Aims of Education * The purpose of education is to contribute to the development of the mind and self of the learner. * The education-imparting institute should emphasize intellectual activities, moral judgments, aesthetic judgments, self-realization, individual freedom, individual responsibility, and self-control in order to achieve this development. Curriculum * The curriculum is based upon the idea or assumption of the spiritual nature of man. * This idea in turn leads to an idea of the nature of the larger units of family, community, state, earth; the universe, and infinity.
In preserving the subject matter content, which is essential for the development of the individual mind, the curriculum must include those subjects essential for the realization of mental and moral development. * These subjects provide one with culture, and they should be mandated for all pupils. Moreover, the subject matter should be kept constant for all. The Teaching-Learning Process * Idealists have high expectations of the teacher. * The teacher must be excellent, in order to serve as an example for the student, both intellectually and morally. No other single element in the school system is more important than the teacher. The teacher must excel in knowledge and in human insight into the needs and capacities of the learners; and must demonstrate moral excellence in personal conduct and convictions. * The teacher must also exercise great creative skill in providing opportunities for the learners’ minds to discover, analyze, unify, synthesize and create applications of knowledge to life and behavior. Methods of Teaching * The classroom structure and atmosphere should provide the learners with opportunities to think, and to apply the criteria of moral evaluation to concrete within the context of the subjects. The teaching methods must encourage the acquisition of facts, as well as skill in reflecting on these facts. It is not sufficient to teach pupils how to think. It is very important that what pupils think about be factual; otherwise, they will simply compound their ignorance. * Teaching methods should encourage learners to enlarge their horizons; stimulate reflective thinking; encourage personal moral choices; provide skills in logical thinking; provide opportunities to apply knowledge to moral and social problems; stimulate interest in the subject content; and encourage learners to accept the values of human civilization. The cave is the mind. * The shadows of the puppets that the prisoners are watching represent their taking over, in unreflective fashion, the second-hand opinions and beliefs that are given to them by parents, society, and religion. * The puppets themselves represent the mechanical, unreasoning minds of the prisoners. The light of the fire within the cave provides only partial, distorted illumination from the imprisoned intellects. * Liberation begins when the few who turn around get up and go out of the cave. Outside of the cave, the real objects (the Forms) are those in the transcendental realm.
In order to see them, the light of the sun, which represents pure reason, is necessary. A similar allegory using today’s symbols would replace the cave with a movie theater, the shadows with the pictures on the screen, the puppets with the film, and the fire with the projector light. The sun is outside, and we must leave the theater to see its light (we must leave the mind). Idealism vs Realism in Education There are five basic philosophies of education namely idealism, realism, perennialism, experimentalism and existentialism.
Idealism is based on the view that students should be taught wisdom through the study of literature, history, philosophy, and religion. The focus is on making the students intellectually sound and moralistically right, so that they can serve the society in a better way. The teaching methods used are lectures, discussions and dialogs, that is, all the methods which stimulate the mind. Moral lessons are taught by giving examples of people from history. In short, the focus is on education of the mind through intuition and introspection.
Realism, on the other hand, is based on the view that students should learn about the world and the universe by studying science and mathematics. The focus is on making the students understand that reality is in the physical world, that is, what we see around us. Realism emphasizes on providing factual information to the students and teaching them the laws of the nature. The teacher presents the subject very systematically to the students. There is a standard curriculum, which is taught to all the students. Moral lessons are taught in the form of certain rules, which all the students have to follow.
Focus is on education through experimentation and critical, scientific thinking. A combination of realism and idealism and all the other philosophies is a prerequisite for teaching children effectively. Take the example of American schooling, which borrows something or the other from each of the above mentioned philosophies. REACTION: Realists are basically conservative people who follow the conventions of the society and thus, are more secure socially. Idealists, on the other hand, are nonconformists who are most likely to revolt against the set norms.
Idealism is a theory of the futurists. While, realism is the theory, of the people who live in the present. Idealists aim for perfection. They set high goals for themselves and others. They believe that humans have vast potential, which should be harnessed properly to achieve excellence. Realists, on the other hand, settle for mediocrity. Thus, in today’s world, there cannot be a debate on idealism vs realism, as idealism has virtually vanished from everywhere. If we look at various business organizations, they may pretend that they are working for a social cause.
But in reality, the only thing they are concerned about is their profits and turnovers. If we look at individuals, idealistically, no one should be deprived of food, clothing and shelter. But in reality, people die of hunger everyday in certain Asian and African countries. But, still people are optimistic of a better future. It is this optimism that keeps idealism alive and also the debate of “idealism vs realism”. | Idealism is one of the oldest philosophies. This is one of the most important philosophies that have ever been formulated.
This talks of the attainment of perfection of human beings. The term is derived from the Greek word that means ‘to see’. Plato is the father of idealism. The basic belief of idealism is that man is a combination of spiritual and material aspects. Of the two, spiritual aspect is considered to be more important. An idealist gives more importance to the mind and self than the matter and body. There are a few principles of idealism. They are given in detail below. 1. Principle of universal mind: An idealist believes that there is a universal mind and this universal mind is considered as God.
All knowledge and human life is thought to have originated from this universal mind or God. Humans being a beautiful creation of God, the ultimate aim of the humans should be the realization of God or universal mind. Even now many people with or without their knowledge follow this principle. This can be said because many of us thank God for our existence in this world. We also seek God’s blessing in every activity that we may be doing. 2. Man is a spiritual being: According to this idealistic philosophy, man is a combination of spiritual and materialistic aspects.
The spiritual nature of the human being is considered to be the essence of the human life. This makes the human being unique and different from all the other things that have been created by God. Idealists believe that the mind or spirit is not only the brain and its activity, but a real thing with a separate entity. 3. Ideas and values are superior to materialistic world: Idealism believes in the worth of ideals or higher values. These high values make the human life more meaningful and are not created by man.
They have a prior existence as a gift from God to the man kind. The foremost aim of man should be the realization of these higher values. Idealist also believes that attainment of these higher values will be possible only through the realization of God. This principle is really an antidote to varied problems prevailing in our highly materialistic and consumer driven modern society. Addition of higher values to the day to day life will enliven the lives of all people by avoiding the problems faced in life. This is another of the principles of idealism. 4.
Real knowledge is perceived in mind: According to idealists, the knowledge gained by various activities that include creativity of the mind is more valid than the knowledge acquired through the senses. The most important drawback of this principle of idealism is that it misjudged the role of the various senses in acquiring knowledge. REACTION: The idealists consider that the ultimate aim of life is to change the human being into an ideal creature with attainment of physical, intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual perfection. This is considered as the major goals of idealistic behavior.