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Threefold life. Seeds of learning, virtue, piety.

we indebted to him who first boldly set about the task, and devoted to it years of patient labour.

§ 20. Comenius has left voluminous Latin writings. Professor Laurie gives us the titles of the books connected with education, and they are in number forty-two: so there must be much repetition and indeed retractation; for Comenius. was always learning, and one of his last books was Ventilabrum Sapientiæ, sive sapienter sua retractandi Ars-i.e., "Wisdom's Winnowing-machine, or the Art of wisely withdrawing one's own assertions." We owe much to Professor Laurie, who has served as a ventilabrum and left us a succinct and clear account of the Reformer's teaching. I have read little of the writings of Comenius except the German translation of the "Great Didactic," from which the following is taken.

21. We live, says Comenius, a threefold life-a vegetative, an animal, and an intellectual or spiritual. Of these, the first is perfect in the womb, the last in heaven. He is happy who comes with healthy body into the world, much more he who goes with healthy spirit out of it. According to the heavenly idea, man should (1) know all things; (2) should be master of all things, and of himself; (3) should refer everything to God. So that within us Nature has implanted the seeds of (1) learning, (2) virtue, and (3) piety. To bring these seeds to maturity is the object of education. All men require education, and God has made children unfit for other employments that they may have leisure to learn.

$ 22. But schools have failed, and instead of keeping to the true object of education, and teaching the foundations, relations, and intentions of all the most important things, they have neglected even the mother tongue, and confined the teaching to Latin; and yet that has been so badly

Omnia sponte fluant. Analogies.

taught, and so much time has been wasted over granimar rules and dictionaries, that from ten to twenty years are spent in acquiring as much knowledge of Latin as is speedily acquired of any modern tongue.

§ 23. The cause of this want of success is that the system does not follow Nature. Everything natural goes smoothly and easily. There must therefore be no pressure. Learning should come to children as swimming to fish, flying to birds, running to animals. As Aristotle says, the desire of knowledge is implanted in man: and the mind grows as the body does-by taking proper nourishment, not by being stretched on the rack.

§ 24. If we would ascertain how teaching and learning are to have good results, we must look to the known processes of Nature and Art. A man sows seed, and it comes up he knows not how, but in sowing it he must attend to the requirements of Nature. Let us then look to Nature to find out how knowledge takes root in young minds. We find that Nature waits for the fit time. Then, too, she has prepared the material before she gives it form. In our teaching we constantly run counter to these principles of hers. We give instruction before the young minds are ready to receive it. We give the form before the material. Words are taught before the things to which they refer. When a foreign tongue is to be taught, we commonly give the form, i.e., the grammatical rules, before we give the material, i.e., the language, to which the rules apply. We should begin with an author, or properly prepared translation-book, and abstract rules should never come before the examples.

§ 25. Again, Nature begins each of her works with its inmost part. Moreover, the crude form comes first, then

Analogies of growth.

the elaboration of the parts. The architect, acting on this principle, first makes a rough plan or model, and then by degrees designs the details; last of all he attends to the ornamentation. In teaching, then, let the inmost part, i.e., the understanding of the subject, come first; then let the thing understood be used to exercise the memory, the speech, and the hands; and let every language, science, and art be taught first in its rudimentary outline; then more completely with examples and rules; finally, with exceptions and anomalies. Instead of this, some teachers are foolish enough to require beginners to get up all the anomalies in Latin Grammar, and the dialects in Greek.

§ 26. Again, as Nature does nothing per saltum, nor halts when she has begun, the whole course of studies should be arranged in strict order, so that the earlier studies prepare the way for the later. Every year, every month, every day and hour even, should have its task marked out beforehand, and the plan should be rigidly carried out. Much loss is occasioned by absence of boys from school, and by changes in the instruction. Iron that might be wrought with one heating should not be allowed. to get cold, and be heated over and over again.

§ 27. Nature protects her work from injurious influences, so boys should be kept from injurious companionships and books.

§ 28. In a chapter devoted to the principles of easy teaching, Comenius lays down, among rules similar to the foregoing, that children will learn if they are taught only what they have a desire to learn, with due regard to their age and the method of instruction, and especially when everything is first taught by means of the senses. On this point Comenius laid great stress, and he was the first who

Senses. Foster desire of knowledge.


did so. Education should proceed, he said, in the following order: first, educate the senses, then the memory, then the intellect; last of all the critical faculty. This is the order of Nature. The child first perceives through the "Nihil est in intellectu quod non prius fuerit in sensu. Everything in the intellect must have come through the senses." These perceptions are stored in the memory, and called up by the imagination.* By comparing one with another, the understanding forms general ideas, and at length the judgment decides between the false and the true. By keeping to this order, Comenius believed it would be possible to make learning entirely pleasant to the pupils, however young. Here Comenius went even further than the Jesuits. They wished to make learning pleasant, but despaired of doing this except by external influences, emulation and the like. Comenius did not neglect external means to make the road to learning agreeable. Like the Jesuits, he would have short school-hours, and would make great use of praise and blame, but he did not depend, as they did almost exclusively, on emulation. He would have the desire of learning fostered in every possible way-by parents, by teachers, by school buildings and apparatus, by the subjects themselves, by the method of teaching them, and lastly, by the public authorities. (1) The parents must praise learning and learned men, must show children beautiful books, &c., must treat the teachers with great respect. (2) The teacher must be kind and fatherly, he must distribute praise and reward, and must always, where it is possible, give the children something to look at. (3) The school buildings must be light, airy, and cheerful, and

Compare Mulcaster, supra, p. 94.

No punishments. Words and things together.

well furnished with apparatus, as pictures, maps, models, collections of specimens. (4) The subjects taught must not be too hard for the learner's comprehension, and the more entertaining parts of them must be especially dwelt upon. (5) The method must be natural, and everything that is not essential to the subject or is beyond the pupil must be omitted. Fables and allegories should be introduced, and enigmas given for the pupils to guess. (6) The authorities must appoint public examinations and reward merit.

§ 29. Nature helps herself in various ways, so the pupils should have every assistance given them. especially be made clear what the pupils are to learn, and how they should learn it.

§ 30. The pupils should be punished for offences against morals only. If they do not learn, the fault is with the teacher.

§ 31. One of Comenius's most distinctive principles was that there should no longer be "infelix divortium rerum et verborum, the wretched divorce of words from things" (the phrase, I think, is Campanella's), but that knowledge of things and words should go together. This, together with his desire of submitting everything to the pupil's senses, would have introduced a great change into the course of instruction, which was then, as it has for the most part continued, purely literary. We should learn, says Co nenius, as much as possible, not from books, but from the great book of Nature, from heaven and earth, from oaks and beeches.

§ 32. When languages are to be learnt, he would have them taught separately. Till the pupil is from eight to ten years old, he should be instructed only in the mother

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