Naturalism is a philosophy with the belief that nature alone represents the entire reality. There is nothing beyond behind, or other than nature. According to this philosophy, human life is the part of the scheme of nature. This philosophy gives emphasis to matter, the physical world. It does not believe in spirituality and supernaturalism. There are three different types of naturalism: 

  • Physical naturalism: It is believed that reality exists in the natural universe not within the individual. Tagore has called nature as a 'manuscript of God'.
  • Mechanical naturalism:It regards man as a mere machine. There is no spirit or soul. Only matter is everything. Mind is also a matter made up atoms, empty space, and motion.
  • Biological naturalism: It tries to explain man in terms of lower form of life from which he has evolved.
The chief exponent of naturalism are Bacon, Comenius, Herbert Spencer, Huxley, Bernard Shaw, and Rousseau.

Naturalism and Education
   Naturalism is a revolt against traditional system of education, which gives very little freedom to the child. In naturalism, maximum freedom and central position is given to the child. This philosophy believes that education should be according to the nature of child. It advocates creation of natural conditions in which natural development of child can take place.
   Whenever a system of education becomes stereotype, there is reaction against it in the form of revival of naturalism. According to Rousseau, there are three sources of education namely, nature, men, and things. Education from nature is to prepare a natural man.

Aim of Education
self-realization, self-expression and self-preservation.

   There is no fixed curriculum. Every child is given the right to determine his own curriculum. He is expected to learn directly from nature through personal experiences. Subjects like agriculture, nature study, gardening, art, craft, geology, and astronomy are taught. The subjects are correlated with the physical activities of the child and with the life around him.

Methods of Teaching
   Learning by doing, playway method, observation and experimentation are used, so as to govern self. According to Rousseau, 'Students should not be given any verbal lessons rather they should be taught experience alone. Teacher tries to give lots of hand-on training and practical experiences'. 

   Naturalist gives utmost freedom to the child to do and learn the behavior. There is no punishment of any kind. External discipline is not desirable, as it stands in the ways of child development. Naturalism also believes that formal education is the invention of society, which is created and can be called artificial. Therefore, rigid man-made discipline must be avoided in the teaching-learning process.

Role of Teacher
Teacher is always behind the screen. He is a spectator or an observer. Teacher plays his role behind the scene. He does not interfere in students' activities. Teacher acts as a facilitator, a setter of the stage, and as a supplier of materials and opportunities.


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