You will notice that idealists believe that the most important part of man's existence is his mind. They believe that this should be nourished and developed. This development of the mind comes through encouraging to child to think about various ideas like truth, fair play or brotherhood. The philosophers of Idealism do not favour teaching students specific technical skills but rather encourage broad understanding or general education.
So, they emphasize classical studies but they are not opposed to natural sciences. Idealism also recommend subjects like mathematics, physics, biology, literature, arts, history, philosophy, grammar, religion and others for training the mind or intellect.
Idealists Method of Education
As idealists favour studies that provide deep knowledge, they also favour methods that can tap this deep-seated knowledge. This is why Plato maintains that the best method of learning is the dialectic method. Thanks dialectic method is a method of questioning and discussion sessions which makes the student think critically. This method is also called the Socratic Method. The teacher should help the student to see alternative answers to questions which they might have otherwise missed.
The idealists also support the lecture method as a means of encouraging thinking or reflection over the points or facts raised. They do not believe in just passing on information. The main purpose should be to help students understand the truth. They equally recommend the project methods which provide pupils with self-activity that would lead to constructive and creative work.
How Idealism Influenced Nigerian Education
One can see that the idealist philosophy greatly influenced Nigerian education because of our colonial experience. Before Nigeria gained independence, our educational system which was based on the British type, leaned heavily towards the study of classics and the arts subjects. It was aimed at giving people a broad or general education rather than specialized knowledge. This was in line with the idealist curriculum. Although this situation is gradually changing, the influence of Idealism in giving broad education is still present in Nigeria.
It is interesting to find out too that practically, all the aims of education recommended by the idealists, namely, intellectual development, self-realization, character development and development of the society are part of the aims and objectives of education in Nigeria.
Thirdly, it is also true that practically all the subjects recommended for study by God idealists are taught at one level of education or another in Nigeria. Idealists insist on moral values as essential to the attainment of good life. The Nigerian educational policy also emphasizes the inculcation of moral and spiritual values in inter-personal and human relations.
The Idealist methods, without exception, are also in current u at various levels of education in Nigeria. One favourite method is the questioning method which is called t Socratic method. Finally, the idea of a teacher serving as an ideal model for the pupils was strongly stressed by the idealists. The ethics of teaching profession in Nigeria demands this and the idea is encouraged at all levels of Nigeria's education.