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it i all about idealism and its effect to education

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IDEALISM AND EDUCATION

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Idealism, which asserts that reality is essentially spiritual or ideational, is one of humankind ’ s oldest and most enduring systems of thought. The belief that the world and human beings within it are part of an unfolding universal spirit has long been a cosmic principle in oriental religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. It was probably through cultural interactions between East and West that Idealist concepts found their way into Western thought . IDEALISM AND EDUCATION

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IDEALISM AND EDUCATION In the Western educational tradition, Idealism ’ s origins are usually traced to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. Although only a few contemporary philosophers of education are Idealists, an examination of Idealism provides a valuable cultural and educational perspective. Despite its contemporary eclipse, Idealism has often dominated philosophical discourse in the past. It eighteenth-and nineteenth-century Germany, Idealists such as Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814), Friedrich Schelling (1775-1854), and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) dominated philosophy. Hegel ’ s monumental work, The Philosophy of History , influenced philosophical thought both in Germany and abroad. It should be remembered that both Karl Marx (1818-1883) and John Dewey (1859-1952) studied Idealism in their education as philosophers. Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852), the founder of the kindergarten, created a method of early childhood education based on Idealist philosophy.

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IDEALISM AND EDUCATION In the United States, Idealism has also had its time of philosophical popularity. The New England Transcendentalists- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) and Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)- used Idealist metaphysical propositions as the basis of their concepts of the Oversoul , or Macrocosm, and of Nature. The nineteenth-century school administrator William Torrey Harris (1835-1909) used Hegelian Idealism as a philosophical rationale for school organization and curriculum.

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IDEALISM AND EDUCATION While Idealism is historically significant, certain current educational practices have their origin and rationale in the Idealist perspective. The notion that education is a process of unfolding that which is present but latent in the child is grounded in idealist epistemology. The concept of the teacher as a moral and cultural model, or exemplar, also originated in Idealism, as did the Socratic method, which includes the skillful asking of probing questions to stimulate the student’s recollection. Because Idealism has been a prominent philosophy that has influenced present education, in this chapter we will (1) examine Plato as a theorist who used an Idealist perspective in framing his educational doctrines; (2) analyze the essential components of Idealism as a systematic philosophy in terms of metaphysics, epistemology, and axiology; and (3) comment on Idealism’s implications for education, curriculum, character formation, methodology of instruction, and teacher-student relationships.

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PLATO: FOUNDER OF WESTERN IDEALISM As suggested earlier, the origins of Idealism in Western thought are generally traced to Plato, the famous student of Socrates. Whereas Socrates raised fundamental questions about reality, knowledge, and human nature, Plato went beyond his teacher in seeking to provide fundamental answers. Plato sought to answer the metaphysical question, What is the nature of reality? And the epistemological question, What is the nature of knowledge and how do we come to know? From these fundamental questions, Plato moved into the axiological dimension by asking, What is the relationship between knowledge and the proper conduct of human life in terms of ethical, moral and aesthetic behavior?

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PLATO: FOUNDER OF WESTERN IDEALISM In this section of the chapter, we will examine how Plato established the basic philosophical foundation for Idealism that remains with us today. In Idealist education, the notion that the teacher is a learned master and that the student is a disciple in learning the master’s wisdom is a powerful concept that was true in the case of Socrates, the master, and Plato, the disciple.

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PLATO: FOUNDER OF WESTERN IDEALISM In ancient Athens, the intellectual gadfly and social critic, Socrates (460-399 B.C.), had attracted a circle of students, one of whom was Plato. Rejecting the Sophists Materialistic opportunism and moral relativism, Socrates embarked on a quest to discover the universal principles of truth, justice, and beauty that governed all humankind. The basic conflict between Socrates and the Sophists points out an issue that has been recurrent in education. The Sophists claimed that ethical principles were relative to a given time and place, and given circumstances; in other words, morally correct behavior was a response to changing circumstances. Socrates disputed this form of situational ethics, claiming that was true, good, and beautiful was the same throughout the world.

