What is the Aim of Humanistic Education?

(i) Broadly Educated Man

To produce a broadly educated man possessing a well rounded personality who could assume leadership in church and state.

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(ii) Accomplishments


To produce men who should have a wide range of accomplishments. They should be able to express themselves in poetry, song, dance etc. All men should be physically and mentally healthy. Jacks say that according to Humanists human perfection must be final objective.


The main tenet of humanism, i.e., education for all and child is the centre of all education and the broad aims of education reflect on the type of curriculum. Hans says that the humanistic curriculum had in it the ‘real’ studies so that those could light the minds of children since it was the pupil who came first or got priority-method and theory later.

(i) Accordingly, curriculum included the study of old classics of Greeks and Romans since early humanists considered these to possessing profundity of content, literary style etc. and they believed that all the values such as wide learning, all round development, life of action, qualities of artistic enjoyment could be achieved by teaching Greek and Roman literature.


In comparison with literature and classics, they gave slight attention to mathematics, natural history; music etc and much less attention were given by them to the vernaculars in their curriculum. They believed that if history and ethics is to be studied-we should study those as a part of the work of the old classical writers.

(ii) Physical Education was also included in their curriculum and there was due place for it. It aimed at producing a new brave class of people.

Academician J.B. Florin and his Humanistic Curriculum

In the 18th century Florin asserted, “Philosophy and the sciences ought to be made the principal study of young persons.” He classified all subjects of instruction into three groups: (i) Relation of man to nature, (ii) Relation of man to himself, and (iii) Relation of man to other men.


He advised a ten years course for the ages seven to seventeen presuming that the boys would enter his academy with a fair knowledge of writing and reading.

The subjects included all branches of mathematics, history, applied sciences for the first group; Latin, French, Italian, Grammar, Rhetoric, poetry, drawing, music and exercise for the second group; History, politics, economics and biography for the third group.

Method of Teaching

(i) It was Erasmus who had left in writing about the method. He had tried the old methods in teaching literature and he told us, “Do not give the personal account of the author-rather appreciate the work of the author.” We should talk about his style, about his vocabulary etc. rather become personal with him.

(ii) Talking about difficulties in the way of learning, humanists say that the teacher should give few simple directions to overcome difficulties. Do not hurry because learning comes easily when the proper stage is reached. Avoid difficulty which can be easily ignored. Postpone things.

(iii) Next item in the method of humanistic education was to set exercises for the matter taught. It should not be literal reproduction. The subject should be reproduced. He did not favor taking notes. He would encourage memorization, understanding and reproduction. The substance is memorized. Let the child understand critically and then reproduce. The maxim was:-understand-arrange-Repeat.

(iv) For mature students, early humanists recommended lectures and debates. Independence and individuality were introduced in learning of lessons. It was a protest against verbalism and cram work.

Other Features

(a) Discipline

Humanists believed in discipline in the schools. It was a discipline of kindness than of vindictiveness. There was an appeal to pride and ambition in the child rather than to rigors of punishment.

(b) Role of Teacher

It is the teacher who is the chief agent in this enterprise of sensible integration and success or failure depends upon his outlook and methods. If he lives a unified life himself, he will help his pupils to find a unity in the multiplicity of their experience, but if he is to do all this, he will require different type of training.

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