So this week’s #gtchat had to do with distance learning. As always, it was a fabulous conversation – fast-paced and smart! One theme I heard repeated was that online/distance learning enabled kids to bypass what they had already learned and enable them to learn more things. Very cool.

That is, unless we are going for breadth of knowledge OVER depth of knowledge.

A lot of times, GT kids and parents express frustration over traditional learning, stating that children are being asked to relearn stuff they “already know”. While I agree that this does happen – too much, in fact – I do think we tend to look towards the acquisition of “new material” as the only answer. That is, we equate learning something new as having more value than being exposed to something we’ve already learned.

As do most of our GT kids.

We have forgotten that learning something once – reading a great book, for example – does not mean you KNOW the book. Yet, I have child after child tell me how frustrated they get when they are asked to read the same material more than once. They have negated the possibility that they can learn something more in-depth through repeated exposure.

Obviously, it is frustrating when a GT child that has mastered rote information is asked to repeatedly learn the SAME rote material as opposed to being exposed to the deeper side of things. But in our effort to ensure differentiation with our GT kids, I think there is a danger in going too far – in allowing our children to equate the only true learning as being learning something “new”.

Instead, I would love to see children being taught to look for the depth in previously learned material – to consistently ask themselves to go deeper, ask the harder questions, seek the “new” within the known. This is what true learning is all about –

This is what we need to work with our GT kids on.

Yes, distance learning affords us opportunities to go deeper in ways we have not had before. But only if we teach our children that learning doesn’t only equate to breadth….

But also to depth.

What are your thoughts??


3 thoughts on “#gtchat Thoughts: Learning – a Matter of Breadth or Depth

  1. It’s true but some GT kids will simply loose their motivation…
    I’ve always hated to read twice the same thing. Interest is lost.
    A trick could be to ask to read with a totally different point of view.
    But most of people are not able to handle multiple points of view…so are most of teachers.

    1. I think that may be a perspective that comes with time. They’re not old enough yet to be able to revisit, say, a favorite book and see into it more deeply because their skills are progressing so rapidly. What was at their level two years ago may seem “kiddie” today.

      I think it also requires some level of interdisciplinarity and basic knowledge. I can see more deeply into Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents, for instance, because I have read Maslow, Horney, and May. I know something about the Zeitgeist because I studied European history. When I originally read the book in high school, I didn’t know any of these things. I barely remember reading it at all.

  2. divine…..very good and intelligent post…..

    depth in vision comes with merging of vision of two eyes….with one eye one see only length and breadth….two dimensional learning…..depth is a third dimension as wisdom….wisdom teaching is must for future generations…..

    love all…

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