Jul 28, 2013
'. . .But Mr. S, History is booooooooring!'
I never knew why so many people thought of History as ‘boring.’ My best guess is that, with the way that most state curriculums are set up, History is just one long series of causes and effects with a bunch of names and dates tossed in. History is so much more than that, though.
History is the story of all of us. It’s the story of humanity. Tragedy, drama, comedy, war, love, friendship, hatred, lust. Everything that you experience in your life or watch on your favourite television program has already been done before.
Unfortunately, with the way that History is generally taught, teachers are not able to provide the story – just the cliff notes. When I was doing my student teaching, my Cooperating Teacher explained to me that teaching Social Studies in high school is like being the engineer on a train. You have a start point and an end point, and you have to get your class to the destination at a predetermined point (usually early or mid-May so that the students have more than enough time to review for the Final) . The students may ‘look outside the windows’ and get a broad look at the scenery, but they only get to see it as it’s whizzing by. It usually is not the teachers' fault, mind you. They're just following the curriculum and standards established by the State and Federal Education Departments.
I never believed History should be taught this way, though. I’ve always believed that History is best treated as a Sunday jaunt through the country. You drive along and when you find something interesting, you pull over and go check it out. That’s the only way to truly look at History. Without it, you may learn about the Industrial Revolution or the Silk Road and why they were important in the Big Picture, but you don’t get to explore it. Did everyone welcome the rise of factories and urban life? What about the Dutch workers who would throw their shoes into the factory machinery because they were afraid they’d lose their jobs? Take a deeper look at History, and whole new worlds open up to you.
I understand that not everyone finds the idea of charging through a handful of history books to get a clearer picture of a topic as appealing as I do, but there are a couple things students can do:
A little change in how you look at History might totally change how exciting and interesting you start to think it really is.
Resources for Social Studies Students & Teachers