communicative, cognitive, affective




            The tension between what is dynamic and what is habitual might be a debatable point with some of the topics above; whether a skill is dominant, co-dominant or supportive. Sometimes the mind is in auto-pilot; and sometimes the physical tasks are automated, but mental alacrity is required; and sometimes communicative skills are essential.

            Some skills could be very particular with little applicability outside of its intended context. An example from the psychomotor domain would be some unusual procedural tasks on a factory production line. Other skills might be highly transferrable to environments outside the objectives of the instruction, like being able to hit a ball with a bat or racket.

            An essential characteristic that reveals the nature and character of Instructions is this: a skill is the objective, and the skill’s purpose is to meet a challenge, often expressed as problem solving. The attainment of skill has a central essence, like the skill needed to serve a ball in tennis. In a representational sense, mastery of skills would seem to be best represented by a linear progression towards the desired level of accomplishment. Yet, if we consider that the skill development is anchored to the essence of the skill, a graphical representation might be better expressed as a curvi-linear progression to represent the linearity of progression, as well as the pivoting around the objective. Conceptually then, when the progression has come full circle, it would indicate that performance equals the skill objective at the intended level; and then a wider cycle would represent a higher skill level, thus the approximation of an outward spiraling representation. This illustrative example is set in a two-dimensional planar environment. In Figure 3 below the round object in the middle represents the main focus of the skill. The expanding, spiraling sphere expanding outwards from the round object indicates that although the objective (the skill) remains essentially the same, it is rendered at different levels as the skill improves, and attention can be shifted to include more variables. Level A might be the beginner’s level. With tennis as an example we focus on serving the ball as the skill set. Level A might mean hitting the ball (by whatever means) over the net in the opposite quadrant. Level B might mean throwing the ball up correctly and hitting it anywhere in the target quadrant with good consistency. Level C might mean being able to serve with a consistently accurate aim at a specific location in the target quadrant, and level D might mean to execute a variety of serves with consistent accuracy — depending on the context of the match. Although each level of performance can be clearly defined, new subskills have become mastered to be able to progress from level A towards level D. Any of these levels are concerned with serving the ball, but the skill level is improved from one level to the next.


Figure 3. Representation of the expansion of the levels of skill development.

            Figure 4 below is an example of progression from the level of Fundamentals through the highest levels of Instructions. The figure broadly maps the basic incremental developmental steps of the mastery of speaking and writing. With speaking, the progression starts with the construction of sounds, then it expands to words, and gradually to the development of phrases and sentences, leading to paragraph construction and the development of discourse and creative speech like rhetoric. This is the realm where esthetic expression develops, where all the required skills have been mastered, offering the individual the ability to operate at a higher level, just like a skilled race car driver has relegated many skills of changing gears and steering to automaticity to be able to expertly maneuver the vehicle at high speeds.

Figure 4. Speaking and Writing: A progression from Fundamentals to a culmination in esthetic expression of Instructions.

            The right side of the image represents writing. Sound and word construction in speech precedes the construction of characters and the written word. Then the levels of development of written skills pursues a path toward esthetic creation.

            In considering declarative and procedural knowledge (Anderson, 1995), Fundamentals map well to declarative knowledge, with the focus on knowledge development of facts and the relationship between facts, objects, or concepts. According to Shadbolt and Wielinga (1990), declarative knowledge tells us that an object or thing has a certain name or location, it tells us why something works in a specific way, which includes information about the elements and concepts in its domain and the relationships between them.

            There is however an important difference between declarative knowledge and Fundamentals. Basic automaticity in motor skills that happen without reflection are fundamental to any physical sport or activity. In other words, Fundamentals extend beyond Bloom’s cognitive domain. It also includes the psychomotor and affective domains. An example of Fundamentals in the affective domain might be the feelings one might experience when seeing one’s country’s flag while being abroad. Fundamentals thus go beyond the scope of declarative knowledge.

            In light of the similarity and difference between declarative knowledge and Fundamentals, the same parallel and difference can be drawn between procedural knowledge and Instructions. Tasks that are categorized as procedural knowledge, and that through the process described by Fitts’ Law, become automated without the need of reflection in performing them, pertain to Fundamentals rather than to Instructions.

