Nature is said to be beautiful if Education is self-explanatory, self-operating, and self-directing. Education can only be self-explanatory if it’s Naturally centered. Therefore, this essay will explain the theory of Naturalism and its implications for Zambian Education. In other words, it will explain Naturalism and how relevant are its principles to Zambian Education.
Naturalism holds that the universe requires no supernatural cause or government for it to exist. Thus, the Naturalist Rousseau (1989) explained Naturalism as the theory that regards everything in the world and life to be based on Natural causes and not on spiritual or supernatural ones. This theory of Naturalism revolves around Nature and it can be referred to as Materialism. The following are some of the facts about Naturalism and how they can be applied or implemented in our Zambian Education.
The theory of Naturalism looks at Education to be in accordance with Nature and the nature of the child. Dewey (1960) argued that all teaching must be learner-centered. This implies that in as much as Nature is in, the child occupies the central position in the educative process. In other words, good Education as far as the naturalists are concerned, Education is only direct contact with Nature. Naturalists want all Education to be in strict conformity with the nature of the world. This is applicable to Zambian Education in that it requires everything to be nature-centered. Zambian education can apply this theory simply by setting a curriculum that is Nature centered. For example, Zambian education should have a curriculum that has subjects like Biology which has to do with leaving things that naturally exist so that learners or children can learn something from nature and the important role that nature plays in their Education and their life at large. Interests and likings of the child should determine the educational programmers and it should be self-explanatory through nature.
Naturalists under the theory of Naturalism regard freedom to be one of the most aspects of Education.Taneja(1990) stipulates that let the child learns by himself in the lap of nature. In line with the above statement, learners must be given free expression. Under this theory, learners should not be forced to learn but left alone absolutely free. Let the child learn from pages of nature without interference. Therefore, the whole of the child`s learning will come from his own experience and its natural consequences. His whole education will be according to the natural laws of human development which give him the freedom to discover knowledge on their own. In relation to Zambian education, this theory can be applied when teachers are not forcing learners simply by attaching reprimands to education. Free will for children or learners is encouraged under naturalism. In other words, this theory allows children to demonstrate the ability to think in a critical and scientific way freely.
The other aspect which Naturalists consider to be important is the method used to deliver the content. Darwin (1968) said that the method used to deliver knowledge can help learners to get the concept easily. Therefore, the methods used should be learner-centered and attached to nature. For Naturalists methods to be used in education should involve learner participation. In other words, this theory requires the methods used to raise learners’ interest so that they can fully participate during the learning process. Zambian education can look into this theory of naturalism and apply it simply by using teaching methods that are learner-centered. For example, the Zambian way of acquiring knowledge and skills should use methods like role play, group discussion, pair work, and many more.
Methods should not only be scientific-centered but also naturally delivered or explained naturally. If this is done Zambian education will be highly appreciated in terms of the use of natural methods.
From the above theory of naturalism that puts much emphasis on the scientific method, it can therefore be said that the naturalist puts emphasis on science so as to enable learners to interact, and explore, naturally with the environment. The scientific subjects preferred by naturalists are physics, zoology, botany, and mathematics. On contrary, Naturalists do not provide room for teaching about God and religion which is unnatural to most children and does not provide for reasoning. Martinez (2013) stipulates that science is the key to critical reasoning and analysis of situations naturally. In relation to Zambian education in terms of implication, this theory can be good and of use, if only Zambian education focuses much on science and specific subjects like biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics which explain the concepts in a natural way. Zambian education has to put much emphasis on science and not religious education which limits learners’ ability to think because of believing everything which is in a certain Religion to be fact without looking at the role that nature plays. Zambian education should implement this theory simply by allowing learners to demonstrate their ability to think critically and in a scientific way which involves observation and experimentation. This theory insists that moral education can also be given through actual experiences.
The other theory of Naturalism looks at education to be the way of developing a child into a joyous, rational balanced, harmonious, useful, and natural child. In other words, education should help a learner to achieve knowledge of nature. Eames (1977) defined education as the process of developing man`s capacity to enable him to know the as it is naturally. Zambian education can imply this theory simply by encouraging teachers to provoke the learner`s potential by giving them naturally stimulating experiences that will help learners become rational, whose conduct will be guided by reasoning as the theory encourages reasoning.
In conclusion, the theory of naturalism regards parents to be natural teachers, which means that teachers have no significance to play. Butler (2012) viewed materials to be a fact of nature. In addition to the statement, children should create and acquire the confidence to allow the manipulation of objects. Children should learn through conversation. Zambian education can work on this principle or theory simply by involving parents in the teaching fraternity and parents or teachers involved in Zambian education should view materials like real objects as the fact tool for teaching learners.
In conclusion, naturalism and its theory have exercised a great influence on the Zambian education for it encourages freedom for learners, science and its scientific methods to be used in education. Also, nature is the best teacher in that all learning for the child in Zambian education should be learner-centered and in accordance with the need of nature. Therefore, there is a need for Zambian education to consider the theory of naturalism and put it into practice by implementing its ideas about education.