Naturalism and Education|BE.d notes Free


Naturalism is that school of western philosophy which believes;

  • God doesn’t exist
  • Nature is the source of knowledge
  • This universe is creation of nature
  • Material world is real


“Naturalism is that doctrine which

separates nature from God and

subordinates spirit to matter”

-James Ward

Exponents of naturalism

▪ Jean Jacque Rousseau
▪ Darwin
▪ Bacon
▪ Montessori
▪ Herbert Spencer
▪ Huxley

Fundamental Principles of naturalism

  1. Only material world is true, there is no spiritual world.
  2. Soul is the conscious element produced from matter.
  3. Nature is ultimate reality.
  4. Human development is a natural activity.
  5. State has only practical existence.
  6. Natural life is best for happy living.

Watch this video lecture for proper understanding of these notes:

Aims of Education

The Naturalists have contributed in determining the aims of education. These aims are as follows :

  1. Development of power & ability for struggle for life.
  2. Enable man to live a natural life.
  3. Enable man to adjust in his environment.
  4. Individual development of man/ Autonomous development.
  5. Attainment of present & future happiness.

➢ According to Herbert Spencer, aim is to prepare man to lead a complete life. For that he has to do 5 tasks successfully

  1. Self-defence
  2. Earning livelihood
  3. Procreation & child-protection
  4. Social & political tasks
  5. Utilization of leisure time

Curriculum of Education

Rousseau in his book ‘Emile’ has presented different curricula for the children of different levels.

1. Infancy• Physical development.
• No formal education.
2. Childhood• Training of senses.
• Swimming, horse riding, playing, running, handicrafts.
3. Adulthood• Useful & practical knowledge.
• Natural sciences, social science, language, math, literature, music.
• Control over emotions.
Rousseau accepted women as the companion and servant of men, so he suggested that they should only be trained in housekeeping, sewing, embroidery, lace work, etc.

Methods of Teaching

Methods of teaching according to Rousseau
• Education by sense organs.
• Learning by own experience.
• Back to nature.
• Freedom in education.
• Education should be imparted to child according to his interest, aptitude, ability and needs.

According to Herbert Spencer the teacher should proceed from simple to complex, from known to unknown, from concrete to abstract, from indefinite to definite, from direct to indirect and from experience to logic. According to him teaching method should be interesting and entertaining.

Rousseau gave the concept of positive education and negative education

In positive education, education is imparted directly with help of books and by which the children are forced to do adult’s tasks.Negative education is Knowledge or activity that the
child learns by doing himself. No books are used.
This type of knowledge is not permanent.Knowledge is permanent. Negative education is True

Discipline and Naturalism

  • For development of discipline, naturalists oppose any type of outer interference. They believe neither in the punishment nor in teacher’s influence.
  • Naturalists believe that nature by itself is a teacher that gives lesson of
    discipline to man. When man does evil, nature itself punishes him.

Teacher and Naturalism

  • Naturalists considered nature as the teacher. Rousseau was in favour of keeping the child in the lap of nature in order to bring about his independent development.
  • According to naturalists, teacher is not a tool of imparting knowledge but tool of preparing suitable environment for children. Rousseau did not give any significance to teacher in the field of education.

School and Naturalism

  1. Rousseau did not think of school as necessary. According to him, Lap of nature is school, and nature by itself is the teacher.
  2. Schools should be Far away from cities.
  3. Whole system of school should rest in children’s hands.
  4. Naturalists opposed examinations, time table for school.

How contemporary Indian education is influenced by Naturalism?

  • Today education is arranged keeping in view the interests, aptitudes, abilities and needs of children (child-centered).
  • The impact of teaching methods like play-way method, direct method of language teaching continue to exist even today.
  • Visva-Bharati of Rabindranath Tagore, Montessori schools have came into existence as result of influence of naturalism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *