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How History Helps Learning

Apr 19

How History Helps Learning
 

History is an important subject in helping students develop critical thinking skills which they can apply to all areas of learning. Learning in history or social studies is conducted so that students learn about historical events, cause and effect, government systems, economic systems, cultural knowledge and a vast many other topics that tie-in to all these areas.

When students learn about history, they are being introduced to an abstract form of reflective thinking. Upon learning historical facts, questions pop into the mind about why or how things occurred and what the implications are. This sort of curiosity can be translated into other forms of reflective thinking, and enable a person to ask the same questions when studying literary texts, scientific materials or reflecting for personal reasons.

History classes also introduce students to systems of government, an important topic to develop an understanding of the different ways to create governance institutions. It allows for a range of abstract thinking about power, checks and balances, the relationship between government and individuals, and broadens ones understanding of the world’s diverse systems. As students grow, they are able to understand vastly more about how the world works by understanding differences in democracy, dictatorship and other societal controls.  It forms a type of relational thinking that is a first step in mastering conceptual knowledge.

Economics is another area in which students pick up knowledge that is relevant to their lives, also in abstract ways. By learning about economics, value, disparity and parity, students have another in-road to evaluative thinking as it relates to personal income, local and global economies. The evaluative thinking also will benefit students’ abilities to think about math on a practical level and aid in critical reading skills particularly where non-fiction is concerned. It offers an opportunity to weigh one set of values against another, an important skill in critical thought.

Social history is an area that helps many students develop a personal interest in the subject; learning about immigration, women’s history, labor movements – these topics not only provide for the knowledge base needed to become reflective thinkers, but also offers the chance to develop empathy in thought, which helps each person better understand and relate to their world. It fosters connections and the ability to think about cause and effect in historical, and personal, terms.

As students are introduced to history and social studies during their school years, they are picking up a lot more than facts. Discussing those facts is the most important way to assist a child in developing the deeper modes of thinking that naturally occur when learning history.

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