            Procedural knowledge centers on the how, for example how to perform a given task. It includes the discrete steps and alternatives to performing a given task. With practice, procedural knowledge can become an automatic process, thus allowing the human to perform a task without the need for a conscious awareness.

            The description of strategic knowledge, which is comprised of information that forms the basis of problem solving, (for example action plans to meet specific goals; how to respond if necessary information is absent; actions to be taken if a proposed solution fails; and knowledge of the context in which procedures should be implemented) belong to the reflective domain and would be a suitable equivalent of Instructions. (Shadbolt & Wielinga, 1990). Fundamentals have to be established and developed to a nonreflective level in order for Instructions, as reflective skills, to be operational at the desired level. In this light declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge have to be developed to a nonreflective level in order for strategic knowledge to be optimally operational.

The Term Teachings

            Teachings center on people, including both a person-centered and a people-centered aspect. The person-centered aspect revolves around the character of the individual. This is concerned with concepts like character, values, ethics, morals, and human-centered principles.

            The people-centered aspect incorporates the person-centered values mentioned above, and places this in a social context of the person’s commitment to others. Words like love, charity, and altruism aptly describe the essence of this commitment. In the Christian tradition, the concepts of faith, hope, and charity directly address this essence.

            Under the heading Instructions, Table 1 listed the dominant and supportive domains for Instructions. If a similar table were to be created for concepts pertaining to Teachings (like honesty, dependability, integrity, loyalty, and so forth), the skill sets for all these concepts would all be mentally dominant and physically supportive.

            Many Teachings are adjectives or adverbs, and do not translate into action verbs. You cannot order me to honest or to integrit, but to be honest and to have integrity. Even a verb does not narrow the action down to a precise and predictable act. “Love your neighbor,” “Respect your parents,” or “Be virtuous,” are particular Teachings, yet they lack the specificity that skills bring to mind.

            Teachings reflect values, mores, and human-centered principles balanced with ideas, concepts, perceptions, and feelings, as expressed in a context-sensitive judgment. The presence or lack of Teachings is at the heart of character in personal identity. Unlike Instructions, which are done, Teachings per se are not done, but evidenced through whatever is done. It is through interpretive mediation that they are revealed. These expressions include spiritual, cultural, social, physical, personal, and academic concepts that point to behavioral decorum. To put Teachings to work, we use understanding to develop commitment to specific values, and as such, our ability to judge well and to express the value appropriately in diverse contexts improves.

            Whereas the specific directives of Instructions are demonstrable, for example, to tighten a bolt, only evidence of Teachings is available. The evaluation or judgment of Teachings has to consider the action and the context in which it was expressed.

            Teachings are applicable to every mortal. Teachings guide or intervene as a mediating layer between the thought and the action within its context. In a simplified sense, Instructions refer to actions, and Teachings refer to judgment, which are expressed as behavior or actions in a specific context.

            Teachings are anchored to human-centeredness, yet there is a dualistic nature that can be observed. The two subcomponents (person-centeredness and people-centeredness) can be illustrated as follows — it is possible to be ethical and principled; yet to be cold and disaffectionate. The one level of commitment is a commitment to self with regards to justice, ethics and correctness. Commitment to self refers to values that the person expresses independent of others. These commitments are upheld by self-discipline and personal conviction. These values speak of a commitment to oneself, based on justice, ethics and decorum. The work by Kohlberg (1971) specifically addresses this moral development. The final principled level of moral conduct is described as follows:

Stage 6: The universal ethical-principle orientation. Right is defined by the decision of conscience in accord with self-chosen ethical principles that appeal to logical comprehensiveness, universality, and consistency. These principles are abstract and ethical (the Golden Rule, the categorical imperative); they are not concrete moral rules like the Ten Commandments. At heart, these are universal principles of justice, of the reciprocity and equality of the human rights, and of respect for the dignity of human beings as individual persons.

