I don’t want students to merely believe true things. That’s a start, but it’s not enough. I want students to know true things. So what’s the difference?
What would you think if I said I know it’s raining outside, but I didn’t believe it was raining outside? You’d be puzzled. It doesn’t make sense to say I know something that at the same time I don’t actually believe. All the facts we think we know are also facts we believe, so knowledge includes belief.
What if I said I know it’s raining outside, but it’s not true that it’s raining outside? Again, you’d be confused and wonder, “How can you know something that’s not true?” You can’t. A belief is true if it matches reality and it’s false if it doesn’t. So to say someone’s belief is false means they don’t know. Therefore, knowledge not only includes belief, but truth as well.