Realists insisted that only those subjects and activities should be included in the curriculum which prepares children for actual day to day living.
Accordingly, considering the real situations, conditions and circumstances of the present day life of human beings, realists emphasized to give prime place to Nature, Science and vocational subjects whereas secondary place to Arts, Literature and Languages. It is to be noted that Realists have recommended about thirty subjects for the curriculum.
They have also advocated free choosing by the children from among these subjects. At the same time they have made clear that teaching of mother-tongue is the foundation of all development and vocational subjects which are essential for livelihood. Hence, the essential subjects in the curriculum should be language and vocational subjects.
Methods of Teaching for Children
Traditional system of education gave to the child only bookish knowledge which was purely academic and wordy. Hence, it failed to prepare the child for real life. Realists changed that system of teaching to gaining knowledge through senses according to the child’s nature and capacity by way of observation and experience.
Emphasizing that objects are real, the Realists insisted to impart knowledge of objects and external phenomena through senses. In their opinion, objects should be first shown and allowed to be handled if need be arise and then only they be interpreted and explained to the child.
Bacon, the famous Realist introduced the inductive method in the process of education. According to this method the object is shown to the child first and then its interpretation is done. In addition to this, the child does his own observation, experimentation and derives conclusions. In short, the child does self-learning to a great extent by employing inductive method.
Milton advocated learning by travelling. John Locke also spoke of tours, observation and learning by experience as powerful means of education. Some Realists also propounded many maxims of teaching which discourage rote memorization and prescribed instead learning by observation and experience.