            The person described here is moral, ethical, and tolerant. Yet, it does not imply that this person is an altruist — someone abounding in love for others, committed to humanity, and willing to sacrifice personal conveniences on behalf of others. This is a suitable introduction to the second level of commitment.

            The conative domain fits in the person-centered component of Teachings. This relate to the individual’s ability to apply volition and self-regulation to be an achiever.

            The other level of commitment is an altruistic commitment to others. Commitment to others refers to values that the person expresses because of others. The commitment to such values are also upheld by self-discipline and a profound personal conviction. Among others, this centers on values related to respect and love for others. The nature and degree of the first level of commitment (to personal values) would determine how Teachings related to the second level of commitment (a commitment to others) are expressed.

            A member of the Italian mafia might love and respect fellow mafioso and part of la famiglia. This person might reserve such love and respect to only a few. That same person might not display that same commitment to others, and thus the expression of charity towards one might be the inverse of what is experienced by another. It is not only so-called bad people who face this dilemma. A preacher might love pious members of the congregation, but be irritated with the boisterous drunkard asking for help late at night.

            If the culmination of Teachings, namely sainthood, were to be achieved, it would imply a universality and constancy in the commitment to principles of justice and charity. It is in this light that each situation would have to be judged — using experience and reflection to harmonize one’s judgement in each context with the aforementioned principles.

            Because the term sainthood is used mostly within the confines of religion, it is essential to consider alternatives. In describing the type of individual that represents the culmination of teachings, the following behaviors have to be present:

1.         a constancy in demeanor,

2.         a commitment to principles of justice, including ethics and moral values,

3.         a commitment to principles of charity, including self-sacrifice, devotion, respect, and compassion.

4.         vast experience with human interaction — enabling the person to expertly judge complex moral dilemmas and conflicting values

5.         a transformed human — someone who has conquered the natural instincts to be self-serving and self-centered

            What we speak of is someone who, under any imaginable circumstances, understands others, someone who passionately edifies others with a vision of hope, with a manifestation of faith, and with a commitment to love. This has to be someone who is in awe of the sanctity of life.

            The word saint is derived from the Latin word sanctus, which means “to consecrate, hallow, make inviolable” and also “holy, sacred, pure, virtuous” (Simpson, 1966). To express something that is so deeply valued and respected in English, the words come from either the Latin root sanctus or from the Germanic root heilig which gives us the words holy and hallow.

            If something or someone is very valuable to us, there is the natural tendency to (a) protect it, and (b) to strengthen and support it. This supports the notions of justice (protect) and charity (strengthen and support). It is thus in this light that the term sainthood is seen as the most suitable word to reflect all the characteristics mentioned above. The term is not meant to be used as a term pertaining to any religious group, but as a term to capture all of the qualities described above.

            Because Teachings are human centered; respect, compassion, empathy, camaraderie and other nuances of love act as the glue in the relationship between the teacher and the learner (disciple), especially to foster motivation and to encourage commitment. It is the human essence of love that is the fundamental springboard from which a beginning is made to become teachable — to accept and respond to teaching or instruction. Tending to a fruit tree would be an appropriate metaphor. On the one hand it has to be pruned, and on the other hand it has to be given water and nutrients. The acts related to love and compassion would be equivalent to the watering and nurturing. The pruning would be equivalent to all the actions helping the learner develop self-discipline, because without self-discipline, commitment is impossible; and without commitment the most prized attainment in education, sainthood will be unattainable.

