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Comenius

  • Robert R. Rusk
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Abstract

The early educators had confined their attention to the training of the governing classes of the community, and until the time of Comenius it was only idealists like More who could hazard the suggestion that ‘all in their childhood be instruct in learning … in their own native tongue’.2 Comenius not only proposed to teach ‘all things to all men’, but also set about in a practical fashion planning a universal system of education, devising methods of teaching which would hasten the attainment of his ideal, and even preparing school books to illustrate how his principles should be applied in practice. It was not that, foreseeing the triumph of democracy, he would take time by the forelock and ‘educate our masters’, nor was it on the grounds of an abstract political principle like the equality of man that he based his belief, but rather by reason of the infinite possibilities in human nature and of the uncertainty as to the position to which providence might call this or that man that he advocated that education should be accessible to all.

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Footnotes

  1. 2.
    John Amos Komensky, The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart (1623), edited and translated by Count Lutzow (London: Swan, Sonnenschein, 1901). OrGoogle Scholar
  2. J. A. Comenius, The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart (London: Dent’s Temple Classics, 1905).Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    S. S. Laurie, John Amos Comenius (Cambridge University Press, 1899), p. 20.Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    John Amos Comenius, The Way of Light (1668), translated into English with Introduction by E. T. Campagnac (University Press of Liverpool, 1938), pp. 148–51.Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    R. F. Young (Times Educational Supplement, 10th March 1928) traced the development of a great college for scientific research from the Accademia Platonica at Florence in the fifteenth century, the Accademia Secretorum Naturae founded at Naples in 1560, the Accademia dei Lincei established at Rome in 1603, and similar Italian scientific societies of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.Google Scholar
  6. 1.
    Written in Czech between 1628 and 1632, published in Latin 1657–8. The Czech version was not published till 1849. English translation by M. W. Keatinge, The Great Didactic of John Amos Comenius (London: A. & C. Black, 1910). Cf.Google Scholar
  7. V. Jelinek, The Analytical Didactic of Comenius (University of Chicago Press, 1954).Google Scholar
  8. 2.
    J. W. Adamson, Pioneers of Modern Education (Cambridge University Press, 1905), p. 149. Bacon, for example, took all knowledge for his province.Google Scholar
  9. 1.
    Essays: ‘Of the Institution and Education of Children’ (1580). From a manuscript emendation (cf. S. S. Laurie, Studies in the History of Educational Opinion from the Renaissance (Cambridge University Press, 1903), p. 105, it appears that Montaigne would give such pupils even shorter shrift, as he there advises the masters to’ strangle such youths if they can do it without witnesses’.Google Scholar
  10. 1f.
    Comenius’s Janua was not original, he must be given credit for preparing a series of textbooks in a graded manner — Janua, Vestibulum, Atrium and Palladium. It was not until more than a century later that it became common to write textbooks in series — John A. Nietz, ‘Some Findings from Analyses of Old Textbooks’, History of Education (Spring 1952), vol. iii, No. 3, p. 81.Google Scholar
  11. On picture books see The Great Didactic, ch. xxviii, §§ 25–26. The Orbis Pictus was not the first illustrated textbook. See letter on ‘Early Textbooks’ by W. Brickman, Journal of Education (London, June 1947). Comenius evidently derived the suggestion of a school book with pictures from Eilhard Lubinus (1565–1621), Professor of Theology at Rostock. For origin of Orbis Pictus and photograph of an early incomplete version seeGoogle Scholar
  12. G. H. Turnbull, ‘An Incomplete Orbis Pictus of Comenius. Printed in 1653’, Acta Comeniana, 1, i, pp. 35–54 (Prague, 1957).Google Scholar
  13. R. Latta, Leibniz: The Monadology (1898), p. 1. Kant in his Lectures on education also mentions the Orbis Pictus.Google Scholar
  14. 1.
    An account of the discovery of the manuscript is given in the German edition of the Pampaedia, pp. 490–5, also in an article’ schools in the Pampaedia of J. A. Comenius’ by A. Turek, Research Review, The Research Publications of the Institute of Education, University of Durham, No. 2, September 1951, pp. 29–39 (University of London Press).Google Scholar
  15. 2.
    Comenius’s metaphysical doctrine has also been summarised as follows by G. H. Turnbull in an article, ‘The Pansophiae Diatyposis of Comenius and its Continuation’, Acta Comeniana, 1, ii, pp. 113–51 (Prague 1957): ‘For Comenius wisdom is the true knowledge of all things knowable. The general basis of this wisdom is knowledge of the highest general classes of all things, the structure of all things, the laws of all things. Such knowledge is obtainable by the guidance of the common ideas, innate in every human mind, which need no proof but, illustrated only by examples, are thereupon admitted by every sane mind, and which are the principles of knowledge, on which are based all the other sciences. … The principles of knowledge are the principles of things, and these proceed from God, whose image the mind of man is.’Google Scholar
  16. 1.
    I. L. Kandel in ‘National Education in an International World’, N.E.A. Journal (April 1946), p. 175.Google Scholar
  17. 1.
    R. Ulich, Professional Education as a Humane Study (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1956), p. 115.Google Scholar

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© R. R. Rusk 1969

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  • Robert R. Rusk

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