Biyernes, Oktubre 16, 2015

IDEALISM VS REALISM

Presented By:

KRISTOFER E. CANILLAS, MAED


INTRODUCTION

“The truth shall set us free,”so the popular saying goes. The question though is, what is the truth? What composes the truth? How can you consider or turn something into what can be determined as the truth?

Two philosophical beliefs propose a definition or at least a theory of what truth is made up of: Idealism and Realism. These are two very opposing forces in philosophy, but both are aimed towards one goal --- to come up with something that works and will eventually be considered the truth.

Let us begin with the definitions of idealism and realism. Idealists are said to be mainly visionary, or, in crude definitions, imaginary individuals. That is because idealism is that philosophical belief that asserts that reality is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. It further insists that human ideas — especially beliefs and values— are actually what shapes society. It may also hold that the world or reality exists essentially as a spirit or consciousness, that abstractions and laws are more fundamental in reality than sensory things, or, at least, that whatever exists is known in dimensions that are chiefly mental—through and as ideas. Thus, we can say that idealists are those who believe that, “... I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.” (Sanburg, 1907)

In contrast, staunch believers of Realism focus on the world or reality as it presently is, unlike idealists who are understood to represent the world as it might or should be. In other words, they are mostly pragmatic and practical. Realism, accordingly, is “concerned with just favoring practicality and literal truth.” It is the belief that for something to be real, it may or must be spoken of with respect to other minds, the past, the future, universals, mathematical entities (such as natural numbers), moral categories, the material world, and thought. It is also the viewpoint which accords to things which are known or perceived an existence or nature which is independent of whether anyone is thinking about or perceiving them. Realists tend to believe that whatever we believe now is only an approximation of reality and that every new observation brings us closer to understanding reality. 

Idealism and realism takes its roots since time immemorial. The earliest known arguments that were believed to have been connected to idealism dates back to the 4th century, when Buddhist and Hindu believers in India as well as Greek Neoplatonists used idealist arguments as bases for what they view as the true nature of reality. The advocacy further fueled during the 18th and 19th centuries when staunch believers of the principles of idealism arose, mainly in Europe.

On the other hand, the principle of realism is said to be dated back to medieval times when it sprung to be a pertinent figure in Greek philosophy. Come the 18th and 19th centuries, when campaigners of idealism are in full force in Europe, realism is taking a stronghold in America and in Scotland.

Idealism and realism may be totally contrasting philosophical principles, but they are used in basically similar fields. There are idealistic and realistic beliefs in religion as well as in politics. There are even idealistic and realistic beliefs in sports as well as in the arts. Even individuals use these principles for their own decision-making, even in day-to-day activities.

But the question is, which of these beliefs really represent or direct to the truth? Which among these two is the BETTER belief? This is what this study on Idealism and Realism aims to answer through a careful perusal of the definitions, theories, history, and points of views of professionals with regard to these two highly contested philosophical principles.


PROBLEM AND BACKGROUND

Today's educational system is getting aggressive in the sense that getting technologies into it is now not just a frill or fringe but a must. Every school in this country needs computers and modern gadgets to continue its progressive function especially in educating youth. However, some educators do not believe in the need for modern technologies for use as medium of instruction and learning. They continue believing on the basic tools that are the notebooks, pen, and chalk.

Argument with the benefits of using new versus previous tried and tested technologies in teaching is almost the same with the argument in realism and idealism. Realism and idealism are different in its perspectives towards educational system. Realism focuses on what the status of the students and educators really are, and is focused on the outcome and evidence. On the other hand, idealism focuses on ideas and thought and how to apply them for the betterment of education.

Sans their contrasting definitions, realism and idealism are both useful in educational system because they work side by side to promote progress on the learning outcome from the students. But the question is, what is exactly useful and beneficial not only to the recipients of learning but also to the facilitators of learning?

The arguments start when both individuals have different perspectives in education. One will look at realism as a key factor to address the problem in education while the other will determine the many problems or pathways that idealism can solve or direct to. In this area, the answers could be limitless.

