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Definition of Naturalism
“Naturalism is not science but an assertion about science.
More specifically it is the assertion that scientific knowledge
is final, leaving no room for extra scientific or philosophical


 “Naturalism is a loosely applied in educational theory to

systems of training that are not dependant on schools and
books but on the manipulation of the actual life of the

Protagonist of Naturalism
 Aristotle
 Comte
 Hobbes
 Bacon
 Darwin
 Lamarck
 Huxley
 Herbert Spencer
 Bernard Shaw
 Samual Butler
 Rousseau etc
Naturalism in Education
 In the field of Education, naturalism means the development
of the child according to his inherent nature.
 According to naturalism, the external laws of nature should
cooperate with the internal nature of the child for his full
natural development.
Forms of Naturalism
Characteristic of naturalistic edn**
Back to nature.
Opposition to bookish nature.
Negative Education.
Central position of the child.
Freedom of the child.
Emphasis on the training of senses.
Negative education*
 Acc to J.S.Ross,”A negative education does not mean a time of
idleness, far from it .It does not give virtue but protects from vice.
It does not inculcate truth, it protects from error. It disposes the
child to take the path that will lead him to truth when he has
reached it, and goodness, when he has acquired the faculty of
recognizing and loving it.”
 Acc to Rousseau, "Give me a 12 yrs old boy who does not know
anything. By 15 yrs of age, I will teach him so much as other
children read in 15 yrs of early life. The only difference will be that
your student remembers only knowledge and my student will be
able to use it in practical life.”
 Positive edn emphasizes on the mind & tries to make a child an
adult whereas negative edn strengthens the sense organs & the
power of reasoning.
According to Rousseau, "We give too much
importance to words. We produce by chattering
education chatterers only. If you are all the time
teaching morals only to the child you will make
him a fool. If your mind is always giving
instructions to the child, then his mind will
become useless.
Whatever the child learns in the play ground
is four times more useful than what he learns in
the class room.”
Back to nature:“All the things are good as they come
from the hands of the author of the nature, every where
they degenerate in the hands of the nature.”-Rousseau
 Progressive: “Nature wills that children should be children
before they are men. If we seek to pervert the order,we
shall produce fruits without ripeness and flavor.”-Rousseau.
 Freedom of the child:”God makes all thing good,man
meddles with them and they become evil.”-Rousseau.
 Emphasis on training of senses:”Education should prepare
the way for reason by the proper exercise of senses.”-
Naturalism and Aims
• To perfect the human machines: Since man is a small machine of the
huge machine(universe) hence the aim should be to make the
individual to work efficiently .According to J.S.Ross,”Education must
make the human machine as good as possible by attending to its
constitution , elaborating it& making it capable of more & more
complicated tasks.”

• Attainment…….happiness.:Bilological naturalism advocates the

attainment of happiness in individual's life but Mac Dougall asserts
that happiness & misery come according to the natural consequences
& as such no voluntary seeking after them will be of any use. Hence
he emphasized guiding & synthesis to attain natural progress &
natural development.

• Adaptation to envt.:Human have a natural capacity to adapt to the

changing environment for survival .Reinforcement by education will
give the individual an added capacity to adapt.
 Preparation ….existence:Acc to Darwin man has evolved from the lower
form of animals. Hence one has to struggle with the envt. For struggle.
Thus edn has to develop such capacities so that the individual
becomes victorious in the struggle of life & existence in this world.

 Improvement of racial gains: Racial heritage of culture & civilizational

achievements cannot be transferred from generation to generation by
the mere process of inheritance.

 Natural development: Edn should take into account the inborn

tendencies & develop them naturally.

 Autonomous Development:T.P.Nunn insisted that while formulating the

aim, one must keep in mind that dev. Is to be free ,fully autonomous &
self aquired.i.e aim of edn should be to develop a self developed self
realized individuality.
Naturalism & Curriculum
 Herbert Spencer advocated Complete living aim.

Main Subjects

Methods of Teaching
Nature as a sympathetic Teacher
 Naturalist do not like that their children should be taught by
teachers who are spoiled by the artificial atmosphere.

 For them nature is the only supreme teacher in whose

contact the children develop naturally.

 The teacher should not impose anything on the students but

should sympathetically &affectionately behave towards
them so that they can naturally develop.

 The teacher is to only to set the stage and allow the child to
act accordingly to his inherent capacities and the teacher is
only to act sympathetically observer and guide
Naturalism and discipline
 Naturalist advocate, "Discipline by natural consequences
"according to which nature will punish the child if he contravenes
law of nature and thus he will learn by consequences of his own
 They decry all kinds of external interference and allow full freedom
to the child to think and act accordingly to his interest
,inclinations, aptitudes and capacities.
 According to Herbert Spencer ‘s HEDONISTIC theory ,pleasure &
pains are the twin teachers who will discipline the child.
 “When a child falls or runs its head against the table ,it suffers
pain, the remembrance of which tends to make it more careful and
by reflection of such experiences ,it is eventually disciplined into
proper guidance of its movements.”--------Herbart Spencer.
Naturalism and School
 Acc to them the school environment should be completely free & flexible
without no timetable, no ready made dozes of knowledge.

 Nature will do the planning & processing for the natural development of
the child & will structure all the desired experiences to develop the
feeling of self learning & discipline.

 The Summer High School of Neel & Tagore’s Vishwa Bharti are the
models of naturalist schools where in the child develops its personality.

 All modern and progressive schools adopt the concept of self discipline to
promote self development.
Demerits of naturalism
• One sided and unsatisfying aims of education.
• Emphasis on present needs.
• Ignores books.
• Undue emphasis on physical education.
• More importance to scientific subjects.
• Unlimited freedom of child.
• Un appealing principle of discipline by natural
• No importance of teacher.
• Anti social development.
Merits of Naturalism
 Development of child psychology.

 Scientific study of society & sociology.

 Emphasis on experience centered curriculum.

 Important contribution in the field of education.

 Opposition to repression in the field of discipline.