John Amos Comenius 1592-1670
Moravian bishop, throughout his life he tried to improve the ways students were taught.
His first success was a beginning Latin textbook, Janua Linguarum Reserata ("The Gate of Languages Unlocked"), published in 1631. He produced the first children's picture book, Orbis Pictus The World Illustrated, published in 1658. Both these books became best sellers, translated into every major European language and used by beginning learners for over a hundred years.
Comenius's most important work was written between 1628 and 1632, first in Czech and then in Latin: the Didactica Magna, usually called in English The Great Didactic. Perhaps a more meaningful translation would be The Whole Art of Teaching. It explored how people learn and how they should be taught from infancy through the university and beyond. Published in 1649, it was a radical work for its time. In an age when people believed that human beings were born naturally evil and that goodness and knowledge had to be beaten into them, Comenius believed that they were born with a natural craving for knowledge and goodness, and that schools beat it out of them.
The invention of childhood
John Amos Comenius
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