The Importance of History in School
History is the systematic study of the recent past. Events prior to the invention of written record-keeping systems are often regarded as prehistorical. “Prehistorical” is also an umbrella term involving the detailed record, study, discovery, compilation, documentation, interpretation, and teaching of these past events. This broader definition includes all of human society since the beginning of time up to the present day, inclusive of all cultures, societies, individuals, and events. A history textbook, student newspaper, or personal newspaper is a history textbook or student newspaper.
History teaches us about the past, which in turn helps us better understand ourselves and others. It also serves as a basis for policymaking. Students spend much of their time studying history. As such, it should be taught with utmost emphasis so that students come away from the classroom with the ability to critically think about current events and make informed decisions when they become citizens in the future.
The study of history helps us better understand ourselves and others. History has been called upon many times to address social problems such as racism, sexism, social injustice, and other issues faced by those in power. Historians are also asked to interpret information, usually from primary sources such as primary source documents like newspapers. Primary sources, however, are rarely if ever complete, especially in the case of newspapers, which are generally edited. Primary sources are therefore used as a supplement to more comprehensive secondary sources. The value of primary sources can be determined from how social scientists apply their findings and conclusions to their own socio-political context.
For example, some historians look to history to shed light on the ways in which women have historically been treated in society. By looking to the past, they hope to find solutions to ongoing problems in gender relations. Social scientists who study history may use primary sources like diaries and memoirs to understand the lives of ordinary people as they relate them to their everyday work, day to day living, and relationships with friends, neighbors, and family. By learning how ordinary people solved problems, historians are able to piece together a fuller picture of how history was made. Primary sources are therefore not only important for a broad understanding of history, but also in telling the personal stories of ordinary people as they form their own individual perspectives about history and its themes.
In addition to using primary sources like diaries and memoirs, social scientists make sense of history by looking to the wider perspective offered by broader sources. As we have seen above, historians draw on a wide variety of disciplines and sources to tell their stories. In addition, scholars of all disciplines to look to art, culture, literature, history, science, geography, and anthropology to add perspective to their research. All of these disciplines and more contribute to the field of history.
History also helps us become better and more educated citizens. In addition to broadening our historical knowledge, it also teaches us what’s important in our lives. Learning history helps us become aware of injustices, corruption, and other problems in our world and in our institutions of government. It also teaches us that ignoring history does us no good. History in the classroom can help students learn how to think critically, how to process and interpret information from various disciplines, how to build and manage effective teamwork, how to build and maintain effective relationships within groups, how to demonstrate respect and fairness in the workplace, and how to be diplomatic when dealing with others.