Tagore emphasised moral training and development of character. This is possible through austere devotion (Sadhana) and development of inner discipline.
In tune with austere self-discipline, he advocated a simple way of life, achieved through the reduction of all unnecessary material equipment. He also emphasised human fellow-feeling and sociability and advocated a sense of kinship with all mankind.
While advocating intellectual aim of education, Tagore made a clear distinction between the existing educational practices, emphasising bookish knowledge, and the real intellectual attainment. Our intellect never received genuine intellectual nourishment. “All these years,” he said, “We adorned the cage but the parrot within lay starving.” Education should cultivate the power of acquiring ideas through independent effort, and develop the ability to learn directly from Nature and Life.
It must aim at making the pupils familiar with the conditions of real life and habitual environments. What is important is not the store of knowledge gained from books, but the ability to use what we learn, and constant curiosity and alertness of the mind. In this connection, Tagore pointed out the importance of scientific knowledge and scientific outlook, as also the cultivation of the intellect thereby.
Tagore equally emphasised healthy physical development of children, especially in early years. This was possible through free movements and in joyous natural surroundings. Physical development includes training of body in different parts as well as the training of the sense.
Tagore laid great stress on international brotherhood and harmony. Through education, he aimed at synthesising the important features of the cultures of the East and the West. He wanted to promote inter-cultural and inter-social understanding for the unification of mankind.