Jan Amos Comenius  

	Jan Amos Comenius lived from 1592-1670.  He was a Protestant
Bishop who reformed the educational system.  Considering his childhood
was an unfortunate one, Comenius strived to become one of the most
optimistic educators.  Not only did he come from a poor family, but his
family died from a plague in 1604.  Since that time, he studied different
languages and went to ministry.  Comenius became the most sought-after
teacher in Europe in the 17th century. 

	His works reflect that of a realist.  Comenius was the first
person to put pictures in text.  He felt it was necessary for children
to see what the world looks like with the help of pictures.  Orbis Pictus
was written in 1638 and was the first children's picture book.  The book
later led to audio-visual techniques in the classroom.  After Sweden saw
his work, they asked him to organize and manage their schools.  In 1642,
he prepared school texts for six years.  Comenius wrote a book called
Didactica Magna.  This book described a very different educational system. 
He believed that schools should be organized in stages from easy to
hardest.  He also thought teachers should be kinder to the children
instead of harsh.  Language was also important to him.  He mostly taught
Latin but he also attempted to write in other languages.  Comenius felt
that teaching in different languages was beneficial to every child wanting
to learn. 

	In later years, Comenius became very interested in the sciences. 
He started what became his pansophic views with three tasks involved: 
"The first task is for European scientists to state all goals and
knowledge in an encyclopedia.  Establishing a college to provide labs
for scientific research is the second task.  The last task is to have
access to knowledge in all fields." (The Encyclopedia of Education) 
Comenius wanted to make this learning universal and his book Consultation
of 1640 describes these pansophic views.  However, it wasn't completely
published until 1960. 

	During the 17th century, Comenius also stood up for women.  It was
believed by many that women were uncapable of learning and Comenius stated
that was "a denial of the divine will and a waste of their proven capacity
to learn." (J.A. Comenius and the Concept of Universal Education, 105)
For everyone, education should coexist with their life and go beyond the
school classroom. 

	Jan Amos Comenius wasn't a highly intelligent man.  He used simple
ideas to create an impressionable education system.  Being a realist, his
ideas about nature set the tone of his works.  Being a Bishop, his
religious beliefs were also incorporated into his teachings.  He
believed learning should be interesting, dramatic, and stimulating.  By
the 1800's, schools would hold four public performances a year to review
what the class studied.  Comenius had built a Protestant school in Poland. 
The school was named Schola Ludas and it still stood tall in 1886. 

	Before he died in 1670, he had devised seven schools, one for each
stage of life.  The first stage was "the school of becoming" and the last
stage was "the school of death." (J.A. Comenius and the Concept of
Universal Education) He also completed 150 major and 50 smaller or
uncompleted works.  J.A. Comenius reformed the teaching of language and
organized schools in a way that his ideas still exist in some schools
today. Comenius wanted universal education for everyone in the most
practical, optimistic and innovative ways possible.  In some aspects he
achieved that goal.

Works Cited

J.A. Comenius and the Concept of Universal Education.

The Encyclopedia of Education.  Vol. 2, 1971.

The World Book Encyclopedia.  Vol. 4, 1995.

Prepared by Vannessa Downey