Also, despite the differences, realism and idealism are both useful in the educational system if used properly. Both are connected on how to be effective educators and students in the institutions. These are also needed in dealing with how to make a good students' journey in their education.

This study would help readers, students and educators in synthesizing the value of these two educational philosophies in their field of work. Reactions, comments, opinions and suggestions will be tackled later in these pages. 


IDEALISM

Idealism is a philosophy deals with mental ability that asserts reality. It is a preparation of something to do in reality and result from physical ability. Idealism is thus opposite or realism of which intends to have tangible results. Idealists focus on the wide variety of perceptions.

Idealism has two basic forms:
1. Metaphysical Idealism - deals with ideal of reality; and
2. Epistemological Idealism - deals with knowledge processing of which the mind states the condition.


REALISM

Realism is a philosophy deals with practical ability that asserts ideals. This is the result of the mind states or dictates. Realists focus on the possibilities and application of which the world would give.


OPINION, COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS


PRO-REALISM

Mr. Jerry Fortz, a master teacher I of Manuel Luis Quezon High School, believed that our educational system needs realism to promote individual learning outcome. For him, the school needs a hands-on principal to really address the problems of his subordinates, co-workers and students. Accordingly for Mr. Fortu, idealism is not needed in daily activities in school.

Dr. Sally Mops, Graduate studies professor of the University of Caloocan City, believed that educators should be responsible in their work, which is why ideals do not suffice. She insists that outcome of work should be done through effort given and not from the ideas of others. Learning outcome would come up with individual experiences. In other words, outcome can only be achieved through action and consideration of the current conditions, not through mere principles or dreams.


ANTI REALISM

Benj Bass, Partylist leader, advocates the right of the teachers in the country. He fights for what is right for them and rejects the things that would give burden not only to the teachers but also to the students and future leaders of this country. He reiterates the rule of law, rights of teachers, benefits of the educators and the equal treatments to the educators by the administrations. For him, the reality today is not what is in the Magna Carta, Code of Ethics and Laws provided for the teachers. He stands for the teachers because the ideal condition and situations for the teachers are declined by the policies and guidelines brought by the current administration.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano recently inspires teachers in their assembly through putting the map road for education and hailing teachers as the center of educational excellence. For him, teachers should be given utmost priority just as what is done in other countries like Singapore, United States of America, Europe, Australia and even the Asian countries. Accordingly from his studies, this country has the lowest paid teachers in the region. Also, what is ironic is despite being relatively underpaid, our humble teachers are those who have the highest taxes. 

Thus, in reality according to Senator Cayetano, the value of the teachers in the Philippines is deteriorating unlike before when teachers are being given special treatment so they could make the educational system work out. The senators believes that if we look at teachers as special and highly valued members of society, they will have the power to influence every individual and can dictate the way of the world positively and constructively. However, Cayetano quips, it is sadly the social media which is currently taking this place supposedly for teachers in this country.


PRO IDEALISM

Dr. Mariz Banz, school principal and graduate studies professor of the University of Caloocan City, believed that our educational system needs idealism to come up with possible pathways towards the right direction or goal. Idealism, accordingly, is the preparation for the realism. Dr. Feliciano believes that every educator would not come up with a good outcome if he / she didn't make any preparation for it in terms of principles and ideals.

Mrs. Mitch Penaranda, a Values Education teacher of Camarin High School, believe that there is such a thing as ideal students in educational institutions. She believes that to be able to come up with the bright ideas for education, a person’s outlook in life must also change. Thus, the action must be holistic and starting deep within. She merits the value of idealism in dealing with the future outcome of the students. 


ANTI IDEALISM

Marianne Alivio, Producer and Story Supervisor of TV5's Aksyon News Alerts, Aksyon sa Tanghali and Aksyon, believes that idealism cannot work in their field because the only thing we need to do or to provide is the reality of what is happening in the country. Her nature of work deals with how to promote the realism in the society despite what is ideal in the mind of their televiewers.

