Rabindranath Tagore was a philosopher, poet, dramatist, teacher, essayist and painter of outstanding repute. His philosophy of life was based on the ideals of dedication, patriotism and naturalism. Although he was an ideal philosopher, but the thoughts of naturalism, pragmatism and individualism are also reflected in his philosophy.
Rabindranath Tagore was primarily an educationalist rather than a political thinker. he put emphasis on naturalism for framing educational model. In education, freedom is the basic guiding force for inculcating interest within a student who will drive inspiration from nature to pursue any branch of knowledge he likes. The establishment of Santi Niketan fulfilled the derived goal of Tagore in the educational front.
Unity of West and East
Tagore’s education marked a novel blending of the ideas of the east and West. the spiritualism of Indian philosophy and progressive outlook of the western people were blended together to give rise to an educational philosophy which marked its distinction in comparison to other educationalists of India.
Natural growth in natural circumstances
Tagore envisaged that nature is the best teacher to the pupil. Nature will provide the student with necessary situation to earn knowledge. No pressure should be exerted upon the student to learn anything. It is nature which will be the guiding force to inculcate the spirit of learning in the mind of a student to pursue the education he likes. It will shape his behavior and character.
Goodbye to book-centered education
For the first time in the arena of education, Tagore established a new milestone. With boldness and firmness, he rejected a book-centered education for students. To him, it is not just to confine the mind of boys and girls to textbooks only. It will kill the natural instincts of a student and make him bookish. It will kill his creative skill, So, students should be freed from the book centered education and should be given a broader avenue for learning.
Freedom to learner
Tagore had championed the cause of freedom. The same he wanted to implement in the field of education. With that object he head opened Santiniketan, Sriniketan and Brahmmacharya Ashram. Accordingly, he gave free choice to students to develop their interest in any field they like. To him, education should be after the heart of a man. he explained freedom in three categorized ways, i.e. freedom of heart, freedom of intellect and freedom of will.
Education imparted in a natural way will lead to the fulfilment of these three freedoms. One may pursue the vocational education or education of an intellect, or education in any branch of the arts or one may become a sensei by observing celibacy.
Teaching- Practical and Real
According to Tagore, teaching should be practical and real but not artificial and theoretical. As a naturalist out and out, Tagore laid emphasis on the practicality of education. that will definitely increase the creative skill within a learner. that creativity will bring perfection in the learning process and the students will be a master in his own field but not a slave to mere theoretical knowledge which one delves deep.
Palace of fine arts (dance, drama, music, poetry, etc.)
Tagore attached great importance to the fine arts in his educational curriculum. to him, game, dance, music, drama, painting, etc. should form a part of educational process. Students should take active part in these finer aspects of human life for these are very essential to enrich soul.
Education for rural reconstruction
Tagore was aware about the rural poverty of our country. So, he wanted to eradicate it through education. the practical training imparted in different crafts to the students will make them skilled artisans in their field. They can remove the poverty of the rural bulk by applying their education helping thereby in the process of rural reconstruction.
Aims of Education
The aims of education as reflected in educational institution founded by Rabindranath Tagore in Snatiniketan are as follows:-
Spiritualism is the essence of humanism; this concept has been reflected in Tagore’s educational philosophy. Self-realization is an important aim of education. Manifestation of personality depends upon the self-realization and spiritual knowledge of individual.
2. Intellectual development:-
Tagore also greatly emphasized the intellectual development of the child. By intellectual development he means development of imagination, creative free thinking, constant curiosity and alertness of the mind. Child should be free to adopt his own way learning which will lead to all round development.
3. Physical development:-
Tagore’s educational philosophy also aims at the physical development of the child. He gave much importance to sound and healthy physique. There were different kinds of exercises. Yoga, games and sports, prescribed in Santiniketan as an integral part of the educational system.
4. Love for humanity:-
Tagore held that the entire universe is one family. Education can teach people to realize oneness of the globe. Education for international understanding and universal brotherhood is another important aim of his educational philosophy.
5. Establishment of relationship between man and God:-
Man bears the diverse qualities and potentialities offered by God. These qualities are inborn and innate. The relationship between man and God is strong and permanent. However, the dedication to spiritualism and scaredness will lead to the harmonious relationship with man, nature and God.
Freedom is considered as an integral aspect of human development. Education is a man making process, it explores the innate power exists within the man. It is not imposition rather a liberal process that provides utmost freedom to the individual for his all round development.
7. Co-relation of objects:-
Co-relation exists with God, man and nature. A peaceful world is only possible when correlation between man and nature will be established.
8. Mother tongue as the medium of instruction:-
Man can freely express his thought in his mother tongue. Tagore has emphasized mother tongue as the medium of instruction for the child education.
9. Moral and spiritual development:-
Tagore emphasized moral and spiritual training in his educational thought. Moral and spiritual education is more important than bookish knowledge for an integral development of human personality. There must be an adequate provision for the development of selfless activities, co-operation and love fellow-feelings and sharing among the students in educational institutions.
10. Social development:-
Rabindranath Tagore said, “Service to man is service to God”. All should develop social relationship and fellow-feelings from the beginning of one’s life. Education aims at developing the individual personality as well as social characters which enables him to live as a worthy being.
Method of Teaching
a. Teaching through tours and trips:-
Tagore believed that the subjects like history, geography, economics and other social sciences can be effectively taught through excursions and tours to impart spots. By this, students will get an opportunity to observe numerous facts and gain first hand knowledge through direct experience.
b. Learning by activities:-
Tagore sad that for the development of child’s body and minds, learning through activity is essential. therefore he included activities like climbing tree, drama, jumping, plucking fruits, dancing, etc. in his educational program.
c. Narration-cum-discussion and debate method:-
Narration-cum-discussion and debating activities were organized Tagore’s education center to develop oratory abilities of the students.
d. Heuristic method:-
Rabindranath Tagore introduced this method as an important method of teaching. In this method, first, the students are asked questions to clarify their doubts on topics and teachers try to satisfy them by their correct answers. Then the teachers asks the questions to students to evaluate how far the students are able to comprehend the topic discussed in the class.
Rabindranath Tagore, a true philosopher and a greatest prophet of modern Indian renaissance who sought to bring changer through education. he stressed on harmonious development of the child with equal emphasis on mental, social and emotional growth.