The subject matter of instruction must be totally subservient to this aim It is the subjective attitude of the pupil that is important” Thus the problem of curriculum is to be approached from the standpoint of ideas and ideals To the idealists all subjects of study are essentially and fundamentally arts. In the study of these arts the self plays a creative role, i.
e., it develops itself creatively. In its scheme of curriculum idealism is not prepared to give any particular preference to any subject. To idealism any subject that provides sufficient opportunities for the development of the creative self is suitable for study; and it believes that any subject without exception, offer such opportunities The subjects which have a flavour of personal greatness are greatly emphasized by idealism. For example, an idealist would regard the study of Tagore more important for a potential creative self than the study of books which are below the level of “literature”. Idealism thinks that where there is greatness there is. a distinct possibility of growth, and it is in self-growth that the idealist is specially interested. It should be noted that in the choice of subject-matter, too, the idealist lays emphasis on personality and is comparatively indifferent towards mere subject-matter.
In its approach to the problem of curriculum idealism does not pay much attention to the present experience of the child. On the other hand, it emphasizes the experience of the human race as a whole. It wants to bring the whole experience of the mankind to the school. Thus the curriculum has to be an epitome of the whole human knowledge. The purpose of the school should be to reflect the civilization itself. Hence the curriculum should be so organized as to make it a representative of the experience of the race.
The child has to capitalize on this experience towards the development of his creative self. The experience of the race may be analyzed into two main parts which are related with (1) his physical environment, and (2) his fellow men. These two parts suggest two broad divisions of the curriculum: (a) the sciences, and (b) the humanities.
These two broad heads may include any course of studies. But the course of studies chosen must be used for the sole purpose of development of personality or self- realization of the pupil. Nunn says that the school should give place to those human activities “that are of greatest and most permanent significance in the wider world, the grandest expressions of the human spirit.’ Thus Nunn gives the idealist standpoint about the curriculum.
What are those human activities of greatest significance? At first these activities will include those also that are essential for maintaining the standard for individual and social life, viz., care of health, manners, religion and social organization, etc. Secondly, there should be those activities which represent the worthy attainments of civilization. The activities of the first group cannot be accepted as formal subjects, though they should be an essential part of the pupil’s work in the school.
In the second group we may keep literature, art, handicraft, science, mathematics, history, geography and the like. Thus these are the subjects which an idealist would like to include in a curriculum.