The topic for this entry is about the four major philosophies—Idealism, Realism, Existentialism and Pragmatism. Here, I will be going to connect each philosophy to my future self. How would I be if I am an Idealist, or say a Realist, Existentialist or a Pragmatist? What are the implications of these philosophies to my teaching style and belief? We will see.
The major aim of Idealism in education is self-realization. An Idealist teacher focuses on the character development of the students. But this does not mean that an Idealist won’t develop the mind, they will still develop it, however they have a great focus on the development of the lasting values that a member of society should have. (Ozmon, 2011, & Philosophical roots of Education, n.d.)
If I would be an Idealist, as a prospective teacher, I should have a great knowledge on the subject matter that I would be teaching. I should be of worth to become model, since in realism teachers should be a good model. Furthermore, I would continuously ask questions that will lead to the ideas I want to imply. I would keep on saying “mind over matter”. I should focus on the good will and lead my student in achieving a God-like living. Moreover, I would definitely use the dialectic approach of Plato. I would keep on retaining the classical way of teaching and I should give my students the classical knowledge using the books written in the past. In addition, I would also assume the holistic approach of education, wherein I would focus on the general thoughts that would give the students a wider preview of what the world is. I may also discourage writing notes because I want my student to focus on my lecture, so I that I may stimulate to them the basic ideas that they need. And lastly, I would direct my students in making projects that would stimulate their creative thinking; hence it makes their education take place within themselves.
Realists give great value in knowledge. They hold that we are living in world that is real and that we do not make it, and human being can fathom it. They give emphasis on the use of the five senses in understanding the things we have here on earth. They claim that in order to have knowledge about reality, human being must have a “systematic inquiry” into the things that are present in this world, say government, plants or animals. (Hicks, 2010, & Philosophical roots of Education, n.d.)
Basically, if I would be a realist teacher, I would give emphasis on the systematic analysis such as scientific method. I should focus on the things that we can see, touch, hear, feel or taste. Realists focus on the physical world. I would look at the schools as an essential tool for a student to understand the world he/she is living. If Idealists are subjective, realists are objective. Thus, teacher should meet the standards that the realist institution sets before he/she can teach in the institution. Hence, I should be competent enough before I teach my lessons, say if I am major in Math, I should be an expert first before I can teach Mathematics. Moreover, if I would be a realist teacher, I would have my focus on the academic activities in my classroom and I would not tolerate any non-academic activities in my class. I would not allow any thing that could interfere the academic learning of my students. Lastly, I and my student should remain competent in our learning.
Existentialism promotes a personal way in examining the essence of our lives. They claim that it is your own choice to be on who you are now. Existentialism is all about our personal choice. We create our own definition of what the world could be and the importance of life. We generate our own value, and choose the knowledge we think we need. Existentialists’ main focus in education is making the student aware of their free will or freedom to choose. (Existentialism [Chap 7], n.d. & Philosophical roots of Education, n.d.)
Certainly, if I opt to become an existentialist I should persuade my student to ask question and reflect about love, death and life. I would allow them to use whatever they want to express their learning, say film making, theater play or musical. I would keep on insisting to them that they are responsible of the choice that they will be doing. In addition, my classroom would be like a freedom room wherein there are spaces that the student may want to choose to have their learning. It is indeed a self-directed education. My role definitely is to facilitate their learning. Moreover, my goals as an existentialist should be; my students should aim to develop their character and make my students’ education a learner-centered education.
Pragmatists focus on use of scientific method. They see education as an experiment wherein students will be dealing with problems of the society. Interaction is one of the main methods of a pragmatist’s education. They believe that the reality is in the making, and is continuously changing. They also do not fix the aims of education because for them, they will “all emerge during reconstruction of experience”. (An introduction to Liberal education [chap 7] n.d. & Philosophical roots of Education, n.d.)
Indeed, if I am a pragmatist teacher, I would have a changing approach in teaching. I may also insist the use of scientific method in solving problems. I would use the “learning by doing” approach, thus I would not focus on the lecture side but I would focus more on the experiencing side of learning. I would also give more activities that are real life situations for them to be able to solve and learn the problems in real life. I would also be the facilitator of the students’ learning activities. I would let my students share their learning to their classmates and let them learn with each other.
I think I agree more to pragmatism and existentialism. I still believe that experience is the best teacher. After knowing these major philosophies, I learned that even these four may be different, they also have similarities. One of their similarities is the self-directed learning; I think most of them, except realism, are self-directed. They may have different focus of education but they imply the student-directed learning. For instance; the Idealism imply, self-realization, the Existentialism imply the responsibilities of own self to his/her choice, and the Pragmatism imply the self-directed approach which is the learning by doing. After seeing the difference of these four, I should by now know to respect people with different views on education, because in some point in their principle it is indeed affected by these four philosophies.
Philosophical Roots of Education, (n.d.), 388-424. Retrieved at http://www.wou.edu/~girodm/foundations/philos.pdf
Omon, (2011), Philosophical Roots of Education (Chap 1), 7-38. Retrieved at http://catalogue.pearsoned.co.uk/assets/hip/gb/hip_gb_pearsonhighered/samplechapter/0132540746.pdf
Hicks, S. (2010, May 6). Contrasting realist to idealist philosophy, Clip 1-6. [Digital Video] Retrieved at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8ED24C083DD5FCAA
Existentialism (Chap 7), (n.d.) Retrieved at http://teacherweb.com/AZ/UniversityHighSchool/Sudak/Chapter-7A–Existentialism-2.pdf
An Introduction to Liberal Education (Chap 6), (n.d.). Retrieved at http://results.mu.ac.in/myweb_test/MA%20Education-Philosophy/Chapter-6.pdf