Pragmatism is a modern school of philosophy and plays an important role in educational system. Pragmatism is essentially a humanistic philosophy which stress that human creates his own values and course of activity.

                               According to William James ”Pragmatism is a temper of mind, an attitude, it is also a theory of the nature of ideas and truths; and finally it is theory about reality”

                               The term ‘Pragmatism’ is derived from Greek word ‘Pragma’ meaning activity or work done. Another group of thinkers, however, believes that ‘Pragmatism’ is derived from ‘Pragmatikos’ meaning practicability or experimentation.

                               Pragmatism believes in change. Therefore pragmatism induces to do useful and practical work. Education on the basis on this philosophy makes the child worthy and independent citizen of the society. According to this philosophy, education contains those important and practical and useful activities which make man self-dependent and useful member of the society.

Principles of Pragmatism:
  1. According to pragmatists change is the nature of truth.
  2. Truth is formed by its results.
  3. Problems acts as motivator of truths.
  4. Pragmatism emphasizes on the principle of utility.
  5. It opposes to fix ideals or values as stated by Idealists.
  6. Pragmatism recognizes the importance of man power and emphasizes on development of social and democratic values.
  7. It gives importance to activity based learning.
  8. Faith in pluralism and opposes to social customs and traditions.
  9. Faith in flexibility and advocates for human development according environment.

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” 
― John Dewey

Aim of Education in Pragmatism:
  1. Education should aim at continuous reconstruction and reorganization of experiences.
  2. Development of activity and experience based learning.
  3. To develop social efficiency.
  4. Harmonious development of individual.
  5. Education perceive through activity and experience.
  6. Creation of new values and continuous growth.
Curriculum in Pragmatism:

The curriculum reflects the aims of education. The curriculum should be framed on the basis of certain basic principles. The principle of curriculum construction in pragmatism are:

  1. Activity based Principle which says that curriculum should be activity based where each student can do the activity and learn from his own perception.
  2. Principle of utility that means the curriculum should be useful for future life.
  3. Principle of child centeredness.
  4. The principle of experience which means learning from senses and from own perceptions.
  5. Principle of integration which integrates the child activities and needs on one hand, and the needs of the present democracy on the other hand.
  6. Principal of flexibility which says that curriculum should not be rigid and fixed for all time rather it should be flexible in accordance with the time and need of students.
  7. According to pragmatism learning must be based on the child’s experiences as well as occupations and activities. Besides school subjects, free purposive and socialized activities should be in the curriculum.
  8. The subjects included in pragmatic curriculum are- Language, Hygiene, History, Geography, Physics, Mathematics, Science, Domestic science for Girls, Agriculture for boys, Psychology Sociology.

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An Essay on Education


Idealism In education

Method of Teaching:

The principal philosophy of pragmatic method of teaching is practical utility. The child is the central figure in this method. The essence of pragmatic method is learning especially through personal experience of the child. To a pragmatic education means preparation for practical life. The pragmatism has given more emphasis on following method of teaching.

  1. Project method which asks students to do some research and prepare a project.
  2. Learning by doing method.
  3. Correlation method
  4. Play way method
  5. Use of dynamic method of teaching.
  6. Experimentation.
  7. Activity.
  8. It also encourages discussion as a method of laboratory work. Personal reference in the library. Educational tours and excursions.
Role of Teacher:

In naturalism the teacher merely is an onlooker. Idealism regards him as an indispensable authority. In pragmatism the teacher is neither of the two, he stands midway. According to pragmatism a teacher is useful even though is not indispensable. The role of the teacher are as follows:

  1. In pragmatism the teacher is a friend, philosopher and guide for students.
  2. The teacher is not a dictator but only a leader of a group.
  3. Teacher should have knowledge of students interest and provide them social environment.
  4. Further the teacher should believe in democratic values.
  5. The teacher should have knowledge of social conditioning.
  6. The teacher should not over shadow the personality of the pupil.
Discipline in Pragmatism:

Although pragmatism does not believe in external restraint and discipline enforced by the superior authority of the teacher and the award of punishments. But it advocates discipline based on the principles of child activity and interest. It believes in engaging the children in free as well as purposeful real activities of human life. In short description include:

  1. Freedom as an important element.
  2. Promotes self discipline.
  3. Condemned enforced discipline and advocates social discipline based on child’s interest, activities and sense of social responsibilities.
  4. Teacher guided for self discipline.
  5. Social discipline by participating in school and society.
Merits of Pragmatism:
  1. Pragmatism introduced project method which indulges child in various creative activities and also cater to his natural progress and development.
  2. It is basically a child centered teaching approach.
  3. It emphasizes upon such type of activities which can be performed by learning by doing method.
  4. Similarly, it emphasizes the practical life of child. So, pragmatic education prepares the child for future life in a very effective manner.
  5. It develops in the child the love for democratic values as well as social efficiency which bring harmonious adjustment and development of personality.
  6. Moreover, pragmatism has revolutionized the process of education to very great extent.
Demerits of Pragmatism:
  1. It opposes pre determined truth. That is why, according to it truth changes according to aching in circumstance, time and place and is created by the consequences of our actions and experiences.
  2. Opposition of pre determined ideas and values. Therefore according to them ideals and values are man made and changes according to change in circumstances, time and place.
  3. Indeed pragmatism denies the existence of spiritual values.
  4. Also it opposes intellectualism. It believes that a man’s intelligence are subservient to his innate tendencies. This only makes him an animal.
  5. It emphasizes only the present and future.
  6. Difficulty in the construction of curriculum, because selecting a project and construction of curriculum to gain all knowledge from life experience is very difficult.
  7. Unlike other philosophical doctrine it does not lay down any aims, ideals and values of life to be pursued by human being. Hence it can not be termed as philosophy of life.

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