            To the Christian, the exemplar of sainthood is personified by Jesus Christ. His life is seen as being in complete harmony with the Teachings He professed, and with a commitment to love others. This invariable commitment of love was expressed in the face of persecution and hate. This speaks of a high degree of self-discipline over appetites, emotions, and passions. Such a life reflects a holistic balance as indicated in Figure 5. It is not only the profound commitment to Teachings that is evident in saints, but it has to be accompanied by experience, which is to say the fruits of experience — a profound understanding. Teachings are concepts that are continuously redefined and indexed into even finer semantic nuances. For example if we consider honesty to be the focal point in the figure below, it is expressed by our judgment in the context of many forces that have to be considered and prioritized. The complexity of the expression of any principle is illustrated when there is a conflict between two principles, and due to the context choices have to be made to satisfy either of two mutually exclusive principles. An example might be if two thugs we to enter your home minutes after a frightened boy entered your home to hide. In a rage, the thugs ask you if you had seen the boy and add their threats of wanting to rip him apart. Would you be truthful or would you remain silent or would you lie, allowing your sanctity for life rule in this matter? Dishonesty can be labeled quite differently, depending on the context. Here are some context examples: if you bare false witness, it can be called deceiving or lying or leading someone on; when someone’s property is unlawfully taken, it can be called thievery, cheating, embezzlement, and so forth. An expanding semantic richness of the same term can evoke in the same mind over time a much different mental image. How you define love or honesty changes with the acquisition of experience and insight.



Figure 5. Some of the forces to counterbalance in Teachings.

            This dissertation provides essential traits to differentiate between these domains, but one would be hard-pressed to provide an exhaustive list of Teachings. Many volumes have been written to address Teachings, and any attempt to present a representational list of Teachings would be overwhelming.

            Although the FIT model, as presented in this dissertation, is a descriptive model, an example from another scholar’s work is given to display how it could be applied. Ligon (1960, p. 11-15) provided five steps for the building of character. The first step is called, exposure. This is the experience of hearing Teachings. The second step, repetition, is required to sharpen the memory, and it has to be done at timed intervals. The third step, understanding, comes with time. Ligon suggests that students are often able to recite what they have learned without knowing what it means. The fourth step is conviction. Ligon said, “The fact remains that conviction, or acceptance, is a necessary step, if character education is to be effective.” The final step is application. Ligon emphasized the need for the student to come to understand “that vicarious sacrifice is superior to self-interest.”

            The following example exemplifies a deeper level of understanding of a teaching at the person-centered level of commitment — justice. Once a diamond dealer in South Africa mentioned how a young lady from the countryside entered his office. She had inherited two high-grade diamonds. Each stone weighed more than a carat. She wanted to sell one of the stones and her asking price was $1,000. The diamond dealer closely inspected the stone and realized it was worth substantially more than she asked for. Should he give her the asking price, or would it be fair to see if he could get her to come down even a little more? He offered her $7,000. She was overjoyed. Soon thereafter he resold it for more than $10,000. I asked him, “Why did you not give her what she was asking for? She was happy with that price and so were you.” His answer showed a commitment to higher principles than mere economic gain when he said, “I knew she was ignorant, and exploiting that would not be honest.”

            It is conceivable that someone else could have offered the lady her asking price and seen nothing dishonest about it. It is thus understanding that could make people digress in their choices relating to the same issue, and doing so without violating their conscience as it is mapped to their present understanding. Yet, as each of us reflect on our understanding of honesty as a child, as a teen, and then as an adult or senior citizen, we recognize the same essence of honesty throughout, yet if our commitment to the teaching of honesty remains firm over the years, our perspectives expand over time. This indicates that the internalization of a teaching is an iterative process; one revisits the same teaching many times, each time considering new perspectives and a broader context.

            In conclusion then, the objective of Teachings is to foster a commitment to person-centered Teachings such as morals and ethics in personal conduct, and then also to people-centered Teachings relating to interpersonal conduct — to be committed to values of charity and hope. This commitment through time will not be expressed in a monolithic way, but an expanding perception, compassion, and comprehension will improve, and the individual will become an excellent judge — leading to greater depth in commitment and more insightful ways to express that commitment.

Interrelatedness Between the Three Domains

            The interrelatedness between Teachings, Instructions, and Fundamentals is complex. All three domains interact and have to be considered to do justice to the word education. These realms are interdependent to produce a well-rounded human being.

            In the next two examples, the role of Fundamentals in Instructions and then in Teachings is illustrated. A nonnative speaker of English might have a decent command of the language, but not adequately understand strong verbs. This person might make the following mistakes: “He bringed me an ornately decorated chair,” or “He singed too loud.” To remedy this situation an argument can be made to treat this problem as either a skill-building problem, or as a fundamental recall problem. With a focus on skill, the instructor would focus on the reflective aspects in building a skilled user that reflects on rules and logic to construct strong verbs. On the other hand, treating this problem as a fundamental recall problem, one would focus on memorization. Typically the learner would recite a list like “sing, sang, sung, . . . .” With the Fundamentals addressed, the instructional objectives can be met.

