A selection of quotations from Comenius:

In the foreword to a selection of basic text of Comenius on
education published in the fifties this century, Jean Piaget
wrote: The real problem is to find in Comenius' writings () not
what is comparable with modern trends, to the neglect of the
rest, but what makes the vital unity of the thinking of the great
Czech specialist in theory and practice; and to compare this with
what we know and want today. The Czech philosopher Jan Pato~ka
was reflecting in this way on the ideas of Comenius when he wrote
in 1964: If we, nowadays, realize that the mechanism of the
natural sciences also have their limitations, and that embodied
within that there is a tendency towards the equalization of all
existence and its laws, and is incorrect, then we would have a
bit more understanding for the world as seen by Comenius: as
something alive, ordered and meaningful... [Jan Pato~ka in
'Aristoteles, jeho p~edch~dci a d~dicov', Prague 1964]

The following quotations are from the modern English translation
of the 'Didactica Magna', which was first published in Latin in
1657 in Amsterdam as part of a collection of didactic works which
published under the title 'Opera Didactica Omnia'. The
translation used, stems from the series 'Classics in education',
published in 1957, edition number 33, titled 'John Amos Comenius
on Education'.

-learning from experience-
Therefore in schools let the pupils learn to write by writing,
to speak by speaking, to sing by singing... [p.12]

examples must precede rules () acting first and only afterwards
reflecting on the circumstances of the action, examples cannot
be deduced from a rule unless the rule is understood, but under-
standing of the rule derives from the retroactive organization
of examples already utilized in spontaneous practice [p.12]

-clarifying natural relationships-
Every thing should be taught thoroughly, briefly, and
pithily,that the understanding may be, as it were, unlocked by
one key, and may then unravel fresh difficulties of its own
accord. All things that are naturally connected ought to be
taught in combination [p.71]

-remembering through drama-
We remember an event better when we have seen it ourselves than
we have simple hear it narrated, and, in the same way,
instruction that is given through the medium of a drama or a
dialogue stays in the heads of the scholars far better... [p.82]

-the great theatre of the world-
'This great theatre of the world, also, God has filled with pic-
tures, statues and living emblems of His wisdom, that He may
instruct us by their means.' [p.82/83]

-in man all is potentially present-
'In man, the microcosm, everything is contained potentially.
Bring light and he will straightaway see. () It is therefore
necessary to select or write handbooks of the sciences and
languages which are small in compass and practically arranged -
cover the whole subject and contain a great deal of matter in a
short space..()' [p.85]

-explaining words through things-
'..when instruction is given in any language, even in the
mother-tongue itself, the words must be explained by reference
of the objects that they denote; and contrariwise, the scholars
must be taught to express in language whatever they see, hear,
handle or taste, so that their command of language, as it
progresses, may ever run parallel to the growth of the
understanding.' [p.86/87]

-playful learning-
'...it will be of immense use, if the amusements that are
provided to relax the strain on the minds of the scholars be of
such a kind as to lay stress at the more serious side of life,
in order that a definite impression may be made on them even in
their hours of recreation. For instance, they may be given tools,
and allowed to imitate the
different handicrafts, by playing at farming, at politics, at
being soldiers or architects, etc.' [p.89]

-the inner eye-
'Science, or the knowledge of nature, consists of an internal
perception, and needs the same essentials as the external percep-
tion, namely the eye, an object, and light. If these be given,
perception will follow. The eye of the inner perception is the
mind or the understanding, the object is all that lies within or
without our apprehension, while the light is the necessary
attention.' [p.93]

-sensorial learning-
'Everything should, as far as possible, be placed before the
senses. Everything visible should be brought before the organ of
sight, everything audible before that of hearing. Odours should
be placed before the sense of smell, and things that are tastable
and tangible before the sense of taste and of touch respectively.

...the beginning of knowledgde should consist, not in the mere
learning of the names of things, but in the actual perception of
the things themselves! It is when the thing has been grasped by
the senses that language should fulfil its function of explaining
it still further. [p.95]

-mental images-
We find, accordingly, that children can easily memorise
scriptural and secular stories from pictures. Indeed, he who has
once seen a
rhinoceros (even in a picture) or been present at a certain
occurrence, can picture the animal to himself and retain the
event in his memory with greater ease than if they had been
described to him six hundred times. [p.96]

If the objects themselves cannot be procured, representations of
them may be used. Copies or models may be constructed for
purposes... [p.97]

-everything can be visualized-
If any be uncertain if all things can be placed before the senses
in this way, even things spiritual and things absent (things in
heaven, or in hell, or beyond the sea), let him remember that all
things have been harmoniously arranged by God in such a manner
that the higher in the scale of existence can be represented by
the lower, the absent by the present, and the invisible by the
visible. This can be seen in the Macro microcosms of Robert
Fludd, in which the origin of the winds, of rain, and of thunder
is described in such a way that the reader can visualize it. Nor
is there any doubt that even greater concreteness and ease of
demonstration than here is displayed might be attained. [p.97/98]

-exciting attention-
He, therefore, who wishes to show anything to another at night
must provide light, and must polish the object so that it shines;
and in the same way a master, if he wishes to illuminate with
knowledge, a pupil shrouded in the darkness of ignorance, must
first excite his attention, that he may drink-in information with
a greedy mind. [p.98]

-understanding connections-
All parts of an object, even the smallest, and without a single
exception, must be learned with reference to their order, their
position, and their connection with one another. Nothing exists
in vain, and sometimes the strength of the larger parts depend
on that of the smallest. [p.102]

-step by step towards understanding-
The student should first learn to distinguish things and the
concepts of things by means of their genera and species; then to
classify them according to their mutual relationship (for such
links exists between all things); then to define and distribute
them; then to estimate the value of the things and their concepts
in combination, seeking out the What, the Whence, and the Why,
and whether it be necessary or
contingent. When he has had sufficient practice in this, he may
proceed to ratiocination and seek how to draw conclusions from
given premises, and finally, he may essay discursive reasoning
or the complete conduct of disputations. [p.108]