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Greek Education Learning System

Autor:   •  March 23, 2019  •  Essay  •  1,382 Words (6 Pages)  •  41 Views

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Authority

“The value of a school should be in the meeting of students. The art school should be the life- centre of a city. Ideas should radiate from it. I can see such a school as a vital power; stimulating without and within. Everyone would know of its existence, would feel its hand in all affairs…

Such a school can only develop through the will of the students. Some such things happened in Greece. It only lasted for a short time, but long enough to stock the world with beauty and knowledge which remain fresh to this day.

                -Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

In this quotation, the author, Robert Henri makes the assertion that “the value in school should be in the meeting of students,” as this is the source from which knowledge and creativity flows.  He advocates that the school should be in the hub from which ideas “radiate” to the broader world, stimulating learning and ideals that influence the affairs of society outside the school walls. Henri argues that a school modeled “through the will of the students” can have great impact, similar to that achieved by the schools in Ancient Greece, whose ideas and philosophies are still the foundation of many social structures and educational philosophies today.

Throughout this course, a common theme has been presented in many of the works we have read. This theme argues that authority is counteractive to learning. This theme suggests that teachings are often accepted by students as “overarching truths,” simply because an authority figure has presented them as fact. During our reading of Cicero, we discussed the argument that “the authority of those who set out to teach is often an impediment for those who wish to learn.”(73)  In this essay, I would like to focus on Henri’s claims about how a school should be structured, focusing primarily on the first sentence of his quote, “the value of school should be in the meeting of students.” I will discuss how this concept for organizing education and learning is supported by Cicero's claims about teachers, as well as Montaigne’s ideas about the roles of tutors.

In The Nature of the Gods, Cicero makes the claim that a teacher's authority can be an obstacle to learning. He claims that when a teacher is discussing ideas with a student, the student “ceases to use their own judgment and regards as gospel whatever is put forth by their chosen teacher.” (73) In this statement Cicero implies then that students need another educated source in which to obtain knowledge that does not hold authority on the subject. Henri would argue that this source is other students. In entering an intellectual discussion with other students, educated and well-formed opinions can be considered without allowing the authority of the speaker to influence the conclusion each student reaches. Cicero's words echo this sentiment. He asserts that one’s opinions on a topic “should not be centered on the weight of the authority, but on the weight of the argument.” (73) So, if we can agree that a school is a place where students can gain the skills and knowledge to deduce and articulate what they believe, then Cicero and Henri are arguing the same thing. Both believe that the only way to effectively learn and form educated opinions is through discourse with one’s peers, not teachers. In a classroom setting, those peers are the other students around you, making the “meeting of other students” through intellectual debate the most valuable learning tool a school can provide.  These discussions are the source of ideas that can radiate to the community.

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