            The following example identifies a lack in the fundamental part of a teaching. In Durban, South Africa, an Indian man converted to a Christian denomination that expected of him to abstain from consuming alcohol. Shortly after his conversion, he expressed his personal conviction that he really supported the teaching not to drink on weekends. Here, he did not have a problem with commitment, but with understanding. Thus, the instructional part of the teaching was lacking, and to be more precise, the fundamental component of the instructional part of the teaching was lacking. So, with the accurate facts presented, the convert was appropriately contextualized. The fundamental domain was satisfied, which satisfied the instructional domain, which satisfied the teaching domain, and this contextualization corrected the new convert’s understanding and hopefully enabled him to expand his commitment beyond the weekend.

            With Fundamentals being a subset of Instructions, it implies that knowing precedes doing. In language it is like understanding and speaking — your ability to produce language will never outstrip your ability to understand language.

            Many affective issues and the individual’s sense of identity and purpose are served better by Teachings than by Instructions. Good instruction, and the resulting skill attainment, also builds self-esteem and confidence, which serves the individual’s affective needs. Good instruction also contributes to minimizing affective baggage like stress and confusion in the learner. Good Teachings, and the resulting understanding and commitment from within, would enhance the emotional and psychological readiness in the learner — preparatory to, and key to, responding favorably to instruction; also reducing the affective baggage of harmful attitudes. This statement leads to the following question, “When the nerve center of the Teachings’ environment, the home, abdicates its role as the environment of choice for character building in the child, can we honestly expect an essentially instructional environment remedy this deficit?”

            Consider undisciplined teenagers at a school for teens in trouble. Because they have failed to embrace essential Teachings as a commitment to self and a commitment to others, they struggle to muster the self-discipline to commit to values such as respect, courtesy, honesty, compassion, and so forth. They do not respond well to instruction, not even good instruction. It takes a teacher, not an instructor, to make the essential difference in their lives — to bring them to the threshold mentioned in the previous paragraph — at which point there occurs a change of understanding and appreciation (valuing), and the consequent commitment to both person-centered and people-centered Teachings.

            The needful role of instruction, as an important part of Teachings, has to be recognized. Objective centeredness is also part of Teachings, so Instructions are part of Teachings. Likewise do Fundamentals contextualize the learner, preparatory to meeting the challenges set forth in instruction.

            This point of Instructions being a subset of Teachings can be illustrated with a personal example. As a teenager I played volleyball at the club level. The better my skills became, the more competitive I became as well. As I became more adept, I sensed a disturbing weakness in my personality on the court.

            I experienced a dissonance between my value system in life and my behavior on the court. In life I would consistently reflect a greater value for people than for things or self-centered objectives. On the court it was the reverse. I valued personal ambition and objectives more than I did people. I was easily frustrated with a lack of performance from other team members. I was quick to criticize, and good play by fellow team members was not praised, but expected. I showed little mercy to my opponents and I treated the game like warfare. This incongruity between my judgment and values on and off the court gradually became apparent to me. This disharmony in my life created an inner tension that I had to resolve. I had to face the inevitable, realizing that I would have to become teachable (impressionable, sensitive), in order to admit to myself that the value system I espoused as a person and my conduct on the court were not reconciled. On court my values did not mediate between my thoughts and actions. I analyzed my behavior and became much more conscious of the shortcomings in my sportsmanship. Very consciously I worked on my social skills and my commitment to respect and support other players. The reconciliation of my on-court and off-court value systems occurred over time. I had some lapses in my behavior, but reasonably consistent harmony and uniformity in my value system were eventually achieved.