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PLATO: FOUNDER OF WESTERN IDEALISM Socrates asserted that human beings should seek to live lives that were morally excellent. Rather that training people in a particular vocational or professional skill as the sophists claimed was necessary, Socrates argued that a genuine education aimed to cultivate the knowledge that every person needed as a human being. It was the kind of education that cultivated morally excellent persons who acted according to reason. Once again, Socrates’ assertion that there was a general education for every free human being provides a storing argument for liberal education and against vocational training. Unlike the Sophists, Socrates denied that true wisdom would result from merely telling a student about some body of information or training him or her in a particular technique. He asserted that concepts, the basis of true knowledge, existed within the mind and could be brought to consciousness. Probing questions would stimulate the learner to discover the truth that was in his or her mind by bringing latent concepts to consciousness.

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PLATO: FOUNDER OF WESTERN IDEALISM Socrates’ basic epistemological goal was that human beings define themselves in terms of the criteria of universal truth. Through rigorous self-analysis each person should seek the truth that was universally present in all members of the human race. As a teacher, Socrates asked probing questions that stimulated his students to investigate the perennial human concerns about the meaning of life, truth, and justice. Through dialogue, Socrates and his students dealt with basic questions by defining them, criticizing them, and developing more adequate and comprehensive definitions . Socratic education involved discipleship-that is, a close personal relationship between teacher and student designed to create within the student’s character an ethical predisposition to discover and use truth to order and govern his or her life. In the past, this kind of ethical development was called character formation. Contemporary educators refer to it as modeling. That is, the teacher personifies desirable character traits and dispositions that are worthy of the learner’s imitation.

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PLATO: FOUNDER OF WESTERN IDEALISM Our knowledge about Socrates comes from Plato (427-347 B.C.), who was Socrates’ student and a speculative philosopher in his own right. Plato, who founded the Academy in Athens in 387 B.C., wrote a number of philosophical works that have established the foundations of Western philosophy. Among them were Protagoras, which examined the issue of virtue; Phaedo , which examined the immortality of the soul; and The Republic and the Laws , which looked at both political and educational issues. Like his mentor Socrates, Plato rejected the Sophists; claims that ethical behavior was situationally determined and that education could be reduced to specialized vocational or professional training. Plato based his metaphysical beliefs on the existence of an ideal, hence unchanging, world of perfect ideas, such as universal and timeless concepts of truth, goodness, justice, and beauty. The individual examples or cases of these general concepts were imperfect reflections or representations of the perfect form. In structuring a philosophy based on such an unchanging order or reality. Plato was attacking the Sophists’ relativism and reliance on sensory perception. In contrast, he asserted that human beings were good and honorable when their conduct conformed to the ideal and universal concepts of truth, goodness, and beauty.

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PLATO: FOUNDER OF WESTERN IDEALISM Plato’s epistemology, or theory of knowledge, was based on the concept of “reminiscence” or recollection by which human beings recalled the truths that were latently but unconsciously present in their minds. Reminiscence implied that every human being possessed a soul, which prior to birth- actually, an imprisoning of the psyche in a material flesh-and-blood body – this knowledge of the perfect ideas was repressed within the unconscious part of the mind. However, the ideas of the perfect forms were still there and could be brought to consciousness. Knowing required effort, however. The learner had to be ready and willing to learn, had to discard false opinion, and had to seek truth in a conscious fashion.

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PLATO: FOUNDER OF WESTERN IDEALISM Genuine knowledge, according to Plato, was immaterial, intellectual, and internal as were the perfect forms on which it was based. There is but one idea of perfection that is common to all human beings regardless of where and when they live or the circumstances under which they live. Like truth itself, a genuine education is also universal and timeless. Because reality can only be discovered intellectually, the best kind of education is also intellectual in nature. Although Plato developed his educational philosophy in ancient Greece, his ideas have been reiterated many times since then. Defenders of Liberal education have often relied on Plato’s ideas, which are also the basis for the contemporary educational theory of Perennialism . For example, Allan Bloom, in his noted attack on relativism in The Closing of the American Mind , calls Plato’s Republic “the book on education” which really explains Bloom’s own experience as a teacher.

