Education – A Blank Czech?

One of the key things noted by the Ofsted inspectors is that the education provided at Minsthorpe Community College provides opportunities for the young people educated here – whether it be an increased chance of getting good GCSEs (thereby increasing the chances of getting a job with a future) or opening up routes to further or higher education. For us, the purpose of education is to provide better life chances for all of our students.

March 28th is the anniversary of the birthday of John Amos Comenius (28th March 1592 – 15th November 1670). He was born in Morovia in the Czech Republic and is considered to be the father of modern education. His life and achievements are marked in Slovakia and the Czech Republic in a ceremony in which students nominate their inspirational teachers for awards.

Comenius was the innovator who first introduced pictorial textbooks written in the native language of students, instead of Latin and he applied effective teaching based on the natural gradual growth from simple to more comprehensive concepts. He championed the development of logical thinking by moving from dull memorisation to active thinking. He was truly a man ahead of his time and presented and supported the idea of equal opportunity for poor children, opened doors to education for women and wanted instruction to be universal and practical. He tended to think in big pictures, and believed that much of life’s learning should be woven together, a concept he called Via Lucis, or “way of light.” He was also an advocate of continuing education, believing that learning should be a lifelong process.

If Comenius’ ideas sound highly modern, it is because they are and were not applied for centuries. It has taken the world a long time to catch up with Comenius, and there is much of value to be mined from his vast writings.

I, like all educators, salute him. I think he’d approve of what we are doing here at Minsthorpe Community College!

Ray Henshaw