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Comenius - Didactica Magna - Introduce ‘just-in-time’ learning

Identifier

020671

Type of spiritual experience

Background

Education, according to Comenius, is not just the training of a child in a school or at home.  It is a process which should affect a man or woman throughout their whole life, readying him or her for the changes or social adjustments that are needed at every stage of their lives.  Subjects should thus be suited to the stage reached and the need for help. 

For example, when a woman has her first baby and help is given about what to eat and what to avoid, and about what will happen and what to do, that is just as much about education as teaching ’history’. 

What floors man every time is ignorance.  It is ignorance that causes wars, that causes conflict, that causes pain, fear and distress and causes him to make mistake after mistake.  An educated man uses reason and knowledge or wisdom to make decisions.  An educated man is prepared and fore armed.

Everything that Comenius proposed in this respect has been lost or never been implemented.  We go to school and are taught subjects which, though possibly interesting, bear no relevance to our actual needs at that stage.  We are taught to drive by our Dads or Mums, taught how to fill out tax returns by them too. Not at school.  Geography in schools is not about finding our way around, understanding countries and their cultures and languages.  Geography in schools is maps and figures.  I can remember having to learn all the rivers of the UK in a sort of rote fashion.  Why?  Useless.

Comenius was simply saying, by using schools with teachers or by using any method that provides help,-  books or mentors, and these days the Internet, - an education system must integrate with needs of life.  If a man wishes to walk into a university because a lecturer is providing information on the culture of ancient Rome, he should be allowed to do so.

A description of the experience

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

It is a common complaint that there are few who leave school with a thorough education, and that most men retain nothing but a veneer, a mere shadow of true knowledge.  This complaint is corroborated by facts.

The cause of this phenomenon appears on investigation to be twofold; either that the schools occupy themselves with insignificant and unimportant studies, to the neglect of those that are more weighty, or that the pupils forget what they have learned, since most of it merely goes through their heads and does not stick there………………..

Why pursue worthless studies?  What object is there in learning subjects that are of no use to those who know them and the lack of which is not felt by those who do not know them?

Subjects too which are certain to be forgotten as time passes on and the business of life becomes more engrossing.  This short life of ours has more than enough to occupy it, even if we do not waste it on worthless studies.  Schools must therefore be organised in such a way that the scholars learn nothing but what is of value at that time.

The source of the experience

Comenius

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities

Observation contributed by: Margaret Booth