Educational Philosophies: Idealism, Realism, Pragmatism, and Existentialism

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Educational philosophy is no doubt a matter that has changed over the decades, and still today not everyone is in total agreement on the subject. However, one thing is certain philosophy is the foundation of educational styles. Today, four basic educational philosophies exist including idealism, realism, pragmatism, and existentialism. All four philosophies are very different, but all strive for the same goal, to better our education system. Although every teacher has a different style of teaching that can be considered their own, they all adhere to one of the four basic philosophies. However, It may take a teacher many years to master, and recognize their style as one of the philosophies. "…Educational philosophy can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome"(46), where the idealist philosophy originated. Although Socrates’ ideals are the basis for the idealist philosophy, it was his student Plato, who is considered the founder of idealism. The philosophy "focuses on the spiritual and intellectual development of the individual".(47) "Idealist attempt to describe ideas, mind, consciousness, form, thought, energy, and other non-material concepts."(47) Aristotle, a student of Plato, developed the basis for the philosophy known as realism. Realism "holds that objects and happenings exist regardless of how we perceive them".(48) Thomas Jefferson is one of the more known realists. Teachers who are realists "focus on reason and thinking".(48) Pragmatism, founded in the e...

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