Idealistic pattern of education grants the highest place to the educator, and conceives of the educator and educand as two parts of an organic plant.
The educator creates a specific environment for the educand development and provides guidance so that the later may progress towards perfection and a rounded personality.
The most precise explanation of educator’s role is manifested in Froebel’s Kindergarten pattern of education, in which the school is treated as a garden, the educand as a delicate plant which requires nurturing and the educator as the cautious gardener.
Although even in the absence of the gardener the plant will continue to grow and will inevitably follow the laws governing its nature, the gardener has certain significance in that he has the skill to develop plants.
He may be unable to change a rose into a cabbage, but he certainly can contribute his mite to the plant’s development.
His efforts help in achieving perfection in this development, a level of perfection which would otherwise have been impossible. The educand plays a parallel role in the school.
He can guide the educand appropriately because he knows the rules which govern the latter are development into a process leading to perfection and beauty.
Ross explains, “The naturalists may be content with briars, but the idealists want fine developing which may be denied to him.” Clearly, the idealists attach much more value to the educator than do the naturalists.
Adams opined that both the educator and educand are two parts of the intellectual universe both of which should be considered equally important. The educator inspires the educand to realize the ideals of truth, goodness and beauty and guides him along the path to its realization.
The methods of idealist educational
Turning to methodology in education, idealists suggest that the method must be oriented to achieving the complete development of all innate abilities of the child and to train him for self-realization.
In Rivers’ words, “The process of education in childhood consists, or should consist, in the direction of innate or instinctive tendencies towards an end in harmony with the highest good of society of which the child is an active member.
Idealists believe in a harmony between individual and social objectives. The child must be provided with a liberal environment for his development and his education should be related to present experience.
One finds, therefore, that many elements of the idealist methodology are common with those of the naturalist, realist and pragmatist methodology.
The idealist methodology in education lays special stress on the three following processes-
The term instruction, as used here, implies educational instruction which is believed by Herbart to be essential to education. But instruction does not mean that the child mind should be stuffed with various scraps of information.
It implies a modification and a refinement of the child’s mind. For this it is essential that the educator must provide sympathetic guidance. The idealists believe that training of all kinds must be provided in the school.
Like the naturalist methodology, the educational methods recommended by the idealists also are based on activity. The child must learn through doing. Although the child can learn much by asking questions after lectures in the school, creative activity is much more important.
This creative activity should be natural, continuous and progressive. This helps in moving towards self- realization, because it encourages the child to manifest his innate tendencies.
Through mental activity the child learns cheerfully and happily and this also helps in the development of his personality. Besides, by these means the child learns rapidly. Hence, the idealists also stress that instruction should be active.
Idealist methodology also lays considerable streets on experience. Every educand must base all his education on his own experience. The educator’s task is not to stuff his own experience in the educand mind but to provide the latter some insight into his own experience.
The guidance given by the educator helps to manifest many frustrated and repressed tendencies and drives of the educand. Independence is an essential pre-requisite for experience.
For this reason the idealist believes freedom to be an essential part of education but it must be remembered that this freedom is not absolute, but controlled and guided.
It is evident from the foregoing account that idealists believe the experiences of both the educator and the educand to be of great importance. Both of them should be active and they should indulge in the mutual exchange of experience so that they can progress. The teaching method should be such that the child should recognize it as a mode of self instruction.