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Realism : Meaning, Principles, Educational Implications


Meaning of Realism

Etymologically Realism means ‘about a thing’ or ‘concerning some object’. Hence, it is an angle of vision according to which things as we see and perceive are realities. Realists firmly hold that knowledge acquired through senses only is true. Hence, what we perceive and see by our senses is real nature and the only true entity of the world.

Definition of Realism

The following definitions are being given to make the meaning of Realism more clear-

Swami Ram Tirth- “Realism means a belief or theory which looks upon the world as it seems to us as a mere phenomenon.”

Buttler- “Realism is the reinforcement of our common acceptance of this world as it appears to us.”

S. Ross- “The doctrine of realism asserts that there is a real world of things behind and corresponding to the objects of our perception.

Basic Principles of Realism

 The fundamental principles of Realism are given below-

  1. Importance on Physical aspects of Universe-

    This philosophy of realism gives importance on physical aspects of the universe whereas idealism advocates the importance on mental and spiritual aspects of the universe. Hence, realists depend upon the physical or natural sciences in their explanations of the universe and explanation of the universe propounded by realists is also factual.

  2. Independence of Mind-

    Realists believe that universe is depended of mind while idealists are more of the view that the universe is established in to mind.

  3. Soul and God have not any existence-

    Realists are of view that knowledge obtained through senses is real. Soul and God do not have any existence as they cannot be known through senses. Therefore, they believed that both soul and God are figment of imagination. They also fully believed that we are the part of universe and our mind has physical existence.

  4. Importance on the Present Life-

    Realists held that the truth of our life and the aim of life can be developed from the present systematic life. Therefore, the greatness of human being is in his present life and the aim of new realism is to expound a philosophy which is not in consistent with the facts of common life and with the development in physical science.

  5. Reality is real-

    The physical reality of the world is the true fundamental thing of experience. The realists believe that reality is real. So, realists are also called physical realists or materialists. On the other hand, realists believe that reality is spiritual in nature.

  6. Senses are the Doors of Knowledge-

    Realism believes that senses are the doors or gateways of knowledge. The impressions and sensations which result from our contacts with external world through our senses result in knowledge which is true and real.

  7. Opposition of Idealism-

    There is no place for imagination in realism at all. Thus, realists assert that there are no such entities as God, soul or other world. They are mere figments of human imagination. Hence, having no faith in the existence of God, soul and their interrelation, realists assert that the scientific realities of matter and its attributes are true and real.

  8. Man is a Part of Material World-

    According to realists, man is a part of the material world. He is endowed with sense organs and mind through which he attains the knowledge of the real external world.

  9. Emphasis on Experiment-

    Realism lays emphasis on observation and experiment. According to this philosophy, to experience can be accepted as true unless it is analyzed and classified in totality.

Impact of Realism on different aspects of Education

Following are the impact of realism on different aspects of education-

  1. Aims of education-

    Following are the aims of education in realistic philosophy-

  • To prepare the children to live a complete and real life.
  • To develop socialistic feelings in the children.
  • To develop the personality of child or physical, moral and intellectual grounds,
  • To help in developing insight among children so that they may be capable of self-thinking and taking decisions.
  • To develop vocational and technical skills in the children.
  • To develop scientific attitude in children about the incidents happening in the world.
  • To develop the personality of the child as a complete man.
  1. Curriculum-

    Following are the curriculum in education in Realism education system-

  • Science subjects- Realists emphasized on science subjects. They always like to include science subjects in the curriculum because they have practical utility.
  • Physical Education- Physical education was given importance as it improves health.
  • Vocational Education- Realists were given prominent place in the curriculum.
  • Mother tongue- Realists assign importance place to mother tongue. Education is to be imparted through mother tongue. Other subjects like mathematics, economics, political science, geography, history, law etc. should to be introduced in the curriculum.
  1. Methods of teaching-

    Realism gave special attention on objective of methods of teaching. It did not agree with verbalism and subjectivity in education. In order to make the process of teaching more effective and useful, it suggested the scientific methods like practical experience, inductive-deductive, experimental, demonstration, Analysis-Synthesis, observation and self-experience for insight methods in education. The co-relation among various subjects has also been given weight in method of teaching. Importance has also been given to use sense organs in methods of teaching.

  2. Discipline-

    Realists emphasized to keep a good discipline. Discipline implies to act according to rules and regulations of educational institutions. The purpose of discipline is to make the student himself to the section of physical world. But realists were not in favour of using any type of punishment for maintaining discipline.

  3. Teacher-

    Realists also give importance to teachers but they do not give the highest place in the system of education to the teachers. The teacher should present the facts in their real forms. He should not add anything of his own. The teacher should provide opportunities for observation and experimentation. They should present their knowledge in an intelligible manner.

  4. Textbooks-

    The realists like Comenius and others advocated that text-books should not be a work of mere theory. It should combine a theoretical knowledge of educational problems, derived from contemplation and from study, with the practical experience of the classroom teaching. The language of the book must be simple and natural.

  5. School-

    The school should meet the needs of the child and the demands of the society. The child should attain fullest development of his nature and needs with the help of the school.

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