Why is history class screwed over?

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,474
Dispargum
#71
While it shouldn't be true, I think we all have to acknowledge that history classes are far too often nationalistic propaganda. Certainly that has been my experience in the US. Education is a state function, and the state wants to turn children into patriotic tax payers (and to a lesser extent voters and sometimes into soldiers). My experience of history instruction in the 1970s was all about "Hooray for America!" (I think I know where America-centric views of world history come from.) Slavery, Indian policy, Japanese internment, and other national disgraces were mentioned but very quickly glossed over. What little I'm seeing in high school level history instruction in more recent years is doing a better job of teaching mistakes that should not be repeated, but looking at the way Americans at large think about and understand the past, I think we're still not getting our money's worth out of history instruction.
 
Likes: Gvelion

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,281
Brassicaland
#72
While it shouldn't be true, I think we all have to acknowledge that history classes are far too often nationalistic propaganda. Certainly that has been my experience in the US. Education is a state function, and the state wants to turn children into patriotic tax payers (and to a lesser extent voters and sometimes into soldiers). My experience of history instruction in the 1970s was all about "Hooray for America!" (I think I know where America-centric views of world history come from.) Slavery, Indian policy, Japanese internment, and other national disgraces were mentioned but very quickly glossed over. What little I'm seeing in high school level history instruction in more recent years is doing a better job of teaching mistakes that should not be repeated, but looking at the way Americans at large think about and understand the past, I think we're still not getting our money's worth out of history instruction.
In Canada, it is official that we acknowledge our past mistakes, such as residential schools and head taxes for Chinese immigrants.
Why is teaching of history difficult?
We all want our states (for many people, this includes their current states of residence and their ancestral states) to be great; then, is this possible?
For example, if your country is relatively new and lacks a glorious history, what do you think?
 
Feb 2019
63
California
#73
Of what practical use is history? Will it make you a better engineer? A better doctor? A better accountant? Sure the subject is interesting, but is it useful in everyday life?

The other issue is it has become more controversial. Teach history to satisfy those on the left, you will anger the right. Teach history that satisfies the right, you will anger the left. By not teaching it, you don't have deal with that trouble.
To answer your questions, Yes.
 
Likes: Runa
Jul 2016
8,170
USA
#75
The best definition I ever heard for history is its a story generally agreed upon.

We live in a time where nothing is remotely agreed upon. History is never simple anymore, either its oversimplified to the point its useless, its biased, its outright propaganda, or completely fake. Kids don't even know what to believe, because the authority figures over them don't know, and are too afraid to take a stand. Whose version are they even supposed to teach? What are the kids supposed to believe? Which is the "proper" version? Should they be raised to be cynics and hate themselves for the evils their culture performed? Brainwashed into nationalism? Bombarded with dates and names as if that's what matters? What lessons are the supposed to learn? What ethics? What morality? What are they supposed to be discouraged from repeating? Encouraged to repeat? Who are the good guys? Who are the bad?

Add in that most history teachers are terrible, they teach what should be a fun class in the most excruciating way possible, where real life stories that are actually cooler than Game of Thrones are told in a manner that want to make teenagers kill themselves out of boredom.
 
Aug 2016
825
USA
#76
I'm currently in a level 300 (college junior) course called "Chinese History and Culture". Our first day, the professor admitted she had no academic background in either Chinese history or culture. She said she was running the class because she was the only person in the Chinese department. (normally she teaches Mandarin, though she comes from an area of China that doesn't use it)
 
Sep 2015
1,602
England
#79
Bart Dale said: Of what practical use is history? Will it make you a better engineer? A better doctor? A better accountant? Sure the subject is interesting, but is it useful in everyday life?

The other issue is it has become more controversial. Teach history to satisfy those on the left, you will anger the right. Teach history that satisfies the right, you will anger the left. By not teaching it, you don't have deal with that trouble.
To answer your questions, Yes.
'Teaching [history] should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, reckon with evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.'

That has got to be employable.
 
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