Undoubtedly one of the most recurring questions is why do we study history. Especially now, we have easy access to countless information on the Internet. If this doubt has ever crossed your mind, do not worry. It is good that you question the usefulness of things so you can spend your time in the best possible way.
Why do we study History?
Here are some of the best answers to the question of why we study history, which any history teacher will ever face in their classes:
Reason 1: We can learn how things were in the past
Have you ever discovered what life was like before computers existed? When did your people begin to inhabit? What happened before going to school was mandatory by law? What would you be doing now if you lived in the past? Why do we celebrate Carnival or Holy Week? Why do we have castles, walls or large stones placed vertically?
Reason 2: It makes us better-informed people
Studying history, we will begin to understand the historical references that appear everywhere, from a Hollywood movie to a chapter of The Simpsons. Do you sound some of these images? The Simpsons are full of historical references.
Reason 3: We will know more about what happens in the world
Why there is now a refugee crisis in Syria. Where does it come from? Why North Korea is the most hermetic country in the world. Why Cuba has been blocked internationally by the United States for half a century. Why the Spaniards and the French do not get along very well (and not only in sports). And many and so on. Studying history will help us understand some of the whys of the present. Syrians are emigrating in the current context of the crisis of Syrian refugees.
Studying history will help us understand and remember that the current problem of the Syrian refugee crisis. For example, it is not new that Europeans already had to emigrate en masse to other places, fleeing the crisis (crack of 29) of the war (Spanish Civil War or World War II) or for political reasons (Cold War).
Reason 4: Put into practice the skills we need for other subjects
How to write answers and detailed wording, make good arguments and use different sources to build our own work. The advantages of studying history will be noticed in subjects such as Language and Literature, Natural Sciences, Philosophy.
Reason 5: It allows us to learn to think
The reason I like the most and that I consider a little more important than the previous ones. Studying history enables us to ask questions and draw conclusions from available clues. We will be able to judge, as far as possible, the decisions that others made in the past and that affected thousands or millions of people. Think about what could happen in cases where the present is presented as some moments of the past. Because the past is a mill wheel that always comes back.
Nowadays, it seems that the humanities subjects are increasingly cornered. Perhaps the mistake lies in what we all think is the fact of studying history. This subject is not intended to turn students into great Trivial players, or parrots that learn by repetition and forget even faster. My particular struggle as a history teacher is that my students do not memorize. This subject does not serve to store knowledge as if we were a USB stick. As we have already seen, studying history is of paramount importance! Without history, we would create young people without past and critical thinking.
What is the ultimate reason for studying history?
Develop in students a critical spirit. It is the ability to have an opinion about historical events or processes and to defend your ideas. With an original idea in the head, nobody can coerce you, manipulate you, or handle you like puppets. And only then will you be free. Because the ultimate goal of education is to create free people, never forget it.