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Is History a Dead Subject?


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#1 WuXiaHer0

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 11:41 AM

Most youngsters hate this subject and they often sleep in class during this lesson. To them, history is considered as "dead". Has it got anything to do with teachers? Are teachers responsible for making it tormenting? How can history play an important part in the lives of the modern people?

What do all of you think about history?

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#2 Lacrymosa

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 02:08 PM

Most youngsters hate this subject and they often sleep in class during this lesson. To them, history is considered as "dead". Has it got anything to do with teachers? Are teachers responsible for making it tormenting? How can history play an important part in the lives of the modern people?

What do all of you think about history?


I hated history class too when I was in school. I think the main problem is the way "history" is tested in the exam. I simply don't see any use of memorizing all the dates and ancient people's names, etc. To me it is much more important to know "why someone did something" than "who did what on what date". Unfortunately, the latter is what will appear in a test.

#3 JohnD

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 04:32 PM

Most youngsters hate this subject and they often sleep in class during this lesson. To them, history is considered as "dead". Has it got anything to do with teachers? Are teachers responsible for making it tormenting? How can history play an important part in the lives of the modern people?

What do all of you think about history?


I hated history until my junior year of high school. My US history teacher made it fun, and it made me love history. When you have a teacher who loves what he's teaching, and knows a lot about it, it's a lot easier to get excited about it yourself.

#4 HappyHistorian

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 05:47 PM

I was always liked history. When I was in high school, many students didn't like it because some found it boring, while others found it a useless subject and a waste of time. Many people are more driven to do vocationally relevant subjects. History is certainly not a dead subject, there are still plenty of students who willingly take history subjects at high school and university. It's very important how history is taught. If history is engaging and interesting, more students will come to appreciate the significance of history. Understanding history is very important in understanding the present. It is also significant in appreciating one's culture and the foundation of society. A clear understanding of one's roots is essential to moving forward.

Edited by HappyHistorian, 06 April 2010 - 05:48 PM.

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#5 SunFin

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 06:37 AM

History is loved in my school. When I started (7 years ago) there was an amazing team of history teachers and so it has led to many studying it at university. My year alone there are at least 8 out of 96 who are hoping to study it next year at uni...
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#6 Yizheng

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 04:32 AM

I didn't like anything much in school, half the time never even went to class, but history was less boring to me than the other stuff in school. I usually went to my history classes, but I didn't ever consider studying history at university, I thought it probably be boring there.
True, I think a lot depends on having a good teacher who likes their subject. But a lot also depends, I think, on getting across that history is not a dead subject about old stuff with no relevance to life today. More effort needs to be made to make the link between past and present. I agree that just memorising dates and names is useless. But if students see how stuff that happened in the past is reflected in their own lives and in the world today it will make history more alive and relevant and interesting.

I never really wanted to study history in any formal way, but ever since I was a little kid I loved to read about it because I always felt that link between past and present and was always curious to know why things turned out as they did in the world.

#7 Howard Fu

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 06:35 AM

I'm not a professional historian, but I've been fascinated by history for a long time, at least since my high school. History was the only course I got full score at high school. I used to mark up all the timed events in the text book and copy them to a long table by time order. I know it's incredibly geeky and time consuming, but it worked for me. I guess I just have some special passion for history. I remember the first year I was in the college. When everybody was doing calculus practice, I went to the library and borrowed a book about calculus history. Not that I recommend this way of learning calculus. I failed in my calculus class the first semester.

I agree it's important to understand 'why' and 'how'. I think when you truly understand why and how of historical events, 'when, where and who' will come into place naturally. For example the Treaty of Versailles, it marks the end of WWI. It was signed in 1919. It couldn't be signed too early because they were still fighting in 1918 and America joined the war only after 1917. It couldn't happen later either, because it sparked the May 4th movement in China and that's 1919 too. It was signed in Versailles because, the French saw the WWI victory as the revenge of the Franco-Prussian War. Keynes was present at Versailles. He quit the negotiation because he considered the punishment to Germany was too heavy. On the contrary, the French Marshal Ferdinand Foch considered the punishment too lenient and called the treaty an Armstice of twenty years. So if you know WWII started at 1939, you know WWI ended in 1919 too. I never felt history was boring. To me, history is the most interesting novel ever written, the most dramatic drama ever made. I think the key is you have to know the historical figures on a personal level. Get familiar with them like they are your classmates. Then you won't forget their names even if you want to. Google them. Watch their documentaries on the youtube. Know their wives, husbands, sons and daughters, friends and enemies. Even know their gossips. 'Do you know Keynes' gay? Forget it.'
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