Philosophy of Idealism and its relation with Education

idealism philosophy of education

Philosophy of Idealism

Idealism is a very old philosophical thought and it has exercised a potent influence on the mind of man throughout the ages. In education the influence of idealism has gone a long way to restrict some of the radical thinking and establish the worth of the eternal ideals and values of life.

The word idealism is derived from two distinct sources- the idea and the ideal. idea means true and testified knowledge. the word ideal stands for the perfected form of an idea or ideas. An idealist does not have considerations for material values of life. A thinker who idolize ‘mind and self’ is an idealist.

Idealism and Method of Teaching

Idealism has not prescribed specific methods of teaching. According to idealism, classroom is a temple of spiritual learning, a meeting place of human minds- a place for self-education. For this no particular method has been suggested. However, the following methods have been advocated by different idealists-

1. Learning through reading

2. Learning through lecturing

3. Learning through discussion

4. Learning through imitation

idealism and education

Idealism and Curriculum

The idealists give emphasis on the experiences of the whole human race. According to them, men lives so that he may exercise three activities of the spirit, namely- the moral, the intellectual and the aesthetic activities. These three activities are accompanied by three desires of the spirit- ‘Gyan’ (knowledge), ‘Bhakti’ (Feeling) and ‘Karma’ (Efforts). These desires together help in the attainment of spiritual perfection through appreciation of truth, goodness and beauty.

Therefore, idealistic curriculum provides for the training and cultivation of the intellectual, moral and aesthetic activities. For the intellectual development of the child, language, literature, science, social studies and mathematics are included in the curriculum. For the aesthetic and moral development, fine arts, poetry, ethics and religion are provided.

The idealistic school also gives stress on physical education. It insists on the creation of a second mind in a sound body. the physical activities included in the idealistic curriculum are- physical exercises, physical hygiene, gymnastics and athletics. Thus the idealistic curriculum includes physical, intellectual and spiritual activities which enable a man to develop fully.

Idealism and Discipline

The idealists do not prefer free discipline on the part of the students. It may lead the child towards astray (wrong path). They feel that strict discipline is essential for self-reliance. teacher’s guidance is necessary at every stage. the teacher will make the environment favorable for his pupils to realize the higher values of life through self-discipline. But the idealists are not totally against freedom. Freedom should be given as a reward for the child, who has learnt to live under discipline.

Idealism and Role of Teacher

The status of teacher in idealism is very high. Idealist teacher is one who has attained self-realization. He is a practical man and he carries on an ideal and virtues life. Like the Ancient Indian Guru, he is expected to live a life of containment (self-satisfied), contemplation, poverty and detachment. His personality is a source of inspiration for his pupils to follow his examples. He acts as a friend, philosopher and guide.

According to Frobel, ‘The teacher is the guardian who takes care of the tender plant in the from of a child’. he is to help the child to grow into a mature and to make a well balanced person. He has to lead the child to his perfect development, with the realization of truth, goodness and beauty.

Idealism and Aims of Education

1. Self-realization.

2. Universal Education.

3. Spiritual Development.

4. Transmission and promotion of cultural heritage.

5. Cultivation of moral values.

6. Preparation of moral values.

7. Development of intelligence and rationality.

Contribution of Idealism to Educational Theory and Practice

1. Right emphasis on higher values.

2. Recognition of rich and heritage.

3. Due regard to human personality.

4. Important place to the teacher.

5. Realization of self.

6. Human Relation.

7. Clear cut aim of education.

8. Self discipline.

Idealistic philosophy in education emphasizes ‘the exaltation of personality’ which is the result of self-realization, achieved by spiritual knowledge, self-discipline and dignified teacher. Idealism assigns a very important place to the teacher who is respected as a friend, guide and philosopher. They emphasize the importance of moral and spiritual education and points out the values of humanities, social sciences, art and literature. It emphasizes man’s perfection in various facets of life-physical, spiritual, intellectual, moral, aesthetic and social.


The above discussion reveals that, the idealistic philosophy stresses the inculcation of lofty ideals of life and the explanation of personality through self-realization. it emphasizes intellectual, spiritual and physical activities in curriculum. It stresses self-discipline. It recommends an ideal teacher who is well equipped for his job- physically, mentally, morally and spiritually. he will lead the child towards perfection by inculcating and appreciating lofty values of life.

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