“Realism means a belief or theory which looks upon the world as it seems to us to be a mere phenomenon.”——Swami Ram Tirth.
Introduction: Realism is the doctrine that is associated with the study of the world we live in. It is a philosophy away from the world of ideas or spiritual things. In Realism the word ‘real’ denotes actual or the existing. It indicates those things or events which exist in the world in its own right. It opposes the thing or event which is imaginary or fictitious. It holds the view that knowledge acquired through senses is true and what we observe and perceive through our own senses is real and the true entity of the world. It says that physical world is objective and factual whereas personal feelings and desires are subjective and secondary. That is why this philosophy is also known as objectivism. Aristotle is generally regarded as the father of Realism. John Locke, Erasmas, Rabelias, Comenius, Bertrand Russell, Francis Bacon, Milton are the chief protagonists of Realism.
According to C.V. Good, “Realism is the doctrine that objective reality or the material universe exists independently of conscious mind, its nature and properties are being affected by being known.”
Various aspects of Realistic Education: There are various aspects of education such as curriculum, teaching methodology, discipline, aims of education and the like which are influenced by realistic education.
- Realism and Aims of Education: Realism explains the aims of education in different perspectives.
- Preparation for a Happy and Successful Life: The first and most important aim of realistic education is to prepare learners for a happy and successful life. The American educationist, Franklin Bobit has given following activities for achieving happiness in life:
- Activities related to language
- Activities concerned with hygiene
- Citizenship activities
- Social activities
- Leisure activities
- Religious activities
- Vocational activities
- Activities of mental health
- Activities related to vocational behaviour
- Activities related to race-preservation
- Preparation for Practical Life: Realism recommends preparing students for real and practical life of material world which can be gained through senses.
- Training of Senses: Realism believes that fullest development of personality can be possible through proper training of senses. The learners will not have a proper knowledge about the material world unless their senses are trained and improved properly.
- Developing Physical and Mental Powers: The physical and mental powers are required for developing intelligence, discrimination and judgements by which learners will be able to overcome the challenges of life.
- Developing Vocational Efficiency: This type of realistic aim makes education craft-centric. Realism is in favour of developing vocational efficiencies among learners so that they can prepare themselves for fulfilling livelihood demands.
- Realism and Method of Teaching: Realism aims to prepare learners for real and practical life. It calls for teaching-learning methodologies on the basis of subjects and interests of the learners.
- Inductive Method: Inductive method of teaching enables the learners to generalize the truth from a particular fact. It encourages the construction of knowledge from particular to general. At first, the object is shown to the learners and then its description is demonstrated. It encourages learners to observe and experiment by means of their senses.
- Deductive Method: This method of teaching enables learners to arrive at a specific truth from general principles. It encourages the construction of knowledge from general to particular. It improves the reasoning capacity of learners.
- Observation Method: This technique calls for education from direct experiences so that all senses are involved in the learning process. It augments the strength of mind, knowledge and experiences of learners.
- Experimental Method: Realism recommends to give emphasize on the learning of science subjects which can be learned effectively through experimental method. This method prepares the learners to face the challenges and to solve these taking systematic procedures.
- Field Trip: Realism is in favour of learning by direct experiences. Realism discourages rote learning and bookish knowledge and prefers hands-on experience for the purpose of learning. It gives importance on field trips which facilitate learners to correlate classroom learning with reality.
- Realism and Curriculum: Realism recommends the designing of curriculum for realistic education which enables learners to solve different problems of life and to lead a happy and successful life.
- Subjects of study: It prescribes to include science subjects such as physics, chemistry, biology, astrology, physiology etc.
- Vocational subjects: Realism recommends the study of handicrafts, farming etc. in the curriculum because it aims at preparing learners for practical life with respect of their livelihood.
- Utilitarian subjects: Realism is in favour of including contemporary subjects in curriculum for facilitating individual and social life of learners.
- Language study: Realism gives importance to language study in curriculum and prefers mother language as medium of instruction. The language study facilitates learners in reading, writing and conducting all types of social interactions.
- Practical studies: Realism lays stress on the inclusion of reading, writing, drawing, Geography, Mathematics with additional physical activities in curriculum.
- Realism and Discipline: Realism lays stress on synthetic form of impressionistic and emancipator discipline on the basis of natural and social procedures. Realism calls self-discipline for the learners by controlling their feelings, desires and perform duties. Realism tells teacher to treat learners with affection and sympathy and it allows considerable freedom to the learners so that moral and religious education in the curriculum are recommended.
- Realism and Teachers: Realism is in favour of training of teachers before they involve in teaching. Realism believes that teachers should have full knowledge of the subject matter, psychology of learners and the scientific way of delivering education. The teachers must encourage the learners to observe and experiment the natural objects and phenomena so that learners will be able to find out new facts with respect of construction of knowledge. They should inform learners about the scientific discoveries, inventions and researches in different fields of knowledge.
Conclusion: Realism provides a new light and wisdom which produces remarkable changes in the principles and practices of education. It should be mentioned that in the realm of Indian Philosophy, the doctrine of Realism has been pronounced since the time of Vedas. On the other hand, the notion of Realism was evident in the thoughts of Buddhism and Jainism.
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