March 28 is Teacher’s Day in the Czech Republic and Slovakia commemorating the birth in 1592 of John Amos Comenius or Komensky in Czech. Komensky was orphaned at an early age and the schools he went to were harsh—he later referred to them as the slaughter-houses of the young. (The Great Didactic of Comenius)
Komensky believed that self-discipline should be the motivation for learning, rather than physically punishing those who made mistakes or forgot facts. He urged universal education, including the education of girls as well as boys and poor children as well as rich.
He introduced the idea of using books written in children’s native languages, rather than in Latin, and the idea of including pictures in books for children. He urged the development of logical thinking rather than just asking children to memorize.
Komensky traveled all over Europe talking about his progressive ideas about education. He was offered the opportunity to travel to the American colonies to head up a new university called Harvard. Unfortunately, he stayed in Europe and his home and writings were lost during the Thirty Years War.
Summarized from Every Day is Special.
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