As a junior high student, I was fortunate to have a theatrical history teacher who made every lesson a journey back in time. From the Roman Empire to World War II, he told vivid stories of presidents, generals, inventors, and explorers along with a host of not-so-famous people simply trying to make a living.
From the teacher’s captivating insights “behind the text of the history book,” I learned both the triumphant and tragic sides of humanity. My teacher’s lessons offered more than a window to the past. It helped me understand the world beyond my life of family, friends, and immediate community.
History shows how social, political, and economic actions of the past influence current news from around the world, far beyond our comfort zone. Studying history gives profound examples of how decisions by individuals hundreds of years ago still affect millions of people decades later. Records of both good and bad decisions give students in all grades models to shape their decision-making and worldview.
History also provides students role models of character, wisdom, bravery, and good leadership. Reading about significant figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who represents courage and integrity in the face of daunting challenges, illustrates a positive role model for students to look up to in their lives.
Scholars point out that the study of history fosters analytical thinking by causing students to dig deep into historical content to identify specific information for building a sound argument or making an accurate comparison between the past and present. This strengthens abilities to examine, organize, and explain factual information. These skills are essential in other academic subjects, as well as career pursuits.
Contributed by Doug Fleischli
Image courtesy of What Answered