Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > History Help Forum > History Teachers
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

History Teachers History Teachers Forum - Resource center for educators teaching History and Social Studies


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old June 19th, 2017, 06:39 AM   #1
Citizen
 
Joined: Jun 2017
From: Marblehead, MA
Posts: 2
Future of History Instruction


I am new to the forum forgive me if this topic has been discussed. I am on the downside of my teaching career and I can't help seeing History as a discipline being marginalized. Some schools have basically dropped History in favor of a humanities approach usually taught by an English teacher often with a minimal History background. I also notice some of my younger colleagues teach History through the lens of social justice as opposed to accuracy. Will there be such a thing as a History major in another 25 years? Can you see a time in the not to distant future that History as a core subject will no longer be emphasized?
SVenezia is offline  
Remove Ads
Old June 20th, 2017, 08:22 AM   #2

Tulius's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: May 2016
From: Portugal
Posts: 2,870

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVenezia View Post
I am new to the forum forgive me if this topic has been discussed. I am on the downside of my teaching career and I can't help seeing History as a discipline being marginalized. Some schools have basically dropped History in favor of a humanities approach usually taught by an English teacher often with a minimal History background. I also notice some of my younger colleagues teach History through the lens of social justice as opposed to accuracy. Will there be such a thing as a History major in another 25 years? Can you see a time in the not to distant future that History as a core subject will no longer be emphasized?
Interesting questions here.

I also agree that History is currently a discipline being marginalized being marginalized (at least in my country), but on wider look Human and Social Sciences are being marginalized in favour of the other Sciences.

As for this: “I also notice some of my younger colleagues teach History through the lens of social justice as opposed to accuracy.” I still didn’t feel it in Portugal, but I think that can be indirectly a consequence of the way many people today learn and re(learn) history.

Let me digress!

* Currently we can get lots of historical information in the net for free. We are flooded with information. We are invaded by it without any criteria, without any academic screening.

* Even if we just screen for Academic content, that content is usually quite outdated if is freely available (due to copyright). And if it is positive that many people interested in history find and rediscover old authors freely available, it has the downsize that after its reading sometimes they tend to thing that had read the last word about it, the state of the art, when we have some 100 years of research after that author.

* Historical fiction is currently a fashion/trend. Same can be said for Alternative history and interactive games/activities with some historical content. That brings some confusion when we have to trace the line between fantasy and reality. Besides in a interactive game you can change the past, in History you can only study, interpret and explain it.

* There is a growing lack of interest about history theory, history methodology and historiography. Those issues are generally boring, boring. I found them boring when I had to study them. Most of the people that are interested in history prefer much more its pragmatical side. But those themes are fundamental, how can we research the past, if we don’t know how? If we don’t use the correct tools? Initially, I found them boring, but more that once I felt the necessity to go back and study them again and again.

“Will there be such a thing as a History major in another 25 years? Can you see a time in the not to distant future that History as a core subject will no longer be emphasized?”

I think there will still be History majors in another 25 years, probably less than today, but the Human and Social Sciences, as well as the hard Sciences will face difficult times with the constant growing of political extremisms and religious problems.
Tulius is offline  
Old July 22nd, 2017, 08:39 AM   #3
Scholar
 
Joined: Jun 2017
From: Connecticut
Posts: 844

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVenezia View Post
I am new to the forum forgive me if this topic has been discussed. I am on the downside of my teaching career and I can't help seeing History as a discipline being marginalized. Some schools have basically dropped History in favor of a humanities approach usually taught by an English teacher often with a minimal History background. I also notice some of my younger colleagues teach History through the lens of social justice as opposed to accuracy. Will there be such a thing as a History major in another 25 years? Can you see a time in the not to distant future that History as a core subject will no longer be emphasized?
Sadly, yes. The direction history education is going deeply concerns me in many ways. The social justice issue is one of the reasons why. It appears there's a large percentage of historians in academia who are of the belief that the teaching history about leaders/major events that shaped the world etc is backwards and that we should instead focus on how people of different walks of life lived in a given time period via primary sources. As a result kids aren't being taught about many events that shaped a time period but about people's experiences. This is a total overhaul of how children learn history, they aren't being taught history as a story but how people lived instead of why they lived that way. The subject History in many schools has been replaced with "Social Studies" and that's what is, the studying of social conditions.

In terms of the whole "social justice over accuracy" part, I agree completely. The most common example of this I've seen is "well here's an exceptional individual or group of people in an extremely marginalized class, ethnicity or gender who achieved success, therefore this group wasn't as marginalized as previously thought". I'm super socially liberal and believe should strive to treat people correctly today but that doesn't mean we need to lie about what happened in the past to pretend that our moral standards always existed to some degree or another.

In college I learned about the Marx and Foucault schools of history scholarship. Marx or the old school of studying leaders and policy makers was described by several professors as "old white man's history" while Foucault's was described as "wherever there's power there's resistance" and that the actions of everyone should be studied equally. Thus there's a deep belief that the way history used to be taught isn't the correct way and that things need to be reexamined and refocused away from the main actors.

There's also the issue of children learning history mainly focusing on their home region and ignoring everything else but these issues are made worse by all of this which transforms even homecountry centric history into a social movements class.

Furthermore though, we're living in a time when the value of almost all humanities and social sciences are being devalued by society sadly. People tend to not care about knowledge for knowledge's sake anymore and college is being transformed from a place where you learn stuff into a glorified trade school where you study something you will be employed and make money in. People now measure the worth of all majors by "major=job doing what I study" and majors that were designed to help elites develop a world view aren't appreciated because college is seen as a means to an end rather than something of value in itself.

Last edited by EmperoroftheBavarians43; July 22nd, 2017 at 08:48 AM.
EmperoroftheBavarians43 is online now  
Old July 26th, 2017, 10:53 PM   #4
Archivist
 
Joined: Oct 2014
From: Texas, USA
Posts: 120

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmperoroftheBavarians43 View Post
There's also the issue of children learning history mainly focusing on their home region and ignoring everything else but these issues are made worse by all of this which transforms even homecountry centric history into a social movements class..
Ha ha...I was going to say that Texas history at least is alive and well in public school! They have a whole year of it in 7th grade, in addition to the heaping helping they get in elementary school (compared to other history). But Texas is a proud state.

But yes, in 5th and 6th history is taught in a more "humanities" fashion and, yes, by an English teacher. I have to say though that I like the idea of teaching that way (if the teacher is qualified, truely, to teach both). I think that it is more engaging to kids. The teacher who teaches history, writing, and reading has 3x the instruction time, in one block, as other teachers, so I don't think doing it this way necessary means the history looses out. And if you are going to be studying historical literature anyways (as they did when I was in school), it makes a lot of sense to coordinate the teaching of history with that. Reading Huck Fin while learning about that period of history, or reading Anne Frank while studying WWII makes a lot of sense.

I am not a professional history teacher, though. I frequent this part of the forums because I homeschool my youngest (my older two attend traditional public school). While it differs parent to parent I think there's a much larger focus on history in the homeschool community. I've gone a different route than our public school and started teaching world history chronologically starting when my son was 7. I know a lot of this may not be remembered, but I like that when we get to American history he'll have a good overview of what came before that. He's getting more history instruction than I did in school, for sure.

Last edited by ecarian; July 26th, 2017 at 10:55 PM.
ecarian is offline  
Old July 27th, 2017, 05:05 AM   #5

Wizard From Oz's Avatar
Lecturer
 
Joined: May 2013
From: Hays Kansas (ex Australian)
Posts: 396

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVenezia View Post
I am new to the forum forgive me if this topic has been discussed. I am on the downside of my teaching career and I can't help seeing History as a discipline being marginalized. Some schools have basically dropped History in favor of a humanities approach usually taught by an English teacher often with a minimal History background. I also notice some of my younger colleagues teach History through the lens of social justice as opposed to accuracy. Will there be such a thing as a History major in another 25 years? Can you see a time in the not to distant future that History as a core subject will no longer be emphasized?
History has always been under siege. As dispassionate as we would hope it to be. It is always studied and recorded through the lens of culture and times.
Wizard From Oz is offline  
Old July 27th, 2017, 05:30 AM   #6

davor's Avatar
Academician
 
Joined: Jul 2017
From: Europe
Posts: 79

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmperoroftheBavarians43 View Post
Furthermore though, we're living in a time when the value of almost all humanities and social sciences are being devalued by society sadly. People tend to not care about knowledge for knowledge's sake anymore and college is being transformed from a place where you learn stuff into a glorified trade school where you study something you will be employed and make money in. People now measure the worth of all majors by "major=job doing what I study" and majors that were designed to help elites develop a world view aren't appreciated because college is seen as a means to an end rather than something of value in itself.

