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Idealism in Education

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    IDEALISM IN EDUCATION 01. INTRODUCTION Idealism is the oldest theory of philosophy. Its origin goes back to ancient India in the East and to Plato in the West. Generally, Idealists believe that ideas are the true reality. According to them, the human spirit is the most important element in life. Matter is not real. It attaches great significance to the study of man and his mind. It maintains that the material and physical universe is subordinate to a higher type of reality, a spiritual universe. CHIEF EXPONENTS OF IDEALISM (I) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) (viii) The Videc Rishis of India Plato – (427-347 B.

    C) Kant (1724- 1804 A. D) Hegal (1770-1831 A. D) Froebel (1772 – 1852 A. D) Swami Dyananda (1825 – 1883 A. D) R. N. Tagore (1861-1941 A. D) Aurobindo Ghosh (1872 – 1950 A. D) 02. MEANING OF IDEALISM The word „Idealism? signifies two terms: „Idea? and „ideal?. In other words Idealism is born out of Plato? s “Theory of Ideas”. According to this doctrine, the ultimate supremacy is of ideas. In this way, the real word is „ideaism? , but adding the letter „I? for pronunciation facility it is known as idealism. 03. DEFINITION OF IDEALISM (i) (ii) Views of D. M. Dutta: “Idealism holds that ultimate reality is spiritual”.

    Views of J. S. Ross: “Mind or spirit is the essential world stuff that the true reality is of a mental character”. (iii) Harold B. Titus: “Idealism asserts that reality consists of ideas, thoughts, minds, or selves rather than material objects and force”. (iv) R. N. Tagore: “Idealism is that school of philosophy which Iays great emphasis on ideas as well as on moral and spiritual values”. .. 1.. (v) Oxford dictionary: “Idealism means representation of things in an ideal form, imaginative treatment, system of thought in which the object of external perception is hold to consist of ideas”.

    04. MAIN FEATURES / CHARACTERISTICS OF IDEALISM (i) (ii) True reality consists in ideas; spirit and mind constitute reality. Material world is the expression of spiritual world. This world is not real. Man is the best creation of God. That is spiritual power in him. God is source of all knowledge. Value are absolute and unchanging Man is not the creator of values. The source of attaining true knowledge is our wisdom or intellectual enlightenment. The Philosophy believes in unity in diversity. (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) (viii) 05.

    PRINCIPLES OF IDEALISM The fundamental principles of Idealism are as under: (i) Two forms of the Whole World: Idealism believes in two forms of the world: (1) Spiritual world and (2) Material world, Idealists give more importance to spiritual world in comparison to the material world. They believe that spiritual world is real and the ultimate truth whereas the material world is transitory and mortal. To know the reality of the spiritual world is to know the reality of mind and soul. It is a sort of self – realization – the main aim of human life.

    (ii) Ideas are more important than objects: Knowledge of mind and soul can be obtained through ideas only according to Idealist. Therefore, they have given more importance to ideas over the objects and material things. To them, ideas are the ultimate Reality whereas objects die out sooner or later. In the Ideas are embedded all the realities and ultimate entities of the material world. .. 2.. (iii) Importance of Man over Nature: Man is more important than material nature as per the philosophy of idealist, it is because man can think and experience about material objects and material phenomena.

    Hence, the thinker or the one who experiences is more important than the object or the phenomena experienced. Man is endowed with intelligence and a sense of discrimination. Thus, he is not a slave of the environment as animals are, but he moulds and transforms the environment for his own good and welfare of the society. In a nutshell, man creates his own world of virtue and higher levels of art in different areas are achieved through his creativity. (iv) Faith in Spiritual Values: Idealists stress the point that the Prime aim of life is to achieve spiritual values. They are – Truth, Beauty and Goodness.

    These spiritual values are undying and permanent. The realization of these values man rises higher and higher in the moral plane till he attains Divinity. For the Achievement of these spiritual values all the capacities of man are to be harnessed to the full. These capacities are – knowing, feelings and willing. Man can achieve the highest spiritual values and thus realize his true and ultimate self. by the complete use of these capacities. (v) Importance of Personality Development: The „self ? of the individual is given much importance by the idealists. Therefore they insist upon the fullest

    development of the personality of an individual. According to them the development of personality means achievement of „Perfection?. Plato rightly speaks that each individual has an ideal self. He tries to develop that ideal ? Self? more and more. The true sense of the term is „self-realization?. It may be noted that self-realization as it expresses itself in the form of love, sympathy, fellow-feeling and co-operation for the good of all and no discrimination among human beings on any basis of caste, creed, sex, race or status etc. Universal education is the concept, Idealism advocates.

    In short, Idealism believes in the welfare of whole human community. (vi) Universal Mind: According to idealism, there is a spiritual universe permeated by the Universal Mind. This little mind is a part of the Universal Mind. .. 3.. The goal of human life is to realize the Universal Mind. The whole universe is one organism with its varied parts. Since mind comes from Mind, and soul from Soul and since they are not matter, they are imperishable. Final reality is Mind. This is also known as principle of Unity in Diversity. (vii) Realization of Higher values: According to Idealism, ideals of higher values are made by man.

    They have their prior existence. The chief aim of human life is to realize these values which are Truth, Goodness and Beauty. Idealism visualizes glimpses of God in whatever is true, good and beautiful. The beauty and grace of human life lie in the achievement of these fundamental, absolute and external values. 06. IDEALISM AND EDUCATION (EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM) An idealistic concept of education is something which leads to the highest moral conduct and deepest spiritual insight. It is through education that man is led to realize the higher values of life, namely Truth, Beauty and Goodness.

    As Ross said, “The function of education is to help us in our exploration of the ultimate universal values so that the truth of universe may become our truth and give power to our life”. 6. 1. IDEALISM AND AIMS OF EDUCATION The aims of education according to the philosophy of idealism are described below: (i) Self – realization or Exhaltation of Personality: Man is considered to be the most beautiful creation of God, according to idealism. Hence, the advocates of Idealism lay great stress on the exhaltation of human personality. By exhaltation of human personality, they mean self-realization.

    Self-realization involves full knowledge of the self. Hence, the first aim of education according to Idealism is to develop the „Self? of the individual higher and higher till self-realization is achieved. (ii) To Ensure Spiritual Development: Idealists give greater importance to spiritual values in comparison with material attainments. Thus, according to them, the second aim of education is to develop the child mentally, morally and above all spiritually. To develop the spirituality of the child, the teacher has to organize education, accordingly. .. 4..

    (iii) To Cultivate Truth, Beauty and Goodness: Idealists insist that to develop spiritual values in the individuals, pursuit of highest ideals namely-Truth, Beauty and Goodness should be encouraged more and more. The more an individual realizes these ideals, the more spiritually developed he will become. Therefore, education should strive its utmost in developing the child morally and spiritually in order to achieve self–realization. (iv) Conservation, Promotion and Transmission of Cultural Heritage: Man is the only being endowed with a keen and penetrating intelligence and an enormous capacity of assimilating knowledge of the world.

    Hence, his mental and intellectual capacities develop cultural, Social and artistic values in human life in all its aspects. Man? s achievement in the realm of science, art and culture are of great intrinsic value. The fourth aim of education according to Idealism is to acquaint the child with the cultural heritage so that he conserves, promotes and transmits it to the rising generation. (v) Conversion of Inborn Nature into Spiritual Nature: The inborn instincts and inherent tendencies of the child should be sublimated into spiritual qualities and values, according to the views of idealists.

    individuality. This is real development of the Only then, it will be possible for the individual to attain fullest and highest development of personality. Therefore the fifth aim of education according to Idealism is to sublimate the inborn raw instincts of the child into spiritual qualities. (vi) Preparation of a Holy life: Idealists uphold that education should create such condition and provide an environment which is conducive to the development of spiritual values in a child. Spiritual development and self realization can be obtained through a complete holy life full of piety and good ideas.

    Hence, the sixth aim of education according to idealistic philosophy is to prepare the child for a holy life. 6. 2. IDEALISM AND CURRICULUM While structuring curriculum, Idealists give more importance to thoughts, feelings, ideals and values than to the child and his activities. They firmly hold that curriculum should be concerned with the whole humanity and its experiences. These experiences can be imbibed by two ways namely- (1) from the physical environment and (2) from contacts with other fellowmen. In this way, in an Idealistic curriculum, both the scientific subjects as well as the humanities are included.

    In the following discussion we are throwing light on the ideas of Plato, Herbert, Nunn, Ross and other educationists about curriculum. (1) Views of Plato About Curriculum: Plato was a staunch idealist, According to him, the aim of life is to realize God which is possible only by pursuing high ideals namely Truth, Beauty and Goodness. These high ideals can be attained by three types of activities namely intellectual, aesthetic and moral. Graphically this can be represented as underActivities of man Intellectual Aesthetic Moral Language, Literature, History, Geography Maths, Science etc. Arts and Poetry etc.

    Religion, Metaphysics, Ethics etc. (2) Views of Herbert About Curriculum: According to Herbert the Idealistic aim of education is the promotion of moral values. Hence, he gave prime importance to subjects like Literature, History, Art, Music, Poetry, together with other Humanities and secondary place to scientific subjects. (3) Views of Nunn About Curriculum:- Views of Nunn about curriculum are also based on the philosophy of Idealism. According to him, it is the function of school to promote and maintain morality and the historical tradition to preserve and develop its achievements more and more.

    This is possible only when the school includes those activities and subjects in its curriculum which reflect the achievements of human culture and civilization. Hence, Nunn emphatically advocates the inclusion in the curriculum, those attainments which reflect the highest creations of human mind and those activities which involve the noblest expressions of human ingenuity and creative intelligence. Nunn has divided these activities into two categories as the following chart depicts. – Activities of man Physical, Social, Moral, and Religious Physical Culture, Sociology, Ethics and Religion etc.

