Education and Philosophy

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Idealism believes in refined wisdom. It is based on the view that reality is a world within a person's mind. It believes that truth is in the consistency of ideas and that goodness is an ideal state to strive to attain.

As a result, schools exist to sharpen the mind and intellectual processes. Students are taught the wisdom of past heroes.


Realism believes in the world as it is. It is based on the view that reality is what we observe. It believes that truth is what we sense and observe and that goodness is found in the order of the laws of nature.

As a result, schools exist to reveal the order of the world and universe. Students are taught factual information.


Regardless of the branch of realism, realists almost universally maintain that the teacher forms the center of the classroom. S/he is the initiator, director, and evaluator. Although it is fine if the student's interests can be included in the curriculum, such interests are not the determinative factor in its development. The teacher knows best what is and is not important for inclusion in the course of study. In the realist's classroom, values instruction becomes paramount.


The Idealist believes in a world of Mind (metaphysics) and in truth as Idea (epistemology). Furthermore, ethics is the imitation of the Absolute Self and aesthetics is the reflection of the Ideal. From this very general philosophical position, the Idealist would tend to view the Learner as a microscopic mind, the Teacher as a paradigmatic self, the Curriculum as the subject matter of symbol and idea (emphasizing literature, history, etc.), the Teaching Method as absorbing Ideas, and the Social Policy of the school as conserving the heritage of Western civilization.

The Realist believes in a world...
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