Realists believe that reality exists independent of the human mind. The ultimate reality is the world of physical objects. The focus is on the body/objects. Truth is objective-what can be observed. Aristotle, a student of Plato who broke with his mentor's idealist philosophy, is called the father of both Realism and the scientific method. 

In this metaphysical view, the aim is to understand objective reality through "the diligent and unsparing scrutiny of all observable data." Aristotle believed that to understand an object, its ultimate form had to be understood, which does not change. For example, a rose exists whether or not a person is aware of it. A rose can exist in the mind without being physically present, but ultimately, the rose shares properties with all other roses and flowers (its form), although one rose may be red and another peach colored. Aristotle also was the first to teach logic as a formal discipline in order to be able to reason about physical events and aspects. The exercise of rational thought is viewed as the ultimate purpose for humankind. The Realist curriculum emphasizes the subject matter of the physical world, particularly science and mathematics. The teacher organizes and presents content systematically within a discipline, demonstrating use of criteria in making decisions. Teaching methods focus on mastery of facts and basic skills through demonstration and recitation. Students must also demonstrate the ability to think critically and scientifically, using observation and experimentation. Curriculum should be scientifically approached, standardized, and distinct-discipline based. Character is developed through training in the rules of conduct.

Realism as Philosophy of Education, Philosophy of Education, B.ED, M.ED, NET Notes ( Study Material), PDF Notes Free Download.


Just as Naturalism comes on the Educational scene as a protest against systems of education that have become artificial. Realism appears to be a reaction against curricula consisting of studies that have become bookish, sophisticated and a abstruse. As we have a slogan in Naturalism- ‘ Back to Nature ‘ – in Realism we have a slogan-‘ Things rather than words '.
according to Realism the external world of objects is not imaginary. It really exists, "Our experience is not independent but determines reaction to the external objects. Experiences are influenced by the external world which has real existence." (Dr. Pandey Ram Shakal : An Introduction to Major philosophies of Education, pp. 149-50 ). It is a new outlook. and this new outlook is termed as Realism.
The realistic movement in education started from the 16th century. The 16th and 17th centuries witnessed great inventions and epochal discoveries which greatly increased the store of human knowledge. They extended the horizon of human knowledge.
Education is that which makes a man happy by getting acquaintance with real circumstances of life, create capacity for struggling with adverse situation in life. Realistic education is connected with the needs of life. "  ( Dr. Chaube, S.P. and Akilesh : philosophical and Sociological; Foundation of Education , P. 171 ).
The developing realism has adopted four points in education :
 i)   Humanistic Realism,
 ii)  Social Realism,
 iii) Sense Realism, and
 iv)  Neo-Realism.

i) Humanistic Realism in education

Humanistic realism is the reaction against the emphasise on form and style of the old classical literature. It has great regard for the ancient literature but it emphasizes the study of content and ideas in the ancient classical literature to understand one's present social life and environment. The aim is not to study the form and style of old literature to have mastery over it. The study of old literature is a means to understand the practical life. History, Geography, Kautilyas Arthashastra are the subjects and books should be studied for this purpose. Erasmus (1446-1537 ), Rabelais (1483-1553), John Milston (1608-1674) were the supporters of this faculty.

ii) Social Realism in education

 Social Realism in education is the reaction against a type of education that produces scholars and professional men to the neglect of the man of affairs i.e. practice. Education should not produce men who are unfit in social life. The purpose of education, according to social realists, is to prepare the practical man of the world. Michael de Montaigue (1533-1592) was the main supporter of this faculty.

iii) The sense Realism in education

The sense realism in education emphasizes the training of the senses. Senses are the gateways of knowledge and learning takes place the operation of the senses. According to sense-realists nature is the treasure house of all knowledge and this knowledge can be obtained through the training of the senses.
The sense-realists emphasized the three things :
a)      Application of inductive method formulated by Bacon in order to organize and simplify the instructional process.
b)     To replace instruction in Latin by the instruction in Vernacular, and
c)      To substitute new scientific and social studies in place of the studies in language and literature. Richard Mulcaster (1531-1611), Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Ratke (1571 to 1635) and Comenius  (1592-1670) were the supporters of this faculty.

