The Method of Teaching According to Realism
In the process of presenting facts, the teacher is not expected to express his subjective opinion on the matter. He has to present the facts as they are, and he must not add anything of his own. The details of contents and the principles of presentation and the emphasis to be given at places will be determined by the specific nature of facts.
The method of teaching should be strictly objective. The best method is that which no one’s own is. Therefore the teacher should become a faithful translator so that through him the facts themselves may become real and impress themselves on the pupils.
The facts must be presented in a clear and distinct manner and no detraction from the facts should be allowed. The facts should be logically classified and one part should lead to another automatically.
The realist method of teaching coincides with the attitude of the scientist as Holt says, “The conscientious scientist … knows perfectly well that he ‘constructs’ nothing; and that, indeed, his prime concern is precisely not to construct anything. It is his purpose to efface the personal will, and if it were possible he would transcend the limitations of his sense organs, so as to be an impartial witness of the events.”
The realist method of teaching starts with the parts and considers them real in themselves. It regards the whole as a product of the parts which while contributing to the building up of the whole, retain somehow their individual independence.
The idealist method of teaching is just opposite to this. It starts with the whole and proceeds analytically down to the parts. Parts are nothing in themselves; they are something only in relation to the whole.
The realist teacher uses a synthetic method of presentation in the classroom, as well as in the preparation of a text-book. He begins with “elements” or “parts” and tries to show how under given conditions the “wholes”, the certain secondary entities shape themselves.
Given a few pieces of wood, tools and a carpenter, a table (a whole or a secondary entity) of great beauty may come forth. The pieces of wood remain pieces of wood, the tools remain tools and the carpenter remains a carpenter.
However, there is something new, the beauty of aggregation which may inspire and give joy to anyone who looks at it. The pieces of wood were not beautiful in themselves. The tools were not beautiful in themselves. The carpenter was not beautiful in himself.
Yet there has emerged a thing of beauty a table, which is additional, new and almost incalculable in terms of its elements nevertheless factual in essence. This is just what the realist teacher tries to do in the classroom. With a synthetic method he brings out a beauty out of the parts, yet the factual nature of the parts is not at all destroyed.