            Likewise do we as learners depend on our comprehension of principles to shape our skills. The improvement of my judgment on court can be attributed to the improvement of my communicative skills. Like with most skills, it was not merely a decision to do right, but it was an expansion of understanding that preceded any change. I had to understand that my behavior needed improvement. It is in a sense the same threshold that every alcoholic has to cross — admitting and facing up to the problem. This courage has to lead to a determined desire to change. In my case this change in attitude lead to an increased commitment that drove the development of a desired skill. These reflective acts of retraining habits bring together Teachings and Instructions. Teachings supply the understanding, the appreciation, and the commitment. Instructions supply the improved skill to succeed at changing.

            A key comment about the interrelatedness of Teachings and Instructions comes from Loren Eisley (1999). He said,

We who are engaged in the life of thought are likely to assume that the key to an understanding of the world is knowledge, both of the past and of the future - that if we had that knowledge we would also have wisdom. It is not my intention here to decry learning. It is only to say that we must come to understand that learning is endless and that nowhere does it lead us behind the existent world. It may reduce the prejudices of ignorance, set in our bones, build our cities. In itself it will never make us ethical men. Yet because ours, we conceive, is an age of progress, and because we know more about time and history than any men before us, we fallaciously equate ethical advance with scientific progress in a point-to-point relationship.

             This statement underlines the need for the domain beyond knowledge. The field of Instruction cannot ignore the domain of Teachings, since Teachings address the person, and without a soundness of mind which Teachings promote, the pursuit of learning through Instruction is diminished. United States President Theodore Roosevelt very aptly said: “To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” (Roosevelt, n.d.). Deijmann (2001) expressed the same essence as follows: “An educated mind is useless without a focused will, and dangerous without a loving heart.”

            The well-known activist, author, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel (1990), commented on German education as being of the best in the world. Yet, it did not preclude Germans from masterminding some of the most barbaric acts in history. The question then, “What was wrong with their education?” Wiesel answered it as follows: “It emphasized theories instead of values, concepts rather than human beings, abstraction rather than consciousness, answers instead of questions, ideology and efficiency rather than conscience.” Table 2 below juxtaposes each of these pairs of terms, there is a natural division between objective centeredness and human centeredness. The caveat hidden in the words of Wiesel, is that an education that emphasizes Instructions (objective centeredness), and not Teachings (human centeredness), might achieve technical excellence, but disregard of human values creates the risk of moral bankruptcy.

            Table 2

            Contrasting the Focal Points of Education as Mentioned by Wiesel

Objective centeredness

Human centeredness




human beings





ideology and efficiency



           Long-term commitment to Teachings, as reflected by actions, bears the fruits of wisdom and sound judgment and becomes a means to a greater end. Behavior is an expression, judged by certain principles or ethics like honesty. You cannot honest, but you can say something which can be evaluated to be truthful or not. So, honesty is not superficially captured, it is not the end — whereas with Instructions the particular act or competency is the end. With Teachings, each expression latently carries with it a value and ethic. Actions and expressions reflect the presence or avoidance of wisdom, yet it might not be the act that bares the quality of wisdom, but the act in context. With skills, the act itself bares the quality of skill. With Instructions there is proof of the ability. With Teachings, there is evidence of the commitment as it has been expressed by good judgment in the appropriate context.


            The terms teacher and instructor will be clarified. Then the terms problem and challenge will be addressed.

Teacher and Instructor

            This investigation proposes that the terms teacher and instructor are not synonymous. A teacher is the holistic educator — the person who would address all three domains. An instructor uses teachings in a supportive role, but the emphasis is on instructions.

            In the light of the discussion about the three domains, a deficit in terminology is exposed. A teacher is associated with the domain of Teachings and an instructor is associated with the domain of Instructions, but what term would be used for the person providing the content to learners in Fundamentals? As described earlier, a teacher is involved in all three domains, since Teachings encompasses Fundamentals, Instructions and Teachings.

