Idealistic Education: Balancing Tradition and Personal Perspectives


When envisioning an idealistic education system, the focus lies on nurturing not just intellectual capabilities but also personal discipline and character development. The aspiration is to cultivate individuals who are not only literate but also possess a strong moral character.

Educational Methods in Idealism

Idealistic education, as I understand it, involves a profound approach to learning, emphasizing the holistic understanding of subjects rather than fragmented knowledge. Plato's dialectic method, where ideas engage in intellectual battles, with the most significant idea emerging victorious, stands out as a cornerstone.

Knowledge, in the realm of idealism, transcends its material utility; it is seen as a tool to address contemporary challenges.

The idealist perspective dismisses the notion of education solely for technical proficiency, valuing instead a broad comprehension and profound understanding of the world.

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Classical literature, considered a reservoir of wisdom, is deemed invaluable in tackling modern-day predicaments. The emphasis here is not on producing individuals with specific technical skills but on nurturing minds with a panoramic view of the world.

Role of the Teacher in Idealism

In idealism, the teacher assumes a pivotal role as a skillful questioner, functioning as a model for students to emulate. While traditional lecture methods persist, they are seen more as a means to convey information and assist students in grasping complex ideas. Self-realization and self-education are esteemed in idealism, prompting educators to inspire students for continuous learning, even in the absence of a teacher. Project-based learning, as a form of self-directed learning, exemplifies this approach.

Curriculum in Idealism

At the core of idealistic education is the conviction that the primary goal is to teach children how to think.

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Teachers are encouraged to guide students in exploring texts to gain insights into life's purpose, family dynamics, the nature of peer pressures, and the challenges of growing up. The idealistic belief is that ideas have the power to transform lives, and classical literature serves as a timeless resource to address contemporary problems. Creativity, a cherished ideal, flourishes when students immerse themselves in the creative thinking of others and engage in reflective practices.

Critiques of Idealism

While idealism has enjoyed a significant influence in education, it has also faced its share of criticisms. Considered a conservative philosophy due to its emphasis on preserving cultural traditions, idealism has strengths, including fostering critical thinking, promoting cultural learning, and facilitating character development. However, the advent of science has posed challenges to idealistic principles, introducing a paradigm based on hypotheses and tentativeness rather than a finished and absolute universe.

The historical link between idealism and traditional religion is acknowledged, and the decline of religion is recognized as a factor weakening idealism. Criticisms of intellectual elitism and accusations of stifling creativity and self-direction in students are also highlighted. Education, once seen as a luxury for the upper classes, faced perceptions of idealistic education being bookish and lacking relevance for the general public.

Personal Observations

Initially drawn to idealistic tendencies, particularly valuing knowledge and ideas, I found resonance with James Madison's assertion that knowledge is power. Project-based education, a method aligning with idealism, seemed to reflect my philosophy. However, a divergence emerged in my belief in the significance of science and technology. Unlike idealists who considered these domains sufficient for the general public, I view them as integral components of any education.

While I champion the importance of continual knowledge acquisition, the recognition that science and technology are essential components sets me apart from a purely idealistic standpoint. Acknowledging the crucial role of teachers as role models, especially as a parent, reinforces the idea that educators wield the power to shape the thoughts and ideas of children and society at large. The societal uproar over inappropriate teacher-student relationships underscores the societal belief that teachers should indeed be role models.


In conclusion, an idealistic education system, with its focus on holistic learning, critical thinking, and character development, presents both strengths and challenges. The dynamic interplay between traditional ideals and evolving societal needs requires continuous reflection and adaptation. As a university student navigating diverse educational philosophies, I recognize the merits of idealism while also acknowledging the importance of embracing a broader spectrum of educational approaches to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world.

Updated: Jan 17, 2024
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Idealistic Education: Balancing Tradition and Personal Perspectives. (2017, Jan 04). Retrieved from

Idealistic Education: Balancing Tradition and Personal Perspectives essay
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