Comenius found refuge in Leszno, becoming the local school’s headmaster. Up to then, education was available only to the elite classes, exclusively to boys. It was based on memorization and offered in Latin. Concentrating on teaching, Comenius observed students, found faults in the pedagogical approaches of the period, and formulated his own lessons accordingly. He wrote workbooks, booklets on teaching methods, and books on educational theory. He devised the idea that language lessons must relate words to things in reality. He urged teachers to use the students’ native language as well as Latin to explain the meanings of new words. His book The Gate of Languages Unlocked on the topic was published in 1631 and brought him international fame. Translated into eleven European and five Asian languages, it was the most read book in Europe, except for the Bible, at that time.
Photo: A stamp featuring John Amos Comenius, courtesy of the Comenius National Pedagogical Museum and Library, www.npmk.cz