            An instructor is primarily focused on the domains of Fundamentals and Instructions. Yet, Fundamentals do not only exist as a subset of Instructions or Teachings, but as an independent field as well. There is no semantic term depicting the agent giving content to the learners in this context. Consider common knowledge. The domain of common knowledge is vital to any educated person. This includes a melange of facts that belong to some respected academic domains like biology or history, but also to trivia. Examples of popular common-knowledge categories would be, prominent world figures like inventors, philosophers, leaders, and so forth; world events in politics, epidemiology, nature, and so forth; places of importance; and so forth. What would we call the person disseminating such information? Even though there is a logical justification for the creation of a term to label such a person, the reason why a term for such a person does not exist is insightful.

            If we consider the culminating objective of each of the domains in the figure above, it is clear that Instructions and Teachings are complex environments, where the achievement of the culminating objective requires rich communicative events to effectuate the learning process. In contrast, the culminating objective of Fundamentals take place at the cell level. To be achieved is memorization of facts and the development of the relational context between facts. Such activities are folded into the greater event of instruction and possibly teaching. Here the teacher or instructor addresses the activity surrounding the objective of Fundamentals. Fundamentals that are not integrated into either instructional or teaching events are usually designated as trivia, and as such the role of the content provider is informal and insignificant; for with trivia, the acquisition is usually driven by the learner. Each of the following three paragraphs focus on specific aspects that differentiates between Instructions and Teachings.

            As the actor, Instructions can be executed by a person or a thing. A technological device like a robot could execute specific instructions. So could a human be trained in skills to execute specific instructions. In other words, within the objective-centeredness of Instructions, it can be executed by man or machine. A machine cannot execute Teachings. Oppressive regimes, like fascism and some forms of communism, attempt to reduce humans to cogs in a state-run machine, which speaks of an objective-centered dominance, and the diminishing of the human-centered domain. Freedom-loving political systems allow and support human centeredness. There is a great value of the individual.

            Instructions lead to a specific action or set of actions. Teachings draw the adherent to a collection of values. These values might be expressed very differently, depending on context. A father trying to follow the teaching to be charitable to his children would not do the same thing for each child, but rather it would be the age, the gender, the needs, and so forth, of each child that would influence the father in how he would express his commitment. In contrast, the instruction to a janitor to switch off all radios throughout a building would result in a very similar action each time. Giving the same janitor the charge to show charity to all employees in the building would not imply a similar action to all those receiving the expressions of charity.

            Instruction results in an action, and often leads to a creation. The term esthetics describes the culmination of achievement of the action or of the creation — an exceptional harmony of form and function. A person who produces such great works could be called a master, an expert, or an artist. Teachings are not demarcated by a specific, narrowly-focused set of actions, but it is intent — a principle or standard to live by — that is consequently expressed in actions within a specific context. The term virtue describes Teachings that are understood and committed to. As described earlier, sainthood is the chosen term to describe the profound understanding and a deep and long-standing commitment to Teachings. Figures on the world stage that might fit this description would be people like Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama. Their commitment and profound understanding of Teachings are exemplary.

Problem and Challenge

            The terms problem and challenge require further clarification. Instructions are often suggested to be best suited to problem-solving scenarios. This research proposes the reconsideration of the term problem, and in some instances recommends using the term challenge, because (to use a cliché), there seems to be a problem with the word problem. Consider the terms problematic, or problematize. The term problem engenders the imagery of something that is broken, wrong, in need of correction or repair, or that there is an issue that needs to be resolved — which creates a negative connotation. In contrast to this, the term challenge avoids such an implied mind set or connotations. Like with the term problem, challenge centers on a state of tension between what is and what could or should be. It is an elicitation to prove something, to beat your opponent in sport or some activity, or it speaks of a demanding task or situation. A problem, as defined above, would be a subset of a challenge, implying that all problems are challenges, but not all challenges are problems. In many instances the word problem would be perfectly suitable, but (as described above), it is also overused within the field of Education.


            The FIT model is a simple system of three domains, each being an independent or interdependent domain. As interdependent domains, the FIT model represents the integrated role that Fundamentals has within the domain of Instructions and Teachings, or the integrated role that the domain of Instructions has within the domain of Teachings. To resort to a cliché, the next chapter will provide wings to the FIT model with the introduction of the Core Components Model — a model that will explore the core components of mobilizing the objectives of each domain of the FIT model.