Comenius - Didactica Magna - Teach the Virtues
Type of spiritual experience
Comenius was a great believer in the teachers setting the example to be followed. In effect do what I say AND do what I do, which will be consistent! He had no time at all for hypocrites. Thus when it came to teaching moral values and the virtues he advocated no ‘teaching’ as such, simply an approach based on example setting and guiding, constant guiding.
One of the most interesting aspects about Comenius is his deep understanding of the role peer groups play in moulding behaviour – in both good and bad ways. In effect, he who shows the way is not necessarily an adult. In one passage from the Methodus linguarum novissima, Comenius lays stress on imitation and group games as a means of instilling the ideas of rules that protect the group, and the advantages of rules in achieving group success.
A description of the experience
The virtues are learned by constantly doing what is right ….. it is by learning that we find out what we ought to learn, and by acting that we learn to act as we should. So then, as boys easily learn to walk by walking, to talk by talking and to write by writing, in the same way we will learn obedience by obeying, abstinence by abstaining, truth by speaking the truth and constancy by being constant. But it is necessary that the child be helped by advice and example at the same time.
The source of the experience
Observation contributed by: Francis Keeble