Back to: Philosophical Foundation of Education – Unit 2
Role of Teacher, Student and Characteristics of Curriculum and Discipline According to Naturalism
According to J.S. Ross, “Naturalism is a term loosely applied in educational theory to systems of training that are not dependent on schools and books but on the manipulation of the actual life of the educated.” Naturalism, as the name suggests, gives importance to nature amongst the three main factors of education and the other two include man and objects. It believes that nature is the best teacher of learners. Naturalism emphasises on the following:
1. Learning by Doing
2. Learning by Experience
3. Learning by Play
Role of Teacher and Student According to Naturalism
Joyce opines, “Naturalism is a system whose silent characteristic is the exclusion of whatever is spiritual or indeed whatever is transcendental of experience from our philosophy of Nature and man.”
1. Nature is the Supreme Teacher: Naturalists believe nature to be the supreme teacher and a child can develop naturally and normally under the influence of nature.
2. Learners are Central: In naturalist education, the learner occupies the central position rather than the teacher.
3. Teacher is an Observer: According to naturalism, the teacher must assume the role of a mere observer and guide the learners in structuring their experiences.
4. Learners Must Be Free: Naturalism asserts that the school environment should be flexible, free, and there should be absence of rigidity so that learners can learn at their own pace.
5. Teachers Must Be Sympathetic: The teacher’s behaviour towards the learners must be affectionate and sympathetic to encourage learners to develop freely.
Characteristics of Curriculum and Discipline According to Naturalism
R.B. Perry states,
“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 knowledge.”
1. Scientific Education Should Be Emphasized: Naturalism lays stress on the spread of scientific subjects and believes it to be important for a learner’s development.
2. School Environment Must Be Flexible: Naturalism asserts that the school environment should be flexible, free, and there should be absence of rigidity so that learners can learn at their own pace.
3. Natural Development: Rousseau declares, “education should develop the child according to his inborn tendencies, interests, inclinations, aptitudes and capacities in a free environment. Such development will be a development according to Nature in the real sense of the term.”
4. Learning from Nature: Since naturalists regard the universe to be a huge machine and man to be part of the same, it believes that education must enable the learners to work efficiently in a natural manner by being close to nature.
5. Curriculum Must Emphasize Struggle of Existence: Darwin focused on the survival of the fittest based on the principle of struggle for existence. According to this belief, human beings have to be in constant struggle with the environment for survival and education should prepare learners for the same.
Naturalism believes that the acquisition of knowledge should not be limited to books. It asserts the same to be superficial and an example of snobbery. According to Hocking, “Naturalism denies the existence of anything beyond nature, behind nature, other than nature such as the supernatural or other-worldly.