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His other principles were similarly realistic.

upon "uniformity and harmony in all things," must have been of especial value in teaching the grammar of different languages, where the methods and even the terminology are often so diverse. Similarly, his idea that one should "learn first the thing and then its explanation," which was his way of advising that the details and exceptions be deferred until the entire outline of a subject is well in hand, would undoubtedly save a pupil from much confusion in acquiring a new language. And some of his other principles, which applied to education in general, are even more distinctly realistic. For example, he laid down the precept, "Follow the order of nature." Although his idea of 'nature' was rather hazy, and his methods often consisted in making fanciful analogies with natural phenomena, yet his injunction to make nature the guide seems to point the way to realism. Moreover, his attitude on everything by experiment and induction," which completely repudiates all authority, went even farther and quite out-Baconed Bacon. And his additional recommendation that "nothing is to be learned by rote" looked in the same direction. Finally, these realistic methods were naturally accompanied by the humane injunction of "nothing by compulsion."


His Educational Influence

pated much

cause of char


Thus Ratich not only helped shape some of the best Ratich anticimethods for teaching languages, but he also anticipated of modern many of the main principles of modern pedagogy. In although, becarrying out his ideas, however, he was uniformly unsuccessful. This was somewhat due to his charlatan method of presentation, but more because of errors in his principles, his want of training and experience as a teacher, and the impatience, jealousy, and conservatism of others. He must have been regarded by his contemporaries in general as a complete failure, whenever they contrasted his promises with his performances. Nevertheless, it is clear that he stirred up considerable thought and had a wide influence. He won a great many converts to his principles, and, through the texts and treatises written as a result of the movement he stimulated, his ideas were largely perpetuated and expanded. In the next generation came Comenius, who carried out practically all the principles of Ratich more fully, and thus, in a way, the German innovator, unpractical as he was, became a sort of spiritual ancestor to Pestalozzi, Froebel, and Herbart.

inexperience, and the op

position of

others, he

failed to principles.

carry out his



RICHTER, A. Ratichianische Studien (Pts. 9 and 12 of Neudrücke Pädagogischer Schriften).


*ADAMSON, J. W. Pioneers of Modern Education. Pp. 31-43. BARNARD, H. American Journal of Education. Vol. V, pp. 229


German Teachers and Educators. Pp. 319-346.
Educational Theories. Chap. IV.
History of Pedagogy. Pp. 121–122.
Educational Reformers. Chap. IX.



Jan Amos Komensky (1592-1671), better known by his Latinized name of Comenius, was born at Nivnitz, a village of Moravia. He was, by religious inheritance, a devoted adherent of the Protestant sect called Moravian Brethren.1 While he became bishop of the Moravians, and devoted many of his writings to religion or theological polemics, this does not concern us here, except as it affected his attitude as an educational reformer and a sense realist.

The Education and Earliest Work of Comenius

was trained

In his schooling, possibly as the result of careless Comenius guardianship of his inheritance, Comenius did not in a Latin come to the study of Latin, the all-important subject school and at in his day, until he was sixteen. This delay must,


1 The Moravian or Bohemian Church, officially known as Unitas Fratrum, is generally considered Lutheran in doctrine, but its religious descent goes back of Luther's time to the Bohemian martyr, Huss, and it has always preserved a separate organization. There are now three 'provinces' of Moravians, the German, British, and American. They number in all about thirty-five thousand members, of whom some twenty thousand are in the United States.

He then taught at Prerau and wrote his Easier Grammar.

In the Janua, the first of his remarkable

however, be regarded as most fortunate for education, as his maturity enabled him to perceive the amount of time then wasted upon grammatical complications and other absurdities in teaching languages, and was instrumental in causing him to undertake an improvement of method. After his course in the Latin school, Comenius spent a couple of years in higher education at the Lutheran College of Herborn in the duchy of Nassau,' where he went to prepare for the ministry of his denomination, and at the University of Heidelberg. Then, as he was still rather young for the cares of the pastorate, he taught for four years (1614-1618) in the school at Prerau, Moravia. Here he soon made his first attempt at simplifying the teaching of Latin by the production of a work called Grammatica Facilioris Præcepta ('Precepts of Easier Grammar). Next (1618-1621) he became pastor at Fulneck. Then, after a series of persecutions resulting from the Thirty Years' War, during which he and his fellow pastors were driven from pillar to post, he settled in 1627 at the Polish town of Leszno.2

The Janua Linguarum and Other Texts of the Series

This place became the center from which most of his great contributions to education emanated. During his

1 The University of Prague, to which Comenius would naturally have gone, was at this time in the control of the Utraquists, a Hussite sect opposed to the Moravians.

2 This town, now called Lissa, is a part of Prussia.

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