Page images
PDF
EPUB

his own language. But what he means by the understanding of the language in its whole expression is, an understanding according to each man's own condition and necessities. All must understand the common portions of the language, and, in addition to this, the apothecary must know the technical terms of medicine, the theologian those of theology, &c.*

Comenius has not remained true to this correct principle in his school books. They are crammed with esoteric and technical expressions, which are expected to serve the purposes of general education. He has collected, with inexpressible industry, a multitude of phrases in trade-Latin and market-Latin, it is difficult to say whence; and many of them are, probably of his own composition. Such Latin, Döderlein himself would never understand; and he would usually seek in vain for aid from the lexicon. Take, for instance, the chapter on baking, butchering, or cooking. In the Latin we read ; “Placentarum species sunt; similae, spirae, crustulae, lagana, liba, scriblitae, (striblitae,) teganitae, globuli, boletini, obeliae, tortae, artocreata." Comenius had good reason for adding a translation here, the kinds of cake are, wheat bread, pretzels, iron-cakes, pan-cakes, short-cakes," &c. The poor boys are to be pitied who had to study such words as lucanicae, botuli, tomatula, hillue, apexabones, tuceta, isicia, &c. And for what purpose are they to be studied ? to talk Latin to the butcher ? and if native Germans were to be addressed in classical Latin, what should they say in reply? in fact, what have been their criticisms upon

the Latin of the Janua reserata? Scatet barbarismis Janua,says Morhof, for instance. Comenius allowed that boys and even men know as little of most of the technical terms in their native language, as Cicero did of those in his. Why, therefore, does he lay upon the boys the unendurable labor of learning them all in Latin? Even if Latin were to become the universal language of all nations, of which there is not the remotest prospect, it is altogether impossible that a German butcher would be able to converse with a Turkish or Japanese butcher, in Comenian butchers' Latin.

Eventually, therefore, the Latin of one-third and, probably, of onehalf, of the Orbis Pictus, is of no use to the scholar; so that the half of the book would be of more value than the whole.

But what was it that caused Comenius to write so superfluous a * See Didacticu Magna, p, 127 ; where Comenius, agreeably to our citation from the Meth. odus Novissima, says; " Thence it follows, that the knowledge of the whole of a language is not necessary to any one ; and that if any one undertakes it, he will only make himself ridic. ulous and silly. For Cicero himself, even, did not know the whole of the Latin language; he himsell, confessed that he was ignorant of the technics of artizans; he had never sought the conversation of shoemakers, butchers, and the like, to examine their operations and to learn the names of all their works and tools. And to what end would he have learned them ?"

school book, in opposition to the principle which he himself had laid down? I think it was his view of the parallelism between things and words. A world of language corresponding to a world of things was the ideal before his mind.* And if the Orbis Pictus was to include the whole real world, the verbal explanation of the illustrations in it must be equally comprehensive.

IX. METHODUS NOVIssIMA. Twenty years after Comenius wrote the Didactica Magna, he published the Methodus Novissima, which he had written on the requisisition of Chancellor Oxenstiern. This work has not the freshness and boldness of the Didactica, but is constructed upon a more regular plan. In truth it was intended to be a plan of studies ; to contain the principles which must lie at the basis of every rational plan of study. I

In this work Comenius names, as the three chief principles of his method, the parallelisın of things and words, the uninterrupted succession of introduction, and the easy, natural, and rapid progress made by his system; the scholar being kept in continual activity.S “If the method,” he says, “could be as clearly written out as it lies in my thoughts, it would be like a well made clock, that goes on steadily, and, by its movements, marks out the hours for sleeping and for all occupations, without varying; and, if it does vary, is easily set right again. I

The mind thinks, the tongue speaks, the hand makes; hence sciences of things, and arts of working and speaking.

In God are the ideas, the original types, which he impresses upon things; things, again, impress their representations upon the senses, the senses impart them to the mind, the mind to the tongue, and the tongue to the ears of others, by a bodily intercourse; for souls, shut up in bodies, can not understand each other in a purely intellectual way.

Any language is complete, in proportion as it possesses a full nomenclature; has words for every thing; as the signification of its words are consistent; and as it is constructed after fixed grammatical

laws.**

It is a source of errors, when things are made to accommodate themselves to words, instead of words to things.ft

* Condendam suademus rerum et verborum tabulaturam quandam universaledi, in qua mundi fabrica tota et sermonis humani apparatus totus, parallele disponantur." Opp. did.

2, 53.

t Opp. did. 2, 1, &c.
1 Various extracts from the Methodus will be given in the proper place.
S Ib. 211.
1 Ib. 14,
1 [b., 24.

** Ib. 50.

[ocr errors]

The same classification prevails for words as for things; and whoever understands the relation of words among themselves, will, so much the more easily, study the analogous relations among things. *

The most complete language, says Vives, would be that in which the words express the nature of things, such as must have been the speech of Adam, in which he gave names to things. Comenius believed that there could be composed a real language, in which each word should be a definition, and which, even by its nouns, should represent the nature of the things spoken off

To know, ist to be able to represent any thing, either by the mind, or the hand, or the tongue. For all is done by such representing and imagining of the pictures of things. If, for instance, I perceive a thing by the senses, its image is impressed upon the brain ; if I represent a thing, I impress its image upon the material. But if I express in words the thing which I have thought of or represented, I impress it upon the atmosphere, and through this upon the ear, brain and mind of another. The first kind of representation is called scire, wissen; the second and third kinds are called scire, können. Thus, Comenius includes in one idea of representation, knowing, the power of representing and the art of speaking. To know is to him a mode of representing in which the individual holds himself in a receptive condition, and the mind receives impressions through the senses, like a living daguerreotype plate. Such is his process of conception. Opposed to this is a process of expression, in which the mind performs its creative operations by the arts of representation and speech.

In every thing known, continues Comenius, there are three things; which he calls Idea, Ideatum, and Ideans. Idea is the original image, (Imago archetypa,) of the object of knowledge ; Ideatum the conception, the product of the knowledge; and Ideans the producing instrument, the sense, the hand, the tongue.

To learn, is to proceed from something known, to the knowledge of something unknown; in which there are also three things, viz., the unknown, the known, and the mental effort to reach the unknown from the known. * Meth. nov., 62.

t Ib., 67, 68. * Ib., 94. This difficult passage is, in the original, “ Scire est aliquid effigiare posse ; seu mente, seu manu, seu lingua. Omnia enim fiunt effigiando, seu imaginando, h. e. imagines et simulacra rerum effingendo. Nempe cum rem sensu percipio, imprimitur imago ejus cerebro. Cum similem efficio, imprimo imaginem ejus materiae. Quando vero id quod cogito, aut efficio, lingua enuntio, imprimo ejusdem rei imaginem aëri, et per aërem alterius auri, cerebro, meuti. Primo modo imaginari dicitur Scire, Wissen : secundo, et tertio posse im. aginari, dicitur Scire, Können."

$ Ib., 86. No. 13.—[Vol. V., No. 1.)-19.

Every thing is to be learned by examples, rules and practice. Before the understanding, truth must be held up as the example ; before the will, the good; and before the forming powers, the possible; and to this must be added practice, under the government of rules. Rules should not be given before examples. Artizans understand this well. None of them would give their apprentice a lecture upon his trade, but would show him how he, the master, went about it, and then would put the tools into his hands, and show him how to do the like, and to imitate himself.* Doing can only be learned by doing, writing by writing, painting by painting.

A second pointt must not be undertaken until the first is learned ; and, with the second, the first must be repeated.

Learningt is by steps, and proceeds from the easy to the difficult; from little to much; from the simple to the compound; from the nearer to the more distant; from the regular to the anomalous.

We first proceed toward knowledge by the perception and understanding of the present, and afterward go on from the present to the absent, by the information of others.

Sight will supply the place of demonstration. It is good to use several senses in understanding one things I A thing is understood when one comprehends its inward nature as well as he does its outward nature, by his senses. To this inner conception are requisite a healthy, intellectual perception, a distinct subject, and deliberate consideration.

The attention should be fixed upon only one object at a time; and upon the whole first and the parts afterward.

By the understanding, are compared the original object and its representation. (Ideatum cum idea.)**

The memory has three offices; to receive, to retain, and to recollect.ft

The subject to be apprehended must be clear, consistent, and orderly; the faculty to be directed to it must not be too full of impressions, which are liable to confuse each other; it must be calm, directed only to one thing, and that with love, (animo affectuoso,) or reverence.

Retaining will be made easier by repetition, extracts, etc.; recollecting by means of the inner relations of things.

The youngest must be instructed in visible things; pictures impress themselves

upon
their

memory most firmly ;ff for these are suitable examples, copies, but not abstract rules. * Meth. nov., 103, 129. t Ib., 106. 1 Ib., 109. $ Ib., 113, 1 Ib., 114. TID., 116.

* Ib., 120.

If Ib., 121. # Ib., 132.

The teacher should not be intellectually too quick; or if he be, let him learn patience.* Cicero says well, that the more skillful and intellectual the teacher is, the more irritably and impatiently will he teach ; since it will annoy him to see his scholars slow in learning what he learned quickly.

The scholars who learn quickest are not always the best.
The scholar's indolence must be made up by the teacher's industry.

Beginners must keep strictly to the copy; those more advanced may go on more independently of it; beginners must work slowly, and the more advanced faster and faster.

Whoever wishes to teach rapidly, must fasten his eyes at once upon his object, and go straight toward it, without regarding collateral points; must have all his instrumentalities ready at hand; and one and the same method for all studies ; so that his scholars need not be required, at the same time, to undertake new matter and new forms.I

Learning will become easy to the scholars, if their teacher manages them in a friendly manner, and according to the dispositions of each one; if he explains to them the object of their work; not only makes them look on a lesson, but take part in the work and conversation; and is careful to have a proper variety.

To teach thoroughlyl are necessary, distinct, carefully chosen illustrations and copies, reliable rules, and persevering drill; solid founda-, tions of knowledge, a judicious continuation of it, and completeness, examining and repetition. It is of especial importance that every scholar be made himself to teach. Fortius says that he learned much from his teachers, more from his fellow scholars, and most from his own scholars. T

The school is a manufactory of humanity ; it ought to work its subjects into the right and skillful use of their reason, speech and talents for occupation; into wisdom, eloquence, readiness, and shrewd

ness.

Thus will the teacher shape these little images of God, or rather fill up the outlines of goodness, power and wisdom impressed upon them by the divine power.**

The art of teaching is no shallow affair, but one of the deepest mysteries of nature and salvation.

X. UNUM NECESSARIUM. As we have looked back upon the predecessors of Comenius, so we

t Ib., 134. 1 11., 139, &c. $ 1b., 142, &c. I Ib., 145. 9 Ib , 150. Saepe rogare; rogata tenere ; retenta docere. Hacctria discipulum faciant su. perare magistrum.

** Ib., 251

* Meth. nov.,

133

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »