The report made many recommendations: it judged the government’s aim of marketising higher education to be unsuitable to the nature of the sector; called for the reinstatement of means-tested loans and grants; and proposed that high interest rates on current student loans be reduced. The negative response would be that history can’t carry this kind of value, not any more: far more valuable, surely, to study a STEM subject (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Everything you ever wanted to know about... Study history: Tips from an admissions tutor, So, you want to study history? The data suggest that many pupils have very vague ideas about the purposes of school history. It seems a little far-fetched to maintain that the survival of Britain as a healthy democracy depends on there being plenty of historians around, but I can understand the thinking that leads to such an assertion being made. History is unique among the liberal arts in its emphasis on historical perspective and context. It seemed almost too good to be true. Study history: How looking at the past can equip you for the future. This is something that is important and valued. History involves relationships: past to present, action to action. Yet one of the most influential thinkers of the past few years, Yuval Noah Harari – who operates on a truly global scale, with his books Sapiens and Homo Deus translated into nearly 50 languages – is a historian. Regardless of what period or place a historian specialises in, all historians and students of history have to think about how the society they are studying functions. Studying history is important to provide people with a sense of the past. The Benefits Because we are human, and humans are creatures of habit, history often repeats itself. Yet most historians would feel very uncomfortable thinking in this way. Despite this, though, some newspaper articles did focus on history, seizing on juicy quotations from one of the report’s ‘informal feedback’ sessions. I even had time to think about some nice things. You will shortly receive a receipt for your purchase via email. Very soon I was spending several hours every day enjoying going over my favourite 'stories' from the History I had studied for most of my life. Most notice- ably, they never quite managed to identify exactly what it was they were attempting to achieve. The data suggest that many pupils have very vague ideas about the purposes of school history. Historians aren’t just people who analyse sources; we have to think about the phenomenon of society itself, in all its varieties, and communicate what we think about it. His intonation carried the message that if he had been a gambling man he would put his money on me not making it. what is their purpose now? In 1916 he stated sweepingly: 'History is bunk'. It seemed that, at the time, the person driving the car had been in a very emotional state having just had an explosive row with his wife. From time to time I found myself reflecting on how lucky I was to have chosen a subject in which qualifications could be gained largely by learning interesting 'stories' and by making up my own mind about issues such as why things had happened, what had been the importance of certain events, and how significant the roles of various individuals had been. Studying events in history provide a clear picture of past participants experiences and behaviors, so that we take what others have done and build upon it. is a standard way of tackling a question in History. What makes a trained historian one of the world’s most-read voices on the relationship between the past, present and future? The hospital ward in which I found myself contained just four beds. Where I knew relatively little about the events concerned I merely took pleasure from recounting what I remembered, in the same way as you would with a work of fiction. Please enter your number below. There are so many pressures and worries about the present and future planning, why bother caring about history? Then, in each case, I tried to work out how they might have acted had they once been students of History. In that speech I focused on our needs as Americans. For a long time I have been aware that, for me, there have been two great benefits gained from studying History. It was not that they wouldn't have been able to understand me. When the doctor told us (my wife and myself) that this was the situation we were not in the least surprised as it was what we had expected. If you subscribe to BBC History Magazine Print or Digital Editions then you can unlock 10 years’ worth of archived history material fully searchable by Topic, Location, Period and Person. Its study helps create good businesspeople, professionals, and political leaders. I tried to imagine what would have been said had the conversation taken place which my family around my bed. The negative response would be that history can’t carry this kind of value, not any more: far more valuable, surely, to study a STEM subject (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Over the years I have gotten into trouble more than a few times for things I have written or said in public, but I suppose the chief cause of my notoriety is a speech I gave to the freshmen of Yale College suggesting that they would be wise to make the study of Western civilization the center of their pursuit of a liberal education. This means not just reading, looking at or listening to a source – whether a newspaper report, a medieval charter, an interview or a 16thcentury woodcut – but questioning it. The Emperor Augustus, back in the first century AD, proclaimed himself to be the son of a god and had an autobiography written to tell the world how great he was – a piece of political publicity so successful we’re still reading it today. History Is Useful in the World of Work. In other words, we would have been at pains to look at the situation from his point of view. Learning about past mistakes of our ancestors, along with examples of the losses those mistakes can cause, gives us a stern warning as to why we should not repeat them. So, why study them now ? Historians try and understand how things happen and what their consequences were. History offers so many and varied (the multiplicity or … 'What would it look like from here, what would it look like from there?' I could see that the two were closely linked but I couldn't decide whether the very apparent even- handedness of British historians was part of the national characteristic or was a totally separate phenomenon. Dr Alice Taylor is a reader in medieval history at King’s College London, This article was first published in the October 2018 edition of BBC History Magazine, Save a huge 50% off a subscription to your favourite history magazine. Unfortunately, because my voice was virtually non-existent for a long time, I was unable to communicate with them. Recently, the journalist and academic John Naughton wondered whether a history or philosophy background might have helped Mark Zuckerberg foresee and thus prevent Facebook data being used to influence elections and world politics. It is a mistake to think that the way a history degree is conducted and assessed isn’t changing equally rapidly: we teach different kinds of history, hear different voices, and write new narratives of the past which challenge past orthodoxies. First, Christian history instructs us, replacing our ignorance with truth. The paper considers the implications of these ideas for history teachers and teacher educators. 