    , Literary and Aesthetic Literature, Art, Music, Handicraft, History, Geography, Science, and Maths etc. (4) Views of Ross About Curriculum: Ross has divided human activities into two categories-(1) Physical or related to healthy living and (2) Spiritual. Ross holds the view firmly that man can develop spiritually only when he is physically healthy. His chart of Classification is as under- Activities of man Physical Skills and Health Education Spiritual Intellectual Literature, Language, History, Geography, Science and Maths. Moral Ethics Aesthetic Fine Arts Religious Religion and Metaphysics

    6. 3. IDEALISM AND METHODS OF TEACHING Some Idealists have mentioned a few teaching methods as follows:(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) Question – Answer method – Plato Discussion method – Aristotle Induction and Deduction – Aristotle Simple to complex – Descrates Instruction method – Herbert Play way method – Froebel Lecture Method Project Method etc. , 6. 4. IDEALISM AND TEACHER In the Idealism, the role of teacher is very important and glorious. Idealistic philosophy believes that this planned creation has two parts-(1) The teacher and (2) the child as student.

    Both aims at one target only- The development of the individual child in a spiritual way. The realization of this great aim is possible only through education and the essential agent, the teacher. In reality an Idealist teacher is imbued fully with high degree of self-knowledge, self – dynamism and essential qualities of spiritualism. By his own model of life, he tries to shape the individuality of the child to a life of purity, virtue and great achievements. He creates a wholesome conducive atmosphere by his own activities and planned experiences for the child.

    He guides the child with such genuine love, affection and sympathy the he attains his full mental and spiritual development. 6. 5. IDEALISM AND DISCIPLINE The idealists suggest „Impressionistic Discipline?. It means that if the child goes on receiving good influence from all directions, he learns to live as good discipline automatically. There is no need of any kind of repression for keeping discipline of this kind. The child learns to live in discipline by himself with the help of good influence. For it, the teacher and other individuals should present the highest ideal of self- discipline before the child.

    6. 6. IDEALISM AND SCHOOL Agency of transmit social, cultural and spiritual values to children. 07. EVALUATION OF IDEALISM a) Merits of Idealism: Idealism has contributed to the modern educational thought and practice in the following way: (1) Idealisms emphasize complete development of human personality. resulted in fresh look at human relations in teaching. (2) Idealism recommends a happy blending of individual and social aims of education. It has (3) It gives an important position to the teacher in the educative process.

    The teacher must perform the role of a benevolent person who, like the gardener, is charged with the responsibility of rearing the flowers of humanity. (4) The Process of education must lead to the deepest spiritual insight and the to the highest moral and spiritual conduct. (5) (6) Idealism lays stress on self realization. According to idealism, discipline is not to be imposed on pupils. The teacher has only to help them develop self-discipline and through that self-knowledge. (7) The highest knowledge is that of self or that or divine, cosmic or spiritual life.

    That leads to the freedom of mind. (8) (9) Simple living and higher thinking should be the aim of education. Idealistic philosophy restores man to his proper place and educational institutions become places for learning and creating values like truth, beauty and goodness. (10) Idealism has been supported by many great philosophers both of the east and the west. Many educational schemes and plans have had their beginning in idealism. (b) 1) Demerits of Idealism: It neglects psychological nature of the child and is more inclined towards spiritualism. It also ignores the physical self.

    2) It does not contribute much to the field of methods of teaching. emphasizes experience. 3) Too much importance has been given to the teacher. A child grows under the shadow of a teacher. established values. 4) 5) 6) It may lead to a rigid and often totalitarian social order. It sets Unobtainable goals. There cannot be a final goal. The other points are that it emphasizes humanities. It under – rates the study of science and technology. unchanging. 7) It does not take note of individual differences and special abilities of pupils and subject them, one and all, to the same course of studies.

    It overlooks possibility of error. Its truth is He is much dependent on the teacher and the It de- 8) Idealistic scheme of education by and large pays less attention to physical, industrial, social and electronic environment to today. 14. CONCLUSION The supporters of idealism have their own ground to answer these issues. The above criticism can be overcome after making a through study of this philosophy. We cannot deny the significant features of idealism. Here more emphasis is laid on the spiritual atmosphere of the school and on practice of moral and other essential virtues.

    Idealism generates depth of vision and faith in life. For this, a teacher is only a helping hand. In the end it can be maintained that idealistic approach to life and education will definitely reduce the present tension and conficting situations of educational crisis. By providing suitable environments and spiritual atmosphere and by becoming right types of teachers we can make the destinies of our pupils and shape their lives. However, the philosophy of idealism must be supplemented by pragmatic philosophy. References: 01. Bhatia K.

    K. and Narang C. L. (2006): Philosophical and sociological Bases of Education. Tandon Publications. Ludhiana. Theory and Principles of Education, Tandon Publications, Ludhiana. Philosophical and Sociological Foundation of Education, R. Lall Book Depot, Meerut. Education in Emerging Indian society, Tandon Publications, Ludhiana. Educational Challenges Society, Kavyamala Dindigul. in Indian Publishers, 02. Dr. Inderdev Singh Nandra (2005): 03. Swaroop Saxena N. R (2006): 04. Mehta D. D. (2005): 05. Meenakshi Sundaram A. (2007): .. 11..

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