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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 2 John Amos Comenius 1592–1670 H istory is not always kind to innovators, and it has been particularly unkind to John Amos Comenius. Given little mention in contemporary histories of education, Comenius nonetheless made major and lasting contributions that have shaped many facets and levels of contemporary education. The breadth and depth of his contribution is truly extraordinary. As Maurice Wal- ter Keatinge writes, Comenius was the man whose theories have been put into practice in every school that is conducted on rational principles, who embodies the materialistic tendencies of our “modern side” instructors, while avoiding the narrowness of their reforming zeal, who lays stress on the spiritual aspect of true education while he realises the necessity of equipping his pupils for the rude struggle with nature and with fellow-men . . . [yet] produced practically no effect upon the school organization and educational development of the following century. (1910, 98) The failure to fully appreciate Comenius’s contribution lies in circumstances unrelated to his educational achievements. Rather, it had to do with Comenius’s unfortunate boyhood acquaintance Drabik, with whom Comenius remained in contact throughout his life. As a young man, Drabik re-created himself as a seer and a prophet. Comenius was taken in by Drabik’s self-serving descriptions of forthcoming events. Naively, Comenius wrote articles in support of Drabik’s pre- dictions, which turned out to be false. When the truth came out, the public rejected not only Comenius’s writings supporting these prophecies but the whole of his huge 23 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL