Three types of people baffle me. People who say they don’t have time to read, people who don’t like magic, and people who say they find history boring. 1. Always prioritise reading over housework, 2. Magic is literally the impossible made possible, and 3. How can the story of the world and everything in it be boring? Answer, it can’t!
Of course, the way we’re taught history can be boring…
Remember back to primary school, when you started learning about dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are, in my mind, one of the coolest things ever (add to list of people who baffle me: people who don’t like dinosaurs). Learning about dinosaurs was thrilling. Engaging. Dare I say it after my previous rant? FUN!
What was it about learning about dinosaurs that was so awesome? What was it about History in primary school that was so engaging? This is something worth thinking about if you, like me, specialise in History in high school. Because, undoubtedly, as engaging as History is in primary school, it loses its shine for many of us in high school.
For me, who definitely falls into the ‘constructivist’ group of educators, it’s because once students get into high school we tend to deliver History as if it’s a set of hard facts, to be accepted, memorised, and regurgitated. It’s a set of dates, names, and events. (Uhg, dates. I am terrible at remembering dates).
How is it that we can manage to reduce a story filled with exploration, adventure, love, lust, betrayal, cruelty, bravery, truly the greatest story of all time, to a series of dry as dust dates and names?
History is vitally important. It connects us to who we were, and who we want to be, as a species. It reminds us that we have accomplished great things, and that we’ve committed grave crimes – crimes that should never be repeated.
When I create History resources for students, I try to remember the story that I’m immersing them in, a story that they’re a continuing part of, and I invite you to do the same.
Do you teach History, or are you (gasp) a History hater? I’d love to chat in the comments.