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Idealism and Realism

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Sharon Mills

on 16 February 2015

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Transcript of Idealism and Realism

Idealism and Realism
Idealism and Realism

"Idealists stress the importance of learning ideas and concepts. They believe in reasoning but question the use of scientific method and sense perception. They have the most confidence in ideas that remain constant through time and place. When it comes to teaching students, idealists believe in sharing ideas and great works that are universal, as well as long-lived. They believe all students should have at least one teacher who they look up to, so they can learn cultural norms. In the classroom, idealists put a lot of focus on lecture, discussion and imitation."

Unlike idealists, realists highly recommend the use of scientific investigation and senses in order to learn. They put focus on the physical world, arguing that reality, knowledge and value exist independent of the mind. This physical world is composed of matter. Realists believe that schools should promote human rationality through observation and experimentation. A lot of responsibility is placed on the teacher to have the right background and information. Realist teachers believe in the importance of experimental learning. In order to learn, students have to take a hands-on approach.
Historical Perspective
The world is as it is

Aristotle is credited with being the "father of realism". Aristotle believed that in order to understand an object, the ultimate form needed to be understood. Realism teaching methods focus on fact mastery and skill mastery through rote and drill practice.
Realism in education:
Places emphasizes on the importance of the study of science and the scientific method. Students not only need to know the facts but also the method of arriving at the facts.
Realism curriculum is organized and systematic, incorporates hands-on manipulative, and teaches students what they need in order to survive.
Realism gives us a practical way to sort through what we experience and find patterns through the scientific method. Both of these are important for education and life in general.
Idealism in education:
The teacher is critical to the education process.
The search for truth through ideas.
Curriculum stresses the classics, back to the basic approach.
Idealism gives us the basis for logical thinking, processing ideas, and sorting out contradictions when we have no physical objects to work with.
What exist is known through the mind.

Derived from Plato; Plato believed in a spiritual world and a world experienced through the five senses and ever-changing. He also believed that knowledge is not created but is discovered. The highest aim of education should be the search of true ideas and character development.
Understanding the difference between idealism and realism is important, because it changes our whole perception of reality. What should we trust more: our mind or our senses? It depends on which philosophy we choose.

I know that many students, especially at the elementary level need something concrete to help them understand the concepts they are learning. The ideas of realism become helpful at this point. I can help the students’ process what they experience through their senses and begin with an object lesson. Students have also tested their ideas through the scientific method. They have noticed patterns as we have worked with fraction pieces and seen liquids with different densities separate. Much of school also has fallen into the realm of idealism. Students “create” new worlds in their mind as we read and write stories. We discuss concepts of courage and love.

I can relate to both philosophies. As a mathematics teacher, it is important for my students to understand how to solve math problems so they must learn the steps. But I also encourage learning through explorations. I would give my students a word problem to work on in groups and instead of explaining to my students how to solve the problem, they will work together to figure it out. I've worked in schools that have practiced both philosophies. While working at an early college, we focused more on investigative problem solving. The students were required to learn math more so through explorations than drill practices. At the preparatory school that I work at now, we focus more on following steps and procedures.

In the middle school world of gifted learners, the students feel they have one teacher they can turn to for emotional support and communicate. My group of gifted learners feel very confident in sharing concerns they are experiencing in other classes and share their creative insights with me. I am able to communicate effectively with my group and meet their emotional needs. Also, my group of gifted learners like to take charge of their own learning and have a hands-on approach when it comes to completing a task.
These words summarize the philosophy of Realism
These words summarize the philosophy of Idealism.
Sarah Lehner
Sharon Arrington-Mills
Heather Fergeson
Brennen, A. (n.d.). The Philisophy of Education by Annick Brennen. Retrieved February 15, 2015.

EDU 402 - Philosophy of Education. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2015. http://instephshead.blogspot.com/2010/10/four-philosophies-idealism-realism.html

Miller, G. (n.d.). Philosophies. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://gradcourses.rio.edu/leaders/philosophies.htm

Ornstein, Allan C.; Hunkins, Francis P. (2012-05-18). Curriculum: Foundations, Principles, and Issues (6th Edition) (The Allyn & Bacon Educational Leadership) (Page 31). Pearson HE, Inc.

Robinson, D. (n.d.). Idealism | philosophy. Retrieved February 13, 2015. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/281802/idealism
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