Pragmatism and Educational Theory and Practice

Pragmatism and Educational Theory and Practice

Pragmatism- Its concept and meaning

The philosophy of pragmatism is relatively new in the educational theory and practice, which was propounded in the first half on 20th Century. The philosophers like William James, John Dewey, C.B. Pierce etc are responsible for propounding and propagating the philosophy of pragmatism. So the term doing, making, accomplishing are used whenever referring to pragmatism.

The word ‘Pragmatism’ is derived from the Greek word ‘Pragma’ which means ‘to do’, ‘to make’, ‘to accomplish’. Some exponents of pragmatism are John DeweyWilliam James, C.B. Pierce.

Pragmatism and Educational Theory and Practice

Pragmatism and Aims of Education

Pragmatism does not provide a fixed aims of education. The creation of new values is what is to be achieved through education. However, the following aims can be enlisted for the convenience of the study:-

1. Creation of new values:– The main purpose of education is to provide variety of activities to the pupils so that they can create some new values out of the works or activities.

2. Activity and experience:- Education should provide physical, intellectual, social and aesthetic activities so that they create some new values.

3. Personal and social adjustment:- Education should be enable the child to fulfil his felt needs in the environment.

4. Reconstruction of experience:– The cultivation of a resourceful, enterprising and creative mind should be the aim of education.

5. All round development:- Education should enable the child to develop physically, mentally, socially, morally and aesthetically.

Contribution of Pragmatism towards Educational theory and Practice

The contribution of pragmatism to the field of educational theory and practice is innumerous. The modern education bears the imprint of philosophy of pragmatism in different aspects of it. However, the major contribution made by pragmatism toward education may be enlisted as below-

1. Freeing the over-burden child :- Pragmatism saves the child from the burden of education which is too much book centered. Pragmatism is against bookish culture.

2. Due emphasis on experience :- Pragmatism lays adequate importance on experience. Thus pragmatism helps us to  realizing the value of present life by experiencing it.

3. Balanced Approach :- Pragmatism guides us to have a balanced approach towards the past, present and future. the past may be glorious and rich, but it must guide for living a glorious and rich life in the present. Thus, too much emphasis on cultural heritage should not be laid.

4. Learning how to learn :- According to pragmatism, the focus of teaching learning process is to enable the child how to learn.

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5. Flexible and dynamic method of teaching :- In pragmatism, method of teaching are flexible and dynamic, not static. They are based on utility and fulfil to the demands of the child and the society.

6. Co-operative learning :- Pragmatism advocates that, children should get real experience of group life.

7. Co-relation and integration :- Pragmatism stresses that, in order to progressive method of teaching effective, there is the need of the co-relation of studies, integration of subjects, use of audio-visual aids, organization of curriculum and co-curricular activities, learning by doing, direct experience and proper training of senses. 

8. Project method :- Project method is the most important contribution of pragmatism. This method incorporates all the principles, aims and method of teaching.

9. More stress on action :- Pragmatism lays stress on action, rather than reflection. A child does not learn much from books. he learns from his own experience, new situations and activities. Learning by doing is given more importance in pragmatism. By giving practical work, a child can be put into real situations, so that he may himself solve the problems arising out of them.

10. Social discipline and moral education :- According to pragmatism, discipline should be social in character. Social discipline is made possible through the co-operative and purposive activities in the school. The pursuits of such activities will foster social discipline. the students will gain moral and character training as well.

Thus, it is clear from the above discussion that the philosophy of pragmatism has tremendous educational implications.

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