Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The meaning of learning history by Rintaro M

     I heard someone say, “There is no benefit from learning history.” Another one said, “Learning history is useless and valueless.” I’m majoring in Japanese history, so I was unhappy and felt a little angry when I heard these opinions. However, it is certain that a lot of people think in such a way, though not all people. Then, why should we learn history? In my opinion, learning history can give us much benefit and all people should learn history. There are two reasons for this. First, we can create our own identity by learning history. Second, learning history will help us develop essential thinking skills.

     First, as we learn our own history, we learn how the community, nation and world we live in came to be. According to Dr. Peter Sterns, “Each person’s world view is shaped by individual experiences, as well as the experiences of the group to which he or she belongs”(1998). In other words, if we don’t learn our own history and don’t know about it, our world views, sense of values and identity will not be created. Dr. Peter Sterns also says, “If we are ignorant of the contemporary and historical experiences of a variety of cultures, then we cannot hope to understand why people, communities or nations behave the way they do or make the decisions they make.”(1998) With the knowledge about our own history, we can understand our own society precisely. Through learning history, we can learn our own world views, sense of values and society, and it leads us to create our own identity.

     Second, as we learn history, our essential thinking skills will develop. Jacques Barzun, a historian, said, “The student who learns history will unconsciously develop what is the highest value of history: judgment in worldly affairs. We gather historical knowledge, not to make us cleverer the next time, but wiser for all time.”  In other words, through learning history, we can learn how to assess the validity of evidence, evaluate conflicting points of view and apply facts to making decisions, which are the skills of the real world. According to Karen Tankersley, We must develop these skills because:

“The reading process does not end with comprehension. In the adult world, people do not ask friends or colleagues to recall specific information from a book or article they have read. Instead, they ask for an opinion on a lead story, or for analysis of the latest Wall Street trend, or for an interpretation of a controversial article” (2005).

Therefore we must learn history and should develop the skills of the world because these skills, essential skills, are greatly needed in the adult world.

     To conclude, learning history has much benefit and we all should learn history. By learning history, we can get the chance of creating our own identity, developing the skills of the real world and developing the critical thinking skills, which ways of thinking are what only human beings have. Thus, learning history means learning the way of life as human beings. 

512 Words


1. Stearns, Peter. Why Study History, American Historical Association <> 1998

2. Tankersley, Karen. The Threads of Reading: Strategies for Literacy Development, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, VA, 2005


1 comment:

  1. Hi, Rintaro.
    I were interested in your essay.
    I understood importance of learning history.
    I want to learn history of Japan and others.


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