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PLATO: FOUNDER OF WESTERN IDEALISM In his famous allegory of the cave, Plato depicted humans as prisoners, who, chained in a dark cave, can only glimpse shadows reflected against a wall, rather than the objects of which they are reflections. Like these shadows, the perceptions of our senses are not reality but distorted images of it. True knowledge comes as we escpate the cave of sensation and opinion and go into the light where the sun, the light of reason, shows things as they truly are. While his allegory of the cave encouraged human beings to liberate themselves by finding universal truth, Plato’s Idealism also stressed the importance of the political state. Plato compare the well-ordered political state and the perfectly functioning human organism. The perfectly functioning political state and the perfectly functioning person both conformed to the form of justice. In The Republic , Plato whore about a perfect society ruled by an intellectual elite of philosopher-kings.

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PLATO: FOUNDER OF WESTERN IDEALISM Plato’s ideal state existed to cultivate truth and virtue in its citizens. His political and educational theory rested on the assumptions that only knowledgeable persons should govern society and that all the republic’s residents should contribute, according to their aptitude, to the general welfare. Education and educational agencies would have a key role in determining the role and functions that the individuals exercised in the community . An examination of the class composition of Plato’s republic provides an idea of the functioning of the organic state and education’s role in ensuring that the state functioned properly. Plato divided the inhabitants of his republic into three basic classes: the philosopher-kings, who were the intellectual rulers of the state; the auxiliaries, who were the state’s military defenders; and the workers, who performed the services and produced the economic goods that he state needed. By way of analogy, the philosopher-kings could be compared to the state’s mind, the auxiliaries to its limbs, and workers to its stomach. Assignment to one of these three basic classes depended on one’s intellectual ability.

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PLATO: FOUNDER OF WESTERN IDEALISM In Plato’s republic, the educational system exercised a selecting role as it assessed the person’s intellectual potentiality. Once the individuals intellectual potentiality had been determined, he or she received the education appropriate to this ability and ultimately to the function to be exercised in the political state . The philosopher-kings, the supreme rulers of the political state, were highly educated intellectuals who, after a long period of training in philosophy and dialectic, had attained a vision of the truth. In Plato’s political design, the philosopher-kings were virtuous, intelligent, and talented persons who had the capacity for leadership. The philosopher-king had the important assignment of determining the kind of education a person should have for his or her future role in the state. The auxiliaries, or warriors, who comprised the second class were subordinate to the state’s intellectual rulers. More willful than intellectual, the auxiliaries-because of their courage-were to defend the republic. Based on their capacities, the education of the auxiliaries was primarily military. The third class of people, the workers, who produced the state’s goods and services, had limited capacity for intellectual abstraction. Their education consisted of vocational training.

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PLATO: FOUNDER OF WESTERN IDEALISM Although much more could be said about Plato’s political and educational philosophy, the following generalizations are useful in contributing to our understanding of Idealism as a philosophy of education : 1. Idealism is a comprehensive worldview that embraces many strains of thought; it is so comprehensive that it includes among its adherents those who have stressed personal liberation and self-definition as well as those who have argued for the creation of an organic society in which persons are primarily identified as exercising a specific role in the total state system. 2. Idealism has encouraged a hierarchical view of people, society, and knowledge. Both the position of a person in society and a subject in the curriculum are in ranked order based on the ability to abstract or to be abstracted. From the foregoing historical discussion based on Plato as a founder of Idealism in the Western tradition, we turn now to the philosophy of Idealism.

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IDEALISM AS A SYSTEMATIC PHILOSOPHY In this section, we will treat the following components of Idealism: (1) its metaphysical rationale, (2) epistemology, and (3) axiology . Idealist Metaphysics Idealism asserts the primacy of the mental, the spiritual, and the ideal as the basis of reality. It affirms that reality is essentially spiritual or mental and denies the possibility of knowing anything except ideas. In explaining the universe, Idealism posits ultimate reality solely in the mind and argues that the universe is an expression of a highly generalized intelligence and will . In explaining human nature, the Idealist holds that the human being’s spiritual essence is its essential and permanent characteristic. The mind provides the elemental life force that gives the person vitality and dynamism. Mind is evidenced by doubting; doubting is thinking; thinking gives evidence of the presence of intellect or of mind. The person’s real self is nonmaterial, spiritual, or mental. Selfhood, an integrating core of personal values, provides identity for the person because it separates that which is from that which is not the self.