This is so true. Young people today do not go to universities to study and become educated, but they go to universities just to get a degree that would enable them to get a job and make a living. On the other hand, to accommodate such new trends amongst the youth and make even more money along the way, many universities have lowered their standards of teaching and made things more simple without any further motivation by professors and other staff to pass the knowledge onto younger generations. Instead, shortcuts are being used which in term results in semi-educated people with degrees that lack knowledge and practice necessary.
davor is offline  
Old August 27th, 2017, 10:55 AM   #7

Aineias Taktikos's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Aug 2014
From: United States of America
Posts: 872

I don't see anything wrong with what is sneered at as the "social justice" approach to history. Such critiques sound uninformed as to what social history actually is, and are derisive towards new approaches to history that don't simply regurgitate the received narrative of so-called great men.
Aineias Taktikos is offline  
Old August 27th, 2017, 12:52 PM   #8
Scholar
 
Joined: Jun 2017
From: Connecticut
Posts: 844

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aineias Taktikos View Post
I don't see anything wrong with what is sneered at as the "social justice" approach to history. Such critiques sound uninformed as to what social history actually is, and are derisive towards new approaches to history that don't simply regurgitate the received narrative of so-called great men.
I am socially liberal as hell and support the "social justice approach" as a political agenda(see them as a distraction from economic issues but my positions would mainly agree with the social justice approach) but as a historical one it's quite destructive. There should be critiques of "great men". The reason we study "great men"(and women!) isn't because they were wonderful human beings, it's because they had an impact on history and drove events on the path that leads us to where we are today. By focusing on "social history" and day of the life experiences instead we are letting kids enter the world historically illiterate as this doesn't teach them "history" it gives them an understanding of how people lived at different times in history. This is not the same thing and while the former is applicable in the real world (as you know how a country was formed, where current problems and sectional disputes originate from etc) the latter has almost no practical value for most people and is worthless.

It is okay to reexamine history. What's not okay is trying to apply 20th-21st century values to the study of history. In the past only a very small amount of people in a very small group were able to drive the historical narrative, studying these people and mostly ignoring everyone else might seem regressive but wasn't inherently wrong. If one can find other people who did important contributions who have been overlooked, that's great if one bases a curriculum around oppressed, classes, races and genders and tries to impart importance on the narrative that actually isn't there though that's a problem cause you're not teaching what actually happened and that's what history is, not social movements class. Social movements in the SJW sense weren't even a thing for most of history.

Students already have a very limited amount of time to learn a very long and complex series of events, out of proportion focus on social movements and oppressed groups that didn't drive this narrative is sabotaging their already difficult education. Also if history is done this way at an academic level the outcome will be people in several centuries having a profound misunderstanding of the event's that shaped the world in previous era's and IMO that's a moral evil.
EmperoroftheBavarians43 is online now  
Old September 12th, 2017, 02:25 PM   #9
Archivist
 
Joined: Aug 2016
From: The United States
Posts: 245

There's an Economist Article that irritated me last year. In it, it is argued that because history may be abused by groups like the alt-right, it was the duty of the historian to ensure that their knowledge does not support them. Thus, the medieval era was made into a pluralistic melting pot of tolerance where women, minorities, and different nationalities defied the simple stereotype that Christendom was just for white men. The marxist historian cited in the article just so happened to teach a course of this type.

Historical revisionism in pursuit of greater justice is not history, it is political ideology.

Last edited by waywardauthor; September 12th, 2017 at 02:32 PM.
waywardauthor is offline  
Old September 21st, 2017, 03:45 PM   #10
Scholar
 
Joined: Jun 2017
From: Connecticut
Posts: 844

Quote:
Originally Posted by waywardauthor View Post
There's an Economist Article that irritated me last year. In it, it is argued that because history may be abused by groups like the alt-right, it was the duty of the historian to ensure that their knowledge does not support them. Thus, the medieval era was made into a pluralistic melting pot of tolerance where women, minorities, and different nationalities defied the simple stereotype that Christendom was just for white men. The marxist historian cited in the article just so happened to teach a course of this type.

Historical revisionism in pursuit of greater justice is not history, it is political ideology.
Ironically Marxist history is actually the kind of history teaching you support lol.

Marxist history(unrelated mostly with Marxism) is the teaching of history centered on those in power under the Marxist logic that those who control the means of production drive the historical narrative. Basically traditional history.

Foucaltian history is the concept that wherever there's power there's resistance and focuses on people who were having power exerted on them largely in the name of regional/political reasons/ideology.
EmperoroftheBavarians43 is online now  
Reply

  Historum > History Help Forum > History Teachers

Tags
future, instruction



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
History & the Future antiquarian General History 29 December 26th, 2015 04:06 AM
West Point Instruction QUESTOR War and Military History 0 January 17th, 2014 12:59 PM
OK a possible future history? Port Speculative History 1 May 5th, 2013 09:03 AM
Differentiated Instruction Comet History Teachers 9 March 19th, 2013 10:28 PM
The Future Of History Fuller Wiser General History 2 February 29th, 2008 03:28 AM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.