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Comenius - Didactica Magna - Start the revolution in Education

Identifier

020666

Type of spiritual experience

Background

Comenius said that we cannot rely on those already in positions of power to change any system, for they have no motive to change the system unless they are suffering under it.  Thus any change has to come from the grass roots, by the demands of its 'customers' and by the tireless work of those who have a vision of where it should be going .  In effect from the united efforts of all those who want change.

It may not be commonly realised, but many others were also trying to introduce educational reform at the same time as Comenius and he was much buoyed by their presence. Janus Caecilius Frey, for example brought out a work called A new and easy way to the goodly sciences and arts, to languages and rhetoric in 1629.  Furthermore a number of Comenius’s fellow Germans had started reforms in teaching languages, Comenius was in some ways riding a wave of reform. 

A description of the experience

The Great Didactic of John Amos Comenius -  Translated into English by M. W. Keatinge, M.A.1967

This art of teaching and of learning was in former centuries to a great extent unknown, at any rate in that degree of perfection to which it is now wished we raise it.  The world of culture and the schools were so full of toil and weariness, of weakness and deceits, that only those who were gifted with parts beyond the ordinary could obtain a sound education.......

It is almost incredible what pleasure I found and how my pain over the decline of my native land and the terribly oppressed state of all Germany was lightened whenever opportunity arose and I turned over the pages of these writings [of the reformers]. 

For I began to hope that it was not without purpose that the providence of the Almighty had allowed it to come to pass that the decline of the old schools and the foundation of new ones in harmony with new ideas should take place at one and the same time.  For he who intends to raise a new building invariably levels the ground beforehand and removes the less comfortable or ruined houses.

 

The source of the experience

Comenius

Activities

Observation contributed by: Francis Keeble