Tag Archives: KeyIdeaIdentification

Luther, Comenius, and Ellis

Luther, in his “Letter in Behalf of Christian Schools” has a key idea which he expresses as follows:

In the same measure that the Gospel is dear to us, should we zealously cherish the languages [i.e. Greek and Latin].

By which I believe he means we should cherish in our education the liberal arts.  He begins his missive by reiterating some of the key ideas of this course, namely that education is the key to producing citizens in a just society, which he puts thusly

But the highest welfare, safety, and power of a city consists in able, learned, wise, upright, cultivated citizens, who can secure, preserve, and utilize every treasure and advantage.

That’s, of course, just another restatement of key ideas we have already covered in this course, but his formulation is interesting that the goal is about preserving and utilizing treasure and advantage.

[To read a copy of Luther’s letter with notes and commentary try: Painter, F. V. N. (1889) Luther on education:  including a historical introduction, and a translation of the reformers two most important educational treatises. Philadelphia, PA:  Lutheran Publication Society. PDF]

Now in Comenius, since he is also coming from a definite Judeo-Christian point of view, we would expect him to also have to put education into its correct priority relative to the pursuit of ultimate knowledge, i.e. religion.  I think his key idea is expressed in the opening sentences of the last chapter of his Didactic (i.e. his “Universal Method”).


Namely, his key idea is that good schools be built after his model, so that the “Christian kingdoms” would be blessed, i.e. have the best quality of life.  It all comes down to that for him, and although his recommendations are not research-based, they deserve a closer look!

[Note:  one topic for further investigation might be the effects reformers had on education. They were primarily reformers in the realm of religion, but their impacts on education should not be ignored.]

[Incidentally you can download a fully digital copy of the Great Didactic PDF here)

Finally a key idea in Ellis, we may have already mentioned in this course, but it bears some repeating.  Namely that you have a personal philosophy (idealism, realism, neo-thomism, experimentalism/pragmatism or existentialism) which impacts your educational philosophy and:

An educational philosophy is not just an abstract discipline to be studied and debated at the highest levels of academia. Rather it is a foundation, a life plan a system of beliefs that we use daily. To work effectively with children and youth in the schools, a teacher must develop a philosophy in order to help students sort out what they believe.

When I try to imagine which philosophy most explains my own view of education, I have to choose from the following shools of educational philosophy:

  • Traditional
    • Perennialism
    • Essentialism
  • Contemporary
    • Progressivism
    • Reconstructivism
    • Existentialism

Stay tuned here, I’m still working on this!  I envision a few blog posts wherein I will discuss not which philosophy I am, but which philosophies I am not, that should be interesting.

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