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IDEALISM AS A SYSTEMATIC PHILOSOPHY Reality is spiritual in substance rather than material. Although it may exhibit non mental entities, the universe definitely contains spiritual or mental realities that are irreducible and hence really existent. Spirit is more inclusive than matter and encompasses it. Matter is dependent on spirit for spirit both energizes and vitalizes matter. Although the spiritual is ultimately real, it is possible to speak of the “real” world and the world of “appearance” in the Idealist’s perspective. The real world of mind and ideas is eternal, permanent, regular, and orderly. Representing a perfect order of reality, the eternal ideas are unalterable because change is inconsistent and unnecessary in a perfect world. It is possible, then, to assert the existence of absolute, universal, and eternal truth and value in contrast to changing sensations or opinion.

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IDEALISM AS A SYSTEMATIC PHILOSOPHY In contrast to eternal truth, the “world of appearance” or of opinion is characterized by change, imperfection, irregularity, and disorder. In terms of the real and the apparent, the educational task is to redirect students from sensation and opinion to the reality of ideas. Just as Socrates and Plato argued against the relativism of the Sophists, today’s educators need to create in their students a readiness to undertake the continuous and arduous search for the truth. Today’s students need to free themselves from the relativism and shoddiness of opinion that says anything goes. They need to embark on a Socratic-like journey to find the universal truths that are present but latent in their minds.

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IDEALISM AS A SYSTEMATIC PHILOSOPHY Idealist metaphysics involves a transition from the notion of an individual mind to the assumption that the entire universe is itself also a larger and more comprehensive spiritual mind. Through the principle of relationship, the individual mind is related to other minds and to the Universal Mind. In other words, the individual comes to realize that what is occurring in the universe is also occurring within the self. The subjective individual mind can know other minds and can understand them. To know and interpret other minds implies that an order of intelligibility exists that can be comprehended. This leads to the assumption that there is a Universal Self, an all-encompassing entity form which all reality comes. Thus, the individual human minds is related to and is of the same spiritual substance as the Universal Mind.

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IDEALISM AS A SYSTEMATIC PHILOSOPHY The principle of intelligibility or the relationships of mind to mind can be explained by the concepts of the Macrocosm and the Microcosm. Idealists have given various names to the concept of the World or Macrocosmic Mind such as the ground-of-being, the Absolute Self, the World Mind, the First Cause, or the Universal. Regardless of the name, the Macrocosmic or Absolute Mind transcends all limiting qualifications. Because the Absolute Mind is underived , complete, perfect and unconditioned, it cannot be changed in any way. The universe is one all-inclusive and complete mind of which the lesser minds are limited parts. The Universal, or Macrocosmic Mind, is an absolute person, which is continually thinking, valuing, perceiving, and willing. The Macrocosmic Mind or Self is both a substance and a process. Although the language may seem vague or poetical, the Macrocosm can be said to be thought thinking, contemplation contemplating, and will willing .

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IDEALISM AS A SYSTEMATIC PHILOSOPHY Although composed of the same substance as the whole, the Microcosm is a limited part of the whole, an individual, lesser self. A qualitative relationship exists between the Absolute Mind and the individual Microcosmic Self. The individual self, or mind, is a complete entity insofar as it is a self. However, in relationship to the universe, it is part of the whole. In the sense that the part is less than the whole, the individual self is qualitatively less than the whole . Although subtle metaphysical distinctions run through Idealism, the following constitute the underlying basis of Idealist philosophy: (1) the universe is spiritual and contains distinctively mental, or nonmaterial, realities; (2) these mental realities are personal; and (3) the universe is one all-inclusive and complete part in which the lesser selves are genuine and identical parts or constituent members.

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IDEALISM AS A SYSTEMATIC PHILOSOPHY Idealist Epistemology In order to explain Idealist epistemology, it should be remembered that the Absolute Mind is eternally thinking. The Finite Mind, or the Microcosmic human mind, though of the same spiritual substance as the Absolute Mind, is limited in its completeness. Nevertheless, the individual mind can communicate with and share the ideas of the Absolute Self or the Macrocosmic Mind, whose knowledge is complete. The human mind is emergent but limited. As an emerging personality, the individual human mind is on a quest to be united in the Absolute

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IDEALISM AS A SYSTEMATIC PHILOSOPHY In Idealism, knowing is recognition or reminiscence of latent ideas that are performed in the mind. By reminiscence, the human mind may discover the ideas of the Macrocosmic Mind in its own thoughts. Though intuition, introspection, and insight, the individual looks within his or her own mind and therein finds a copy of the Absolute. What is to be known is already present in the mind. The challenge of teaching and learning is to bring this latent knowledge to consciousness. For the Idealist, the basic logic underlying the metaphysical and epistemological processes is that of relating the whole and the part. Mind is essentially a process by which relationships are ordered on the basis of whole-part logic. Truth exists within the Macrocosm, or the Absolute, in an order or pattern that is logical, systematic, and related. Each proposition is related to a larger and more comprehensive higher proposition. While the whole includes the parts, the parts must be consistent with the whole.

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IDEALISM AS A SYSTEMATIC PHILOSOPHY According to the Idealists, truth is a set of closely related, orderly, and systematic relationship. To be, or exist, means to be involved systematically in the whole-part, or Macrocosmic-Microcosmic, relationship. As an assimilator and arranger, mind locates consistency and exposes inconsistency. The properly functioning intellect seeks to establish a perspective based on relating the parts to the whole. The Whole Mind, or the Macrocosmic Mind, is contemplating the universe according to a total perspective that orders time and space. The properly functioning individual mind, striving to imitate the Universal Mind, seeks to fashion a coherent perspective into the universe. The consistent mind is able to relate the parts-time, space, circumstance, event-into a coherent pattern or whole. Inconsistency occurs when time, place, circumstance, and condition are unrelated and cannot be put into perspective.

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IDEALISM AS A SYSTEMATIC PHILOSOPHY Idealist Epistemology and the Educative Process According to Idealist epistemology, education’s major goal is to stimulate learners to achieve a more vital and fuller identification with the Absolute Mind, or the Macrocosm. Learning is a process by which students come into a gradually expanding mental awareness that leads to self-definition based on a comprehensive understanding or perspective of the universe. As a highly intellectual process, learning is the recalling of and the working with ideas. Because reality is mental, education also is concerned with concepts or ideas. People become educated as they systematically bring ideas to consciousness and arrange them into a system in which the part, or the individual, is related to the whole.

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IDEALISM AS A SYSTEMATIC PHILOSOPHY Idealists support the subject-matter curriculum in which various ideas or concepts, are organized in their relationship to each other. The various learned disciplines or subjects contain necessary concepts that are related to each other and that are referred to through symbols. For example, a word is a sign of something, or a symbol of it. Symbols refer to or point to concepts. Learning is a self-active process that occurs when the learner recalls the concept to which the symbol refers . Throughout history, humankind has developed bodies of related concepts, or conceptual systems, such as the clusters of linguistic, mathematical, and aesthetic system. Each conceptual system has symbols that refer to the various concepts. While many conceptual systems and their corresponding learned discipline exist, these various subject matters form a larger synthesis. The various subject matters represent the varying dimensions of the Absolute that have unfolded and been discovered over time by human beings. However, their cause, origin, and culmination are in the underlying unity. For example, the liberal arts are arranged into many conceptual systems, or learned disciplines, such as history, language philosophy, mathematics, chemistry and so forth. However, the high derm of knowledge is that which sees the relationships of these various subject matters as an integrated unity.

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IDEALISM AS A SYSTEMATIC PHILOSOPHY Idealist Axiology In Idealist axiology, values are more than mere human preferences; they really exist and are inherent intrinsically in the universe. Value experience is essentially an imitation of the Good, which is present in the Absolute. As such, values are absolute, eternal, unchanging, and universal. It is lack of perspective produced by sensation, opinion, or confusion that causes people to be mistaken in their ethical decision making. In our search for values, Idealists tell us to look to the ethical core found in the wisdom of the human race which has persisted over time. Ethical conduct grows out of the permanent aspects of a social and cultural tradition that in reality is the wisdom of the past functioning in the present. Rich sources of value education can be found in history, literature, religion, and philosophy. For the Idealist, our aesthetic experience comes from the idealization of the world around us. Art portrays our ideas about reality. Art succeeds when it portrays the idealized representations of that which appears commonplace in our life. Good art-literature, drama, painting, sculpture- succeeds when it creates perspective and harmony. Like a work of art, an aesthetic personality is one of harmony and balance. It aesthetic education, the student should be exposed to the great works of art and literature and should try to find the essence that makes them timeless.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM In the following section, we examine (1) the educational goals of Idealism, (2) the school, (3) the Idealist curriculum, (4) the attitudinal dimension, (5) Idealist methodology, and (6) the teacher-learner relationship.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM Idealism’s Educational Goals The overriding goal of an Idealist education is to encourage students to be truth seekers. To seek the truth and to live according to it means that people must first want to know the truth and then be willing to work to attain it through careful and rigorous study. Idealist education aims at a personal conversion to the good, true, and beautiful. Idealist education has the following objectives that are intended to help students become truth seekers : 1. The teaching-learning process should assist students to realize fully the potentialities inherent in their human nature. 2. The school, as a social institution, should expose students to the wisdom contained in the cultural heritage so that they can know, share in and extend it through their own personal contributions.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM The goal of an Idealist education may seem too abstract and altruistic for today’s society. Just as Socrates and Plato combated the relativism of the Sophists in ancient Greece, so too do contemporary Idealists battle against materialism, acquisitiveness, and vocationalism . Idealists would challenge educational goal-setting, which is motivated by consumerism and a desire for status. The idealists see a genuine education as being general rather than training for a specific occupation or profession. The goal of vocationalism is expertise in job performance rather than wholeness and excellence as a human being. While Idealists would not oppose people being prepared to earn their livelihood and contribute to the economic well-being of society, they would oppose- as a matter of educational policy- giving vocational training priority over general education.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM Acquisitiveness and a crude vocationalism stem from what Idealist would diagnose as a major ill of modern times-namely, a lack of wholeness caused by a myopic vision and a limited perspective. From the time of Plato, Idealists have condemned materialism as an obstacle to a true vision of reality. Such a true vision comes from establishing a proper distance from the sensory world of thins so that one can see objects, causes, motives, and ambition in a broad and long-range vista and which a sense of relationship. Whether or not we agree with the metaphysical and epistemological underpinnings of Idealism, the sense of perspective and relationship that Idealism cultivates is a worthy educational goal.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM The school The role of the school, as an educational agency, derives from the Idealist’s view of civilization and of how institutions promote progress. Idealists see progress as the historical evolution of human culture from its primitive origins to successive and cumulative stages of higher and advanced levels of civilization. Throughout the centuries of human history, the corpus of knowledge has grow as each generation transmits and adds to it. The words successive and cumulative have a special meaning for the school. Its administrators and teachers are arrange knowledge as a structure curriculum in which subjects, that is organized bodies of knowledge, succeed each other in increasingly complex a sophisticated content. As students progress though schooling, their learning cumulative in that the knowledge attained at one level or grade is added to in next higher level. Civilization preserves truth and knowledge by institutionalizing them. In this way, the achievements of each generation are transmitted to the succeeding generation. In particular, it is the task of the school to preserve past knowledge, skill, and discipline; it prepares children for the future by transmitting the cultural heritage in a deliberate fashion by way of systematically ordered, sequential, and cumulative curricula.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM The Idealist Curriculum Idealists maintain that the curriculum is a body of intellectual subject matters, or learned disciplines, that basically ideational and conceptual. These various conceptual systems explain and are based on particular manifestations of the Absolute. Hoever , all of these conceptual systems are derived from and lead eventually to the one unifying and integrating concept, idea, or cause.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM Conceptual systems derived from the Universal Absolute constitute the cultural inheritance, a legacy that should be added to by each generation. The Idealist curriculum can be viewed as a hierarchy in which the summit is occupied by the most general disciplines, namely philosophy and theology, which explain humankind’s most essential relationships to God and to the Cosmos. According to this hierarchical principles, the more particular subjects are justified by their relationship to the more general subjects. The more general subjects matters are abstract and transcend the limitations of a particular time, place, and circumstances. Because they are general ang abstract, they can transfer to a wide variety of situations. Mathematics, in its pure form, is a very useful discipline that provides the opportunities for dealing with abstractions. History and literature are also ranked high in the curriculum hierarchy. In addition to being cognitive stimuli, the historical and literary disciplines are value laden. History, biography, and autobiography can be examined as sources of moral and cultural models, exemplars, and heroines and heroes. History can be viewed as the record of the Absolute unfolding over time and in the lives of persons, especially those men and women of heroic dimension . Somewhat lower in the curriculum hierarchy can be found the various sciences concerned with particular cauyse-and-0efefct relationships. As the key to communications, language, necessary skill, is cultivated at the elementary level.