Mon Argel Gualvez, Reporter of TV5, is known for his voiceover line heard on newscasts across the network: "Ang maaaksyong balita... Umpisa na!" This quote rejects idealism since the word itself underlines the reality that is about to start. Reality is different from ideals because the moment that you make an action will end up the world ideally because it is the reality. In his nature of work, the real stories are always surpassed by the ideas that the thought would bring since it tackled the real score.


SYNTHESIS

Realism focuses on the reality of the world of which the effort of every individuals needed to meet the outcome of learning in the educational system. This educational philosophy can be applicable especially with the application of the new curriculum by the Department of Education, which is the Enhanced Education Curriculum or better known as the K+12 program. This curriculum is an outcome-based learning that needs leveled up effort to learn in a self-paced direction. Many people who are proponents of the K+12 program agreed that experience and self exploration is the best teacher of every individual; thus, the application of realism.

However, idealism comes into fore when talking about how the K+12 curriculum is currently executed. Some educators are protesting against the lack of planning prior to the execution of this new curriculum by the Department of Education. Planning is an integral part of idealism which aims to determine the possible route the program is going to take and foresee outcomes, opportunities, and most especially problems before they actually take place. The aim here is to make sure the program will come up with the “ideal” outcome which will then become its reality.

Thus said, we can say that in our current educational system, specifically with the new curriculum we are implementing right now - the K+12 program - idealism and realism should go hand in hand. Idealism makes sure we are prepared and guided throughout the implementation, and realism is what will be our basis for action and our shield against bad decisions when it comes to program implementation.

Thus, it is important to stress: Realism and idealism are both important in the educational system. That is because one philosophy will make and provide the brighter road while the other will come up to the good destination. Both philosophies are intended to come up with a bright outcome anyway, thus the Biblical quote, “What is not against you, is for you.” 

This can also be reflected in the opinions, comments, and suggestions of the interviewed professionals. Though contrasting at some points, studying their viewpoints will show us that if we put these piece by piece together as if in a puzzle, a workable and positive outcome may take place. It just has something to do with what works in each individual professional’s specific line of work, whether that be in the program implementation in the classroom or policy implementation in the school. Sometimes, it is being idealistic which works, but there would also be times when decisions and actions have to be side by side with what is realistic at that point. Whichever way, as long as those who work these ways coordinate and have the same vision and mission in mind, the future holds promising, desired results.


FINDINGS

Based on the interviews conducted by the researcher, the following are the findings:

1. The Eight (8) Professionals from the different institutions particularly in educational institutions and media have different perspectives in dealing with these two philosophies but agreed on the promotion of every individual;

2. Both professionals believed in the value of educational philosophies in their respective working areas;

3. Realism and idealism are both important in making a project and learning outcome since these are concerned with the planning and implementation; and,

4. One of these philosophies cannot move alone if one individual will just focus on the good outcome of the project or learning.


RECOMMENDATION

Based on the findings, the following are the researcher's recommendations:

1. There are different characteristics of realism and idealism. They actually contrast, but it is right to use the appropriate characteristics of these two educational philosophies hand in hand to come up with the desired results.

2. It is not recommended to use only one educational philosophy at all times because the needs are changing throughout the times.

3. There is no better or best educational philosophies in the educational systems. Idealism and realism really need to be mixed together to best address the problems the institution is currently facing and will face in the future.

It is recommended that every project be a two-step process when it comes to applying these two philosophies. First, educators may use idealism to plan and map out what the project is supposed to be like and the pathways it is going to take. After implementation, realism could be used to evaluate the result and serve as a guide for the continuation of the project.


References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idealism

Prolegomena, 374

Critique of Pure Reason A383

The World as Will and Representation, Vol. II, Ch. 1

http://www.britannica.com/topic/realism-philosophy

http://www.britannica.com/topic/idealism

F.H. Bradley, 'Appearance and Reality', Chapter 14

Carl Sandburg, Incidentals (1907)

Values-Based Coaching, FergusonValues.com

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