Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jan Amos Komensky, The Teacher of Nations. Czech Philosopher, Educator

Jan Amos Komensky, Komenski, Comenius
The Discoverer of Education's Secret -
Focused Teacher Interest, Readiness; Pupil Enjoyment
Meet Jan Amos Komensky, "thinker, philosopher, writer, educator." He lived in Prague during the early 17th Century, and elsewhere in exile. Is he a precursor of more modern-day Montessori teaching methods? It appears so.
Komensky was a man of many roles. He was a Protestant Czech Brethren priest, married, with children; several times, with deaths and plague taking toll.

Korun, CZ, Komensky (Comenius), Teacher
His role as an educator is shown on Czech Republic currency, the korun. We see the hand of 17th Century Jan Amos Komensky, a/k/a Comenius, in clear contact with, and lightly ready to grasp as needed, a little child's outstretched fingers, already in a safety zone. *

Komensky (also spelled Komenski) finally fled Prague and hid in Bohemia, when the strict re-catholicization ordered from Vienna reached the Czech nation. The Unity of Czech Brethren had influenced Martin Luther in Germany, Komensky had studied at Heidelburg, and Komensky went into exile.

Komensky's dominant legacy is educational:

  • a new system of schooling, "Schola ludus," or school through play; no rigidigy
  • a text for teaching Latin to children, "making it more attractive," and
  • a systematic, scholarly work for preschool work with very small children - "School for Infancy-" apparently the world's first.
  • world improvement ideas - "The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart," proposing "a regular dialogue between nations" - a concept later founding The United Nations.
  • an encyclopedia - "Orbis Pictus." It was still being used in the 19th Century. Illustrations for text.
Is he a precursor of more modern Montessori? See the Montessori overview at ://www.montessori.edu/method.html. Focus on the whole child, rather than a specific body of knowledge; let the child's interests guide his activities, the experience of learning then becoming a joy for the child. To be explored. See a start at  Joy of Equivocating, Attribution, Montessori, Komensky

Jan Amos Komensky (Komenski, Comenius) CZ, korun, teacher of nations
See all this and more at ://www.radio.cz/en/article/25962. They also offer RealAudio in streaming download. There is a small museum in his memory in Prague.

Jan. Jan.

How come we never knew ye. See ://www.ireland-information.com/irishmusic/johnnyihardlyknewye.shtml/Jan. Jan. How come we never knew ye. See ://www.ireland-information.com/irishmusic/johnnyihardlyknewye.shtml/

* Look again at the outstretched hands already meeting in top picture of the korun. Then think of the Sistine and its gap between the Creator and Adam. The Renaissance Michelangelo Buonarroti had it right - the outstretched finger of his creating God reached nothing. Did nothing. There never was any contact tip to tip. That effort was fruitless. It never made it. There is nothing about a reach in scripture. The gap, as he painted it on the ceiling of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, yearning between God and Adam, remained as it always was, and clearly no contact. Ambivalent. Does he or doesn't he?

Life took the breath, instead. The breathing in of breath from one into another. See ://www.reidsguides.com/destinations/europe/italy/lazio/rome/sights/vatican_sistine.html.

So does that explain why Adam is ever out of touch. Intentional representation? Or mistake of Michelangelo? Hardly. He knew his scriptures. Design? Joke? Michelangelo is full of those on the ceiling if people only look. Ever ambivalent.

Adam was clearly already "alive" because he is animated and holding out his hand already, and looking. The breath gave the life. The touch? Failed.

Now look at the korun. The contact is clear. meaning of the contact. It is that contact, that focus on what the needs and being ready to provide the grasp to do it, that animates the child educationally.

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