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM The Attitudinal Dimension of Education Because the ethical corer is contained within and is transmitted by the cultural heritage, subjects such as philosophy, theology, history, literature, and artistic criticism are also rich sources of value. These subjects, which fuse the cognitive and the axiological, are the bearers of the human moral tradition and represent the generalized ethical and cultural conscience of civilization. The humanities can be closely studied and used as sources of cognitive stimulation. At the same time, these historical and literary sources can be absorbed emotionally and used as the basis for the construction of models of value. Value education, according to the Idealist conception, requires that the student be exposed to worthy models and exemplars so that their styles might be imitated and extended. Therefore, the student should be exposed to and should examine critically the great works of art and literature that have endured thought time.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM Idealist Methodology The Idealist conception of instructional method is derived from Idealism’s concept of epistemology. The thought process is essentially that of recognition, an introspective self-examination in which the learner examines the contents of his or her own mind and therein finds the truth that is shared by all others because it reflects the universal truth present in the World Mind. Idealist educators such as Friedrich Froebel, the founder of the kindergarten, have emphasized the principle of the learner’s own self-activity. The learning process is made more efficient by the stimulation offered by a teacher and school environment committed to intellectual activity. Immersion in the cultural heritage, via the curriculum, is part of formal schooling, according to Idealists.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM The learner’s own self-activity is related to the learner’s interests and willingness to expend effort. Students have their own intuitive self-interests, which attract them to certain acts, events, and objects. With such intrinsic interests, no external prodding is needed. When interest is intrinsic, or internal to the learner, the positive attraction of the task is such that no conscious exertion is needed. Although learners have their own interests, not all learning is easy. Students may be deluded by the world of appearance and may seek ends that are not genuinely related to their won self-development. At these times, effort may be required when the task does not elicit sufficient interest on student’s parts. At such a time, the teacher, a mature model of cultural values, should encourage every student’s redirection to truth. After an expenditure of interest and the application of self-discipline, the student may become interested in the learning task. Again, the cultural heritage comes into play to generate the student’s interests. The broader the exposure to the cultural heritage, the more likely it is that the student will have many interests. The more interests that are present, the greater are the possibilities for further self-development.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM Although no one particular method can be specified, the Socratic dialogue is certainly appropriate to the Idealist classroom. The Socratic dialogue is a process in which the mature person, the teacher, acts to stimulate the learner’s awareness of ideas. The teacher must be prepared to ask leading questions about crucial human concerns. When using the Socratic dialogue in a classroom situation, the teacher must be able to used the group process so that a community on interest develops in which all students want to participate. The Socratic method requires skillful questioning on the part of the teacher and thus is not a simply recall of facts that have been memorized in advance. However, this may be a necessary first step so that he dialogue does not degenerate into a pooling of ignorant and uninformed opinion.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM The used of the Socratic dialogue can be illustrated by the following example in which a high school English teacher is discussing Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn with students. The class is examining the moral dilemma that Huck encounters when he must either follow the law of the state or the higher law of his conscience specifically, Huck must decide if he should surrender the escaped slave Jim to the authorities for return to his slave master, or if he should help Jim escape to a free state. Huck’s dilemma reveals the apparent conflict between the more general and abstract values and those that are more immediate and particular . The teacher uses Huckleberry Finn, a classic work of the American experience, to represent perennial values. It is important that the teacher place the story in its historical and literary context so that the students are aware of its relationship to the American experience. The relationships of the book to the history of the Dred Scott decision and the fugitive slave law should also be made clear.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM It is important that students have read the book before discussing it. While welcoming a free-flowing discussion, the Idealist teacher does not encourage misinformation or permit unfounded opinion to obscure the real meaning of the learning episode. Once the students are aware of Mark Twain’s own life, the context of the novel, the characters, and the plot, then the serious exploratory learning can take place through the asking of stimulating questions. Avoiding those questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no, the teacher’s questions should lead to still other questions . The conflict between civil law and higher law is a crucial issue that has persisted throughout human history. What should a person do when the law of the state and the dictates of his or her conscience conflict? Is there a distinction between the good person and the good citizen? Should the person follow his or her conscience and take the risks attendant to such a decision? Should he or she seek to change the law? Is ther inner law of conscience part of a universal and higher law that binds all human beings?

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM Once the student have explored the theme of the human conflict presented by Huck’s dilemma, other instances of the same conflict can be illustrated by pointing to examples of civil disobedience as practiced by Henry David Thoreau, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The moral questions raised by the Holocaust during World War II and the Nuremberg trials of the Nazi leaders can be examined to illustrate the persistence of these broad moral issues. Imitation of the model or exemplar is also a part of the Idealist methodology. Students are exposed to valuable lessons based on worthy models or exemplars from history, literature, religion, biography, and philosophy. They are encouraged to study and to analyze the model so that the particular person being studied serves as a source of value. The teacher is also a constant model in that he or she is a mature embodiment of the culture’s highest values. Although the teacher should be selected for competency in both subject matter and pedagogy, he or she should be an aesthetic person who is worthy of imitation by students. Students imitate the model by incorporating the exemplar’s value schema into their own lives. Emulation is not mimicry; rather, it is an extension of the good into one’s own life.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM The Teacher-Learner Relationship In the teacher-learner relationship, emphasis is placed on the teacher’s central and crucial role. As a mature person, the Idealist teacher should be one who has established a cultural perspective and has integrated various roles into an harmonious value orchestration. While the learner is immature and seeks the perspective that he culture can provide, this does not mean that eh student’s personality should be manipulated by the teacher. The student is striving to gain a mature perspective into his or her won personality. As in the case of all people, the learner’s spiritual nature and personality are of great worth. Thus, the teacher should respect the learner and should assist the learner to realize the fullness of his or her own personality. Because the teacher is a model and mature representative of the culture, selection of the teacher is of great importance. The teacher should embody values, love students and be and exciting and enthusiastic person.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM J . Donald Butler, in Idealism in Education, has identified some of the desired qualities of the good teacher. According to Butler, the teacher should (1) personality culture and reality for the student; (2) be a specialist in human personality; (3) as an expert in the learning process, be capable of uniting expertise with enthusiasm; (4) merit students’ friendship; (5) awaken students’ desire to learn; (6) realize that teaching’s moral significance lies in its goal of perfecting human beings; and (7) aid in the cultural rebirth of each generation.

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THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEALISM CONLUSION Idealism , a philosophy proclaiming the spiritual nature of the human being and the universe, asserts that the good, true, and beautiful are permanently part of the structure of a related, coherent, orderly, and unchanging universe. Idealist educators prefer a subject-matter curriculum that emphasis truths gained from enduring theological, philosophical, historical, literary, and artistic works. The following concepts, rooted in Idealist philosophy, have a special relevance for educational practice : 1. Education is a process of unfolding and developing that which is a potential in the human person. 2. Learning is a discovery process in which the learner is stimulated to recall the truths present within the mind. 3. The teacher should be a moral and cultural exemplar or del of values that represent the highest and best expression of personal and humane development.

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