iv) Neo-Realism in education

Neo-Realism is really a philosophical thought. It appears the methods and results of modern development in physics. They do not consider the scientific principles everlasting while they express the changeability in them. They support the education of art with the science and analytical system of education with the humananistic feelings. They consider living and un living all objective to be organs and the development of organs is the main objective and all round development of the objects is the main characteristic of education. Bertrand Russel and whitehead were the supporters of this faculty.


"Realists do not believe in general and common aims of education. According to them aims are specific to each individual and his perspectives." (Seetharamu, A.S. : philosophies of Education, p.74). And each one has different  perspectives. The aim of education should be to teach truth rather than beauty, to understand the present practical life.
The purpose of education, according to social realists, is to prepare the practical man of the world.
The science realists expressed that the education should be conducted on universal basis. Greater stress should be laid upon the observation of nature and the education of science.
Neo-realists aim at developing all round development of the objects with the development of their organs.

Realism in Education:

For the realist, the world is as it is, and the job of schools would be to teach students about the world. Goodness, for the realist, would be found in the laws of nature and the order of the physical world. Truth would be the simple correspondences of observation. The Realist believes in a world of Things or Beings (metaphysics) and in truth as an Observable Fact. Furthermore, ethics is the law of nature or Natural Law and aesthetics is the reflection of Nature.


Realists do not believe in general and common aims of education. According to them aims are specific to each individual and his perspectives. And each one has different perspectives. The aim of education should be to teach truth rather than beauty, to understand the present practical life. The purpose of education, according to social realists, is to prepare the practical man of the world.


Realism in education recognizes the importance of the child. The child is a real unit which    has real existence. He has some feelings, some desires and some powers. All these cannot be overlooked. These powers of the child shall have to be given due regarding at the time of planning education. Child can reach near reality through learning by reason. Child has to be given as much freedom as possible. The child is to be enabled to proceed on the basis of facts; the child can learn only when he follows the laws of learning.”


The teacher, for the realist, is simply a guide. The real world exists, and the teacher is responsible for introducing the student to it. To do this he uses lectures, demonstrations, and sensory experiences, the teacher does not do this in a random or haphazard way; he must not only introduce the student to nature, but show him the regularities, the “rhythm” of nature so that he may come to understand natural law. Both the teacher and the student are spectators, but while the student looks at the world through innocent eyes, the teacher must explain it to him, as well as he is able, from his vantage point of increased sophistication. For this reason, the teacher’s own biases and personality should be as muted as possible. In order to give the student as much accurate information as quickly and effectively as possible, the realist may advocate the use of teaching machines to remove the teacher’s bias from factual presentation. The whole concept to teaching machines is compatible with the picture or reality as a mechanistic universe in which man is simply one of the cogs in the machine.

A teacher should be such that he himself is educated and well versed with the customs of belief and rights and duties of people, and the trends of all ages and places. He must have full mastery of the knowledge of present life. He must guide the student towards the hard realities of life. He is neither pessimist, nor    optimist. He must be able to expose children to the problems of life and the world around.


According to humanistic realism, classical literature should be studied but not for studying its form and style but for its content and ideas it contained.
Sense-realismattached more importance to the study of natural sciences and contemporary social life. Study of languages is not so significant as the study of natural sciences and contemporary life.
Neo-realism- gives stress on the subject physics and on humanistic feelings, physics and psychology, sociology, economics, Ethics, Politics, history, Geography, agriculture varied arts, languages and so on, are the main subjects to be studied according to the Neo-realists.


The method of the realists involves teaching for the mastery of facts in order to develop an understanding of natural law. This can be done by teaching both the materials and their application. In fact, real knowledge comes only when the organism can organize the data of experience. The realist prefers to use inductive logic, going from the particular facts of sensory experience to the more general laws deducible from these data.

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