THE CLASSROOM AND THE COMPUTER SCREEN Online Education - Page 6

between teachers and students, even the best private tutors cannot supply the competition and cooperation that students can experience within the fellowship of a cohort. Quintilian, the great Roman teacher, promoted the principle of fellowship in Quintilian education. He understood that argued for the the fellowship of a principle by cohort provides exposing the the comradery shortcomings of an needed to ward off education the dullness of delivered to one learning alone. lonely student. else flies to the opposite extreme and becomes puffed up with empty conceit; for he who has no standard of comparison by which to judge his own powers will necessarily rate them too high. Again when the fruits of his study have to be displayed to the public gaze, our recluse is blinded by the sun’s glare, and finds everything new and unfamiliar, for though he has learnt what is required to be done in public, his learning is but the theory of a hermit. 5 Quintilian understood that the fellowship of a cohort provides the comradery needed to ward off the This is the student who is cast away to dullness of learning alone. It also his own educational island; he learns motivates a student to excel by driving from his own private teacher, away him to outdo his peers, or at the very from the company of fellow students. least, by working to keep up with them. Quintilian called him “the pale student, Through fellowship with others, a the solitary and recluse,” and student also sees a lesson through the contrasted him with students eyes of other students, which provides privileged to study as part of a cohort. depth and breadth to his The practice of withdrawing a student understanding. More than that, from the presence of other students because he identifies with the “induces languor,” Quintilian warned, perspectives of the fellow students and the mind becomes mildewed like things that are left in the dark, or around him, he is moved by the praise Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria: Books I- III, trans. H. E. Butler, vol. 1, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980), I.ii.18-19. 5 6