Education is acquisition of knowledge and experience as well as the development of abilities, skills, habits, and attitudes which help a person to complete a meaningful life in this globe. Idealism is a major philosophical foundation of education.

Although there were many philosophical foundations were found which gives a wide view of aim of education, curriculum, method of teaching etc. Among these ‘IDEALISM’ occupies a special role compared to others. As the name suggests idealism believes in idea and ideals. That is to say according to them the entire universe is an extension of the mind and soul.

The word ‘Idealism’ has derived from ‘Ideals’ or ‘Ideas’. So according to them ideas or ideals or higher values are much more significant in human life than anything else. It gives stress on ideals of mind and self. Also it gives stress on spiritual aspects rather than materialistic aspects.

Principal supporter of Idealism are Plato, Pestalozzi, Frobel, Socrates, Kant, Hegel etc,.

“An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous.”

Henry Ford

Chief assertions of Idealism:
  1. It believes in the universal mind or God. According to them universal mind is the source of all values.
  2. It believes man as a spiritual being and holds that it is spirituality which distinguishes it from other creatures.
  3. The knowledge which is gained through the activity and creativity of mind is more important than the knowledge perceived through sense organs.
  4. It has full faith in eternal values like truth, goodness and beauty. 

 

Read also: 

Pragmatism in Education 

Naturalism in Education 

An Essay on Education 

Principles of Idealism:
  1. World is divided into spiritual world and material world.
  2. Ideas are important than object.
  3. Importance of man over nature.
  4. Faith in spiritual values of truth goodness and beauty.
  5. Full support to the principles of Unity in diversity.
  6. Mind is more important than other sensory organs.
  7. Knowledge acquired by self effort is the real knowledge.
  8. Spiritual development is more important than physical development.
Aims of education in Idealism:
  1. Education should result in self realization.
  2. Development of spiritual value with the help of education.
  3. Conservation, promotion, and transformation of cultural heritage.
  4. To develop unity in diversity.
  5. It ensures about spiritual development.
  6. Conversion of inborn nature into spiritual nature.
  7. Preparation for a holy life.
  8. Development of will power.
Curriculum in Idealism: 
  1. Principle of pursuit of attributes, e.g., truth, goodness and beauty.
  2. The Principle of physical development.
  3. Principle to development of cognitive, effective and psycho motor domains.
Methods of Teaching  in Idealism:
  1. Lecture and discussion method.
  2. Questioning method.
  3. Self study method.
  4. Imitation method.
  5. Meditation and concentration method.
Role of Teacher:
  1. In this philosophy teacher is the friend philosopher and guide of his students.
  2. The teacher guides and helps the children in the development of their physical as well as mental abilities.
  3. According to idealists the teacher should possess good personality, morality, honesty, wisdom etc so that the students would follow them.
  4. The teacher should encourage students to understand and solve problems by the method of analysis and synthesis.
Discipline:
  1. Self insight as well as self analysis are the main disciplinary factors in idealism.
  2. The discipline shouldn’t to be imposed on pupils.
  3. The teacher helps the students to develop self-discipline through the self knowledge or self concept. To them freedom is not means but it is an end. They are supporters of self discipline.
  4. They are not in favour of militant discipline. Instead they want to combine humility, courtesy, obedience and discipline.
Merits of Idealism:
  1. Idealistic education promotes universal education.
  2. In idealistic education, the inculcation of highest values namely, truth, goodness and beauty more important than any other values. This will lead to the development of moral character of the child.
  3. Idealism leads to the development of the self of an individual.
  4. Idealism respects the individuality of the child and tries to stimulate his creative energies.
  5. Because of the idealistic philosophy and education the school has grown into an important social organisation.
Demerits:
  1. Idealism is an abstract and vague doctrine that is it avoids the realities.
  2. Idealistic education gives more importance to teachers compared to students.
  3. In idealistic education Humanities were given greater importance for the spiritual development of the child and ignores sciences.
  4. Idealism lays more emphasis on thinking and mental activities. That is why  increases the importance of intellectualism occurs unnecessarily.
  5. While idealism is concerned with the ultimate end of life. It avoids the real problems of day to day life.
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