Contribution of Naturalism towards Educational Theory and Practice

Contribution of Naturalism towards Educational Theory and Practice

Philosophy and Naturalism

Naturalism is one of the very ancient philosophies which was developed in western world. It is the philosophy which lays much emphasis upon nature and its laws. According to naturalism, nature and material world is the ultimate reality. Nature is everything which governs human life and living. According to naturalism, there is nothing beyond nature, behind nature and other than nature. the philosophers like Aristotle, Becon, Herbert SpencerPestalozziFrobelTagore etc. were the main exponent of the philosophy of naturalism. But Rousseau is the most prominent among them.


Naturalism is the revolt aginst the stereotype of education. It rejects all authority which interfere with spontaneous and natural development of children. It gives maximum freedom to and central position to children. ‘Follow nature’, ‘Instincts are the basis of education’, ‘Sense are the gateways of knowledge’ etc. are main words of the philosophy of naturalism.

Naturalism and Aims of Education

Self Expression:-

According to naturalism, ‘Education should acquire a person with the laws of health, enable him to learn diving and train him to preserve and maintain life’.

Submilation of Instincts:-

Human instincts are the guiding force and the basis of all human conduct. therefore the main aim of education should be the redirection and sublimation of these instincts towards socially useful works.

Struggle for Existence:-

Education must equip the individual to struggle for existence and ensure his survival.

Education According to Nature:-

Education should not only be according to physical nature, but also the nature of child. It should be according to the  child’s tendencies, capacities, instincts, likes and dislikes.

Perfect Development of Individuality:-

According to naturalism, education should aim at developing the child into a joyous, natural, balanced, useful and matured person.

Naturalism and Curriculum

The naturalists do not advocate a fixed curriculum. every child is given the right to choose its own curriculum. Naturalists give importance to subjects like, nature study, agriculture, gardening, art and craft, botanyzoologygeography and astronomy. These subjects should be correlated with the play activities of the child and with the life around him. They emphasize the teaching of science which deals with nature. history is also given importance because it helps in transmitting the past experience of the race to the children.

Naturalism and Method of Teaching

Learning by doing-

The naturalists believe in the principle of learning by doing. Rousseau says, ‘Give to your pupil no verbal lesson. He should be taught, experienced alone’

Play-way method-

According to naturalists, all learning should take place in the spirit and by the method of play-way. it creates the spirit of joyful, spontaneous and creative activity.

Education through Experience-

Much emphasis is led upon direct experience. it is argued that the child learns more by direct experience of nature, man and object than through books.

Naturalism and Role of Teacher

According to the naturalists, the teacher’s place is secondary and behind the scene. He is a spectator and observer of the child’s development rather than a giver of informations, ideas, ideals and will-power and a moulder of character. He is not to interfere with the activities of her pupils.

According to naturalistic concept, a teacher is only a setter of the stage, a supplier of materials and opportunities, a provider of an ideal environment and creator of conditions conducive to the natural development of the pupil.

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In conclusion, it can be said that the naturalists keep the child in the forefront in the process of education. The teacher, the school, the curriculum and the method of teaching are not so important as the child, who is to be educated. Education is to be based on psychology of the child and it is to be in accordance with his nature. naturalism however lacks ideals. Moreover, it gives no place to spiritual values. It brings everything in the materials.

Major contribution of naturalism towards educational theory and practice

Naturalism is a philosophy which is unique in many aspects. it is contribution to modern educational theory and practice is tremendous. The following are however the major contribution make by naturalism-

Child centered education-

Naturalism has brought to the forefront of the importance of the recognition of the child in the process of education. In naturalism, the entire focus and attention is the child.

Enjoyable process of education-

Naturalism has stressed that the education process should be made pleasurable and enjoyable.

Educational institution in natural sorrounding-

Naturalism indicates that educational institution hould be set up in natural surrounding.

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Stress on progressive method of teaching

Naturalism brings to light the significance of progressive methods of teaching like, ‘learning by doing’, ‘learning by observing’ and ‘learning by inducive approach’.

New movements in education-

Naturalism has given birth to new movements and new types of educational institution like Summer Schools, Biswa Bharati, etc.

in this way, naturalism has contributed a lot to modern education. the most important being the given birth of progressive methods of teaching in accordance with the nature of the child. it is also based on psychology of education.

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