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This page was last updated on 15th November 2006 

What is the Comènius Project? 

The ‘Comenius Project’ is named after John Amos Comenius (1592-1670), Latin name for Jan Komensky, Czech educational reformer and religious leader, born in Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic), and educated at the University of Heidelberg. He was a theologian, philosopher and pedagogue who encouraged the systematic use of pictures in teaching and believed that education was the only way to achieve one’s full human potential. He also strove for human rights between nations. 
Comenius was a teacher and rector in the Moravian towns of PÅ™erov and Fulnek until the start of the Thirty Years’ War, when the army of the Holy Roman Empire drove the Moravians into exile. He settled in Leszno, Poland, and as bishop of the Moravians he helped to preserve his sect. In 1638 he was invited by Sweden to assist in educational reforms. The English government extended a similar invitation, but in 1641, shortly before the outbreak of the English Civil War, he left, moving on to Sweden, where he worked until 1648. He subsequently lived in Poland, Hungary, and the Netherlands.
Comenius is best known for his contributions to teaching techniques that, along with his principles of education, are presented in The Great Didactic (1628-1632; trans. 1896, 1931). He was the first to teach Classical languages by use of parallel passages of the ancient and modern languages; and his Visible World in Pictures (1658; trans. 1659), a book for learning Latin, is believed to be the first illustrated textbook for children.
The Visible World Pictured (Orbis Sensualium Pictus) written in 1658 by Johann Amos Comenius, is a picture book in which elements of the world are illustrated and numbered, the names of each object being then written next to the appropriate number on an adjoining page. Subjects cover most things from God to cattle and the format of the book is the continuation of a theory that Comenius proposed in an earlier text The Gates of Languages Unlocked (1631). In this, he had urged the transformation of language teaching from a system based on the rules of rhetoric to one based on description – that is, a language of things. In Orbis Sensualium Pictus (Visible World in Pictures) Comenius aimed to teach Latin by describing pictures with Latin sentences, accompanied by vernacular translations. He saw this as a preferable way of teaching than the more usual method of grammatical learning by rote. 
Comenius had ideas that were revolutionary in his time. He believed that educational methods should be based on how a child's mind works and develops. He also proposed that all young people in Europe should be taught about the culture in which they lived (which included every child learning Latin). Many of his ideas (including his method of teaching Latin, which could be applied to any language) were successful, but his dream of reforming human society through education was ultimately too ambitious and was never fulfilled.
Comenius school projects promote co-operation between European schools with the emphasis placed on promoting understanding and tolerance of other countries and cultures. Projects are funded from the Central Bureau for International Education and Training. 

Portora has forged links with schools in France, Poland and in Denmark.

This project is co-ordinated at Portora by Mrs MO McCready the Head of German and Co-ordinator of Modern Languages 

Our partner schools in this project are: 

In France      -    Collège Blaise de Vigenère near St. Pourçain sur Sioule.
In Poland      -   Gimnazjum Nr 32 in Gdansk.
In Denmark  -    Lysholme Skole in Haslev. 

To read of Gareth Laird's experience of a recent visit to Denmark click here
To read of Andrew Barton's experience of a recent visit to Denmark click here
To read a teacher's experience of a recent visit to Denmark click here

We made a return visit by our Danish and French partners
click here to read more