ERIC Number: ED374009
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
"Study Nature, Not Books": The Nature Study Curriculum 1891-1932.
From an analysis of 16 handbooks and courses of study published between the years of 1891 to 1918, the nature study curriculum reflected an enormous agenda for reform spanning three areas: society, culture, and the environment. The curriculum included the disciplines subsumed under natural history and emphasized the investigation of natural phenomena in the local environment. The repudiation of nature study by leading science educators during the progressive era in education (1917-1957) highlights some of the ironies of this period, an era that many educators today associate with notions of experiential learning and an emphasis on science in the curriculum. The history of the nature study movement during the progressive era reveals a distinct shift away from experiential learning towards instructional methods deemed more efficient. In the thirties, advocates of the program called "elementary science" increasingly cited the textbook and demonstration method as more favorable than the field work and laboratory methods traditionally used in nature study. Ironically, as science the subject decreased in importance, educators increasingly emphasized the instrumental use of the scientific method to solve social and educational problems. (Author/LZ)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Nature Study; Progressive Era
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 5-8, 1994).