Realism in Education:
In the sphere of education, realism made its appearance as a revolt against theoretical and verbal education. From the earliest ages, educationists have been trying to relate education to the social and natural environment but very often this truth was forgotten, and the process of education was allowed to become very theoretical and merely verbal. At all such times, realism has appeared as the reaction to this tendency. According to the realists, education should be in conformity with the social and individual needs of the child so that he may lead a happy and contended life in the future. So, the criterion of successful education lies in its ability to prepare the child for adult life enabling him to earn his livelihood. Thus the emphasis came to be laid on teaching of scientific subjects rather than artistic or literary subjects. Let us discuss the chief characteristics of realistic education.
Characteristics of Realistic Education:
(1) Material World is True- The philosophy of realism considers the materialistic world as true which we see directly. What we perceive is true. This world is composed of matter which is real and it is true. Therefore, this world is also real. The spiritual world is thought-oriented, thus it is unreal. Soul and God are a figment of the imagination and the mind is just a thing of the world. So education should be based on real things and not on superficial things.
(2) Based on Science- The supporters of realism emphasize the importance of useful and purposive education. They advocate the inclusion of scientific subjects in the curriculum and in place of academic and artificial education, they lay stress on natural education.
(3) Emphasis on the Present Life of the Child- The present life of the child is the focal point of a realistic educational system. As we know the fact that realism was born as a reaction to excessive idealism, it opposed academic education and mere ideals and values. It emphasizes real and practical problems of day-to-day living which only can promote individual good and welfare.
(4) Emphasis on Experiment and Experience- Realistic education lays stress on experiments, experiences, and application of knowledge acquired. It lays emphasis on learning by doing, by developing creativity, and urge of practical work in children to lead a real successful life.
(5) Opposition to Bookish Knowledge- Realism decries mere academic, theoretical, and bookish knowledge which develops only cramming and rote memory. It does not enable the child to understand the realities of external things and natural phenomena. According to realism, education should inculcate in the child’s understanding of both the things and environment.
(6) Limited Freedom of Child- Realizing the importance of child realists grants full freedom to the child to develop his self according to his innate tendencies. They, however, want that freedom should develop self-discipline and self-control.
(7) Emphasis on Sense Training- Realism advocates self-learning through senses which ought to be trained. The senses are the gateways of knowledge and are developed by use and experience.
(8) Equal Opportunities of Development to Individual and Society- Realist education aims at the development of the individual self and the society of which he is an integral part. Realsitci education tries to develop the individual on the one hand and society on the other hand through the development of social consciousness and a sense of service of the individual.