john amos comenius education theory
Still, one must remember that these pedagogical innovations derived from Comenius’s urgent desire for the alleviation of human suffering, the mending of political, epistemological, and spiritual divisions, and ultimately, man’s gradual comprehension of God’s will and glory.
COMENIUS, JOHANN AMOS. 1968. The Oribs Pictus of John Amos Comenius. Detroit, MI: Singing Tree.
Comenius has some exceptional ideas that have been implemented by modern education. Children should learn on a gradual level based on what they can comprehend and remember. Education should be taught in the primary language if possible, which is a leading argument for multiculturalism in America today. Comenius’ theories are interrelated with Christian education since he was a Christian educator himself, but he still advocated for a “public” Christian education. This raises the issue of open-enrollment versus closed-enrollment, a topic of much debate among Christians today.
Comenius revolutionized education in three ways: school systems, educational theories, and educational methods. First, Comenius outlined the school system prominently used in America today: kindergarten, elementary school, secondary school, college, and university. Secondly, he created a general theory of education around the idea of education according to nature whereby children learned at a natural pace from simple concepts to challenging theories (Schwarz & Martin, 46). Thirdly, he wrote a series of textbooks on educational methods and teaching subject matter. His work included applications for and illustrations of how to teach children. He wanted children to learn in their native language with hands-on activities (Schwarz & Martin, 49).
When the Thirty Years’ War ended in 1648, his homeland was ceded to Rome, and he was forced to go elsewhere to see his ideas accepted. He was invited to Hungary to establish a school by a young prince, but his early attempts at educational reform proved unsuccessful. He returned to Poland with a manuscript for a picture textbook he had written for his students, but for which he had not been able to obtain the necessary woodcuts for the pictures. He sent the manuscript to Germany, where the woodcuts were done, and the resulting book, Orbis Sensualium Pictus (The Visible World in Pictures) was published in 1658.6
His reform of the existing education systems called for a revolution in methods of teaching calling for approaches that would allow learning to be rapid, pleasant, and thorough. The way children naturally learned needed to be carefully considered rather than the mindless memorization of texts without understanding the material taught. Teaching in Latin was seen as necessary, but rather than focusing only on grammar, learning about useful facts was proposed. Comenius wrote Didactica Magna (The Great Didactic), published in 1632, which laid out his educational ideas. He also wrote a textbook, Janua Linguarum Reserata (The Gate of Tongues Unlocked), which compared Latin and Czech and identified learning words with things. This book was well received throughout Europe and was subsequently translated into several languages. Through the success of the book, he became well known throughout Europe.
He advocated the necessity of three kinds of education: intellectual education, moral education, and religious education. To teach “all things to all men” was the theme of Comenius’ theory of education. Comenius considered that the talent to realize the goals of education is naturally inherent in people, and it is the role of education to bring out this natural gift, that is, “nature.”
This project has been realized in its cognitive aspect nowadays, from 1971 to 1975, by author of the Address as the Universal Ontological Model of Social System and Universal Ontological Model of Culture. This universal Knowledge has been discovered irrespective of the “Pansofiae” by J.A. Komensky – the author was ignorant of it – but as a result of a natural cognition process, by way of searching truth for the sake of truth itself.
With the liberation of Bohemia less certain than before, Comenius turned to an even more ambitious project—the reform of human society through education. Others in Europe shared his vision, among them a German merchant living in London, Samuel Hartlib, who invited Comenius to England to establish a college of pansophic learning. With approval from the Brethren, Comenius went to London in 1641, reporting back that he had been “fitted out with new clothes befitting an English divine.” He met a number of influential men, engaged in much discussion, and wrote essays of which the most notable was The Way of Light, which set out his program. Parliament went so far as to consider setting up a college “for a number of men from all nations.” This prospect was shattered by the outbreak of the English Civil War, however, and Comenius was obliged to leave the country in 1642. He had been invited to France by Cardinal Richelieu; and the American John Winthrop, Jr., who was in Europe looking for an educator-theologian to become president of Harvard College, may have met Comenius. Instead, Comenius accepted an offer from the government of Sweden to help reform its schools by writing a series of textbooks modeled on his Janua.
As a young minister Comenius found life wholly satisfying, but the outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War in 1618 and the emperor Ferdinand II’s determination to re-Catholicize Bohemia forced him and other Protestant leaders to flee. While in hiding, he wrote an allegory, The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart, in which he described both his early despair and his sources of consolation. With a band of Brethren he escaped to Poland and in 1628 settled in Leszno. Believing that the Protestants would eventually win and liberate Bohemia, he began to prepare for the day when it would be possible to rebuild society there through a reformed educational system. He wrote a “Brief Proposal” advocating full-time schooling for all the youth of the nation and maintaining that they should be taught both their native culture and the culture of Europe.