Jon Amos Comenius

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Who was Jon Amos Comenius?

By Rick Joyner

Jon Amos Comenius could be included on a short list of those who have had the most impact on the modern world. He is recognized as the father of modern education and the teacher of the nations. He is still considered by many to be the greatest genius to ever work in that field. His contribution to the science of learning can be traced as a primary cause for the great increase in knowledge that has been the hallmark of the past few centuries. What is not always remembered about him is that his great impact on the march of civilization was the result of his relentless passion to know the Son of God.

In 1641, Comenius was invited to England by Samuel Harlib, a friend of the renowned poet, Milton. Comenius was persuaded by them to start his Pansophic College in London. His idea of pansophia was that the wisdom of God was sovereign over all things and all things were

connected within the circle of this knowledge. He saw the Pansophic College as a place where the Christian educators could gather together from Europe and America to seek a unity of knowledge through Christ in whom “all things hold together” (Col 1:17). Comenius believed that education established on this basic knowledge of Christ as the reason for all things would bring unity to the Christian church. As Christians came into unity, they would then be able to spread the gospel to all nations, resulting in the unity of all nations and the end to war. It was this idea of taking the gospel to all nations that would fire the heart of the young Count Zinzendorf a century later and give birth to modern missions, fulfilling Comenius’ prophecy that the seed that John Hus (martyr) had spoken of would sprout in one hundred years. Like His Savior, the great Apostle Paul,

and countless believers since, Comenius died virtually alone, without being able to personally witness most of the fruit from his great labors.

The following are a few of Comenius revolutionary ideas on education:

  • He promoted a varied curriculum that included history, geography, science, music, singing, drama, civics and handiwork
  • He taught that everything in nature revealed Christ and that true science would always lead to a greater knowledge of the Creator.
  • He believed that learning was facilitated by using all of our senses to interact with our environment, advocating a curriculum that employed seeing, touching, handling, and smelling, rather than just hearing.
  • He taught that the school environment was crucial and that classrooms should be bright and cheerful, reflecting both nature and truth.
  • He taught that schools were to be “happy workshops of humanity and “an imitation of heaven”.
  • Since there were few pictures in books in the 17th century, he produced a children’s encyclopedia with pictures called Orbis Pictus, believing that a picture could take the place of many words.
  • He prescribed a considerable amount of playtime in which he encouraged the teachers to participate.
  • He taught that education was not just the acquisition of facts and knowledge but also the development of wisdom.
  • He believed that children should learn by doing and by teaching others. Sometimes the older and more advance children were required to instruct the younger
  • He advised, “Let nothing be taught which is not of the most solid utility for this life or for the next”.
  • He understood the biblical principle of reproducing leaders, urging that each school should produce its own trained teachers by apprenticeship system.
  • He was one of the first to contend for the education of women and the children of all classes of people.
  • He taught that as instruments of divine grace, teachers have a high calling. Yet he also sternly warned against professional arrogance saying, “Let your heavenly calling and the confidence of the parents who entrust their offspring to you be as fire within you.”
  • The qualities he looked for in teachers included piety, diligence,

paternal kindness respect for children, the grace to accept frequent inspection, and the enthusiasm of “a miner who trembles with excitement when he discovers a rich vein of ore”

  • He believed the two most important things to learn from were the Holy Bible and God’s creation.