What word is similar to inculcation, but would be understood by ordinary people?
When I asked about inculcation, people didn't understand the word. Psychologists, however, use it.
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Cyberherbalist gave one usage:
But there is also:
2) instill, which might be the more common.
The former has a somewhat negative connotation, the latter, more positive. For instance:
The father instilled in his sons a sense of quality and precision work worthy of his craftsmanship.
Instilling values or attitudes through persistent effort is inculcation. I'd suggest "influence" as a substitute for inculcate.
Indoctrination suggests you are teaching an agenda. Rote suggests one is repeating the same lessons over again and again.
However, my mother inculcated a love of reading by reading to me every day until I could read on my own, by letting me see her read for pleasure and discussing books withers, and by taking me to the library with her, and getting me my own card when I was old enough to read.
She inculcated an entrepreneurial spirit in me by letting me run, on shares, the tomato stand in front of the farm, and having a collection of Horatio Alger, Jr. books where I was sure to discover them.
My father inculcated moral values in me by letting me see him make repairs at the church, the grange hall, etc., without anyone asking him to, and without telling anyone he'd done it. He let me see how he treated my mother.
Almost everything we do inculcates our values in those around us, and they inculcate their values in us. Indoctrination and rote exercises are weak by comparison.
Others have mentioned instilling, which is good.
Another synonym is ingraining: Teaching or impressing upon the mind by frequent instruction or repetition. (WordWeb)
The word you're looking for is "indoctrination".
I would not be surprised if psychologists prefer "inculcation" precisely because it is not used by the common mass of people.
Both words have the pejorative sense of forcing a viewpoint upon someone, but "indoctrination" would be understood correctly by the majority of English speakers.