2. Many people think that history just consist of stories of events that have passed. History isn’t just a collection of famous names and … I soon realised that the three men had become noticeably institutionalised. What’s more, the knowledge acquired through the study of history is relevant in a wide range of disciplines and can lead to diverse employment opportunities. 3. There would have been thoughts exchanged about what the car driver might have been feeling and, in all probability, there would have been a consideration of how we could get the outcome we wanted while causing our neighbour as little distress as possible. It helps us for learning the mistakes of past. The study of history has been an important part of humanity's collective memory and experience since ancient times. Psychologists tell us that good health is often dependent on feeling good about what we do. Thanks! © Copyright 2021 History Today Ltd. Company no. Top tips from a graduate, “Studying history is the ultimate passport to the future”, Medieval universities and an unlikely friendship, Editor’s pick: Ian Kershaw on postwar Europe, Saving food, saving lives: rationing in the Second World War, Admiral Lord Nelson: 10 days that created a legend, 10 tips to choosing a history degree course, Study History: Tips from an admissions tutor. Like most people who have not spent time trying to work out the exact meaning of a piece of evidence (something all historians do), they had little time for subtleties of meaning or for those who consider them to be important. And my days were no longer made up of long sleeps from which I woke in a cold sweat. In a world where fake news can influence elections, the methods of the historian – what history degrees train their students to acquire – are needed more than ever before. But what did throw us a little was the tone of his voice. History, however, is the study of the past. People live in the present. History helps us understand our own identities. For a week I concentrated all my energies on this. and how they can be beneficial for us except entertaining us with some interesting stories. Studying history teaches students the skill sets that they will need in almost any major or job. They were aged between 75 and 90, were long-term 'stayers', and were most pleasant people. Before long I found myself speculating on the links between historians' reasonableness and the much-vaunted British sense of fair play. Studying church history is like opening a photo album and exploring your family heritage. Think about that. Otherwise, you will end up going round and round in circles and finish up getting nowhere in particular.' Here, Senior Lecturer in History, Dr Tony Joel, from Deakin University’s School of Humanities and … It Instructs. But where the topic was one l: had studied in depth I could enjoy the added dimensions of thinking about how historians had reached very different conclusions about what had happened and why, and how these differences often reflected the values and attitudes of the period in which the author had been writing. We live in a rapidly changing world. These skills can be used throughout life. The number of explicit professional jobs for historians is considerable, but most people who study history do not become professional historians. Who wrote it, designed it, wanted it? You have successfully linked your account! Worries about the economic value of arts and humanities degrees seem to be increasing; certainly, they do not appear to be a high funding priority. If we want to know how and why our world is the way it … I'm fairly certain my fellow patients would have argued against this, based on what was happening to them. Though the study of history and in learning about the past, people are better able to understand how the present came to be. For a long time I have been aware that, for me, there have been two great benefits gained from studying History. Life would be very straightforward if issues were considered from only one point of view. I could almost hear the cries of 'Rubbish' that would have greeted any such assertion. Community History – To document a community history by understanding the families that founded and influenced the community. The official website for BBC History Magazine, BBC History Revealed and BBC World Histories Magazine, Save 50% on a BBC History Magazine or BBC History Revealed subscription, Dr Alice Taylor explains how looking at the past can equip you for the future…. Balance. Reading through our history I saw the pendulum always swinging from one extreme to the other. Normally this line of thinking ended with me drifting off to sleep with a sense of general well being. But I regarded the comment as one of praise, rather than of criticism as was intended. Comments like these devalue and mask those vital sectors of our economy and society which are either staffed by history and humanities graduates, or are dependent on a broader social and cultural interest in the past continuing. What is its value in a world where new technologies dominate our professional and social lives, and an ability to code is seen as having the same high status and capacity for social advancement as the ability to read once did? As a result, they normally ended up either making no decision at all or choosing a course of action which was likely to move them forwards very little. So we gritted our teeth and set about deciding bow we would fight the battle. This allows people to understand how cultural, social and societal values developed differently. Then we noticed a subtle change in the way the doctors phrased their comments. Historians of all periods are no strangers to how rulers and ruling classes legitimate their decisions through the use of the most up-to-date communication methods. This led them to conclude that I was probably brain-damaged as well as unable to move'. Instead the concept has been completely forgotten about, at this same time Germany has been on the move. History also teaches us how to learn from the mistakes of others. By entering your details, you are agreeing to HistoryExtra terms and conditions and privacy policy. One thing that my studies of Church history revealed is how quick we are to over-correct. The study of history is the study of humanity, and it reveals truths about the … The study of history gives a proper perspective to our correct appreciation of the present, because the present has grown out of the past. It was as if he had suddenly been turned into the enemy. I guessed that the annoyance and the determination to make the neighbour pay for the damage would have been the same, but was sure there would have been an additional dimension to the discussion. Although I was lying flat and couldn't see what was happening, I could hear everything that went on. Scholars say that teaching history to kids has many important benefits. They plan for and worry about the future. Drawing on data from 1740 pupil questionnaires and 160 pupils in focus-group interviews, the study aimed to gain insight into British pupils' ideas about why they study history at school. Studying abroