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30 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET | Giants in the Nursery he was not opposed to the teaching of Latin. I have included Comenius among the philosophers because of the sweeping scope of his conception of pedagogy and his contributions to the institution of education as a whole. But he might equally have held his own place among the second group of practitioners in this book. His focus on methodology and his many innovations with respect to both teaching methods and curriculum rival those of Pestalozzi, Froebel, Montessori, and Steiner. Philosophical Work Comenius’s most overarching work was The Great Didactic. Will S. Monroe describes the encyclopedic scope and aims of the work: Not only should education be common to all classes of society, but the subjects of instruction should be common to the whole range of knowledge. Comenius holds that it is the business of educators to take strong and vigorous measures that no man in his journey through life may encounter anything so unknown to him that he will be unable to pass sound judgment upon it and turn it to its proper use without serious error. . . . But even Comenius recognized the futility of thoroughness in a wide range of instruction, and he expresses willingness to be satisfied if men know the principles, the causes, and the uses of all things in existence. It is a general culture—something about a great many things—that he demands. (1900, 88–89) Indeed, Comenius agreed with Plato that “if properly educated, man is the gentlest and most divine of created beings; but if left uneducated or subjected to a false training, he is the most intractable thing in the world” (Monroe 1900, 86). Considering the exponential growth of knowledge and technology over the past four centuries, Comenius’s vision of pansophic education—that individuals could be taught all that there is to know—seems impossible today. Indeed, today it is rare for an individual to know all there is to know within his or her own discipline or profession. But it was not this way at the time of Comenius’s writing. The induc- tive, experimental sciences introduced by Bacon were in only their infancy, the New World was only in the process of being discovered, and the modest range of arts and mechanical skills could all be covered. Comenius looked to nature as a guide for both his teaching methods and for the organization of the curriculum. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL