Deep and/or Wide?

Consider. Which rivers flow wider: those that cut deeply into the ground or those that ease over the surface?

 What does that say about the argument between breadth and depth in education?

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5 Responses

  1. Yes, indeed. When information fails to come to knowledge or knowledge fails to point to real knowledge (Phl. 1:9–11) it really is stagnant.

  2. Lue-Yee,

    Excellent image! Take that a little further and help me draw applications. Do you mean that in some minds information comes in but just sits there stagnant?

  3. And then there are marshes that don’t flow all that much.

  4. John, I particularly like your last sentence: As you go deep, “you necessarily go broad as well.”

    But the opposite isn’t true: as you go broad you do NOT necessarily go deep. The contemporary mis-application of the liberal arts as a broad look at a lot of subjects has embodied slothful thinking and accomplished untold pedagogical mischief.

    By mastering the seven liberal arts, you necessarily think broadly, but people don’t trust that these days. They worry about leaving gaps.

    If you want to see gaps, take a look at a field that had a shallow and broad covering of water that evaporated in the sun and left the soil exposed in the blazing heat. That’s where gaps come from. Fissures.

    Go deep, young man.

    Of course, the youthful appetite drives many a young student to breadth instead of depth as well, because it gives more of an appearance of education.

  5. Sometimes the distinction between breadth and depth is not so clear. Is biochemistry broader than biology or chemistry since it incorporates elements of both? Or is it no more broad but deeper because it has become its own specialty? Is a classical education narrow because of its emphasis on literature, or is it broad because of the variety of ideas addressed in literature? A business degree seems narrow at first, but think what the study of business entails: ethics, psychology, rhetoric, statistics, history, economics, etc. As you go deeply into anything, you necessarily go broad as well because you run into more connections between your discipline and the rest of the world.

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