What are the Different Schools of Thought of Educational Philosophy?

Different Schools of Philosophy and their Views on Education

A philosophy is frequently described as the basis of knowledge. However, when you dissect the word, a different connotation becomes apparent. The word philosophy means “love of knowledge,” coming from the Greek words “Philos,” which means love, and “Sophos,” which means “wisdom.”

There are many examples demonstrating all the educational philosophies separately. Understanding philosophy is crucial for educators because it allows them to develop their philosophies and better understand the philosophies of their pupils and superiors.

Check out the 4 different schools of philosophy and their views on education below:


A philosophical school known as idealism emphasizes the idea that “ideas or concepts constitute the substance of all that is worth knowing.” This philosophy school, based on Plato’s ideas, promotes conscious mental reasoning. Additionally, idealists seek out and respect universal or unalterable truths and concepts. As a result, idealists think that concepts should endure throughout time.

Modern idealists typically believe in going beyond only intellectual growth and work to help pupils develop their entire character. These idealistic educators inspire their pupils to develop ideas of the greatest caliber by drawing on the knowledge of great thinkers in the past by serving as moral and intellectual role models for them.

The philosophy of education is based on the premise that the universe is made up of many interconnected parts and that the fundamental ability needed to comprehend the whole is the ability to develop and analyze ideas. Idealist educators place great importance on self-directed learning, including their pupils in projects and reading materials that promote self-reflection.

Educational Implications of Idealism

An idealist educational philosophy emphasizes concepts more than students or particular subject areas in the curriculum. Additionally, learning is intrinsically driven. Idealism employs various teaching techniques, including lectures, group discussions, and Socratic dialogue. Asking questions that elicit responses and foster connections is crucial to teaching strategies. The following six categories of Socratic questions are suggested by Paul (n/d):

  • How does this concern our conversation?
  • Inquiries that challenge presumptions
  • What else might we suppose?
  • Queries that delve into the causes and supporting data
  • What would be an illustration?
  • Questions about perspectives and viewpoints
  • What is a different perspective on this?
  • Implication- and consequence-focused queries
  • What are the implications of that supposition?
  • Inquiries regarding the question
  • What was the purpose of asking this question?

2. Realism

Aristotle’s writings are the source of the philosophical school known as realism. According to this philosophy, “reality, knowledge, and worth exist independently of the human intellect” (Johnson, 2011, p. 89). Realists support using the senses and conducting scientific research to find the truth. The scientific method enables people to categorize things into several groups based on their fundamental differences.

Educational Implications of Realism

A realist educational philosophy strongly emphasizes scientific research and advancement in the curriculum. Such educational implications are important to consider for better learning of children. Today’s classrooms are affected by this way of thinking, which has led to the development of standardized assessments, serialized textbooks, and specialized curricula (Johnson et al., 2011). Among the teaching techniques utilized in realism are:

  • Demonstration
  • Recitation
  • Critically analyzing
  • Observation
  • Experimentation


A process philosophy known as pragmatics places a greater emphasis on change and evolution than on existence. In other words, pragmatists think that since reality is continuously changing, experience is the best teacher.

Pragmatists contend that the learner is always in dialogue with and changing the environment with which they are engaged. There is “no absolute, immutable truth; rather, the truth is that which serves.” The learner or the environment they are engaging in can alter depending on what is learned at any given time and point.

Educational Implications of Pragmatism

Teachers who can encourage students’ inquiry and problem-solving throughout the natural flow of a lesson are needed, according to the pragmatic educational philosophy. Additionally, inter-disciplinary is the curriculum. Pragmatic education includes the following methods:

  • Solving issues directly
  • Experimentation
  • Projects
  • Cooperative learning


A school of philosophy known as existentialism “focuses on the person’s relevance rather than on external standards.” Existentialists contend that as our final realities are nothing more than the sum of our past experiences, they are personal to each of us. As a result, outside of our human experience, the physical world has no actual significance.

Educational Implications of Existentialism

Given that the teacher treats each student individually, the topic matter in an existentialist classroom should be up to the teacher. In an existential classroom, the student has the answers rather than the teacher. Students actively participate in learning by using real thinking to examine their experiences.

It can be effective in conducting online classes for the school as students get great independence. Existentialists disagree with the idea of treating pupils like inanimate objects that can be tracked, tested, or standardized. Such educators favor making possibilities for self-direction and self-actualization the main focus of the educational process. They begin with the student rather than the curriculum result.


All these philosophies have a great impact in proposing different strategies for learning. Many modern approaches have been designed by taking help from these ideas which have contributed to effective education.

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