How do we want to teach people? Do we teach to their strengths? Do we teach to their weaknesses in hopes of helping them be better balanced? Quintilian considers that dilemma, realizing that a teacher can’t do everything.
Quintilian, and J.S. Watson. Institutes of Oratory. Edited by Lee Honeycutt, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition. Book II, Chapter 8.
It is obvious to all that different students, as well as different orators, have differing strengths and weaknesses (Quintilian II.8.2). The teacher of rhetoric tries to find the student’s natural abilities so as to nurture the boy in the best way possible (Quintilian II.8.4). While Quintilian sees some value in this practice it must not be pursued too rigorously (Quintilian II.8.8) since a public speaker needs to have a variety of skills. If a student is gifted in a wide spectrum of abilities he can certainly excel. If his gifts are more narrow he will need to receive as much helpful training as possible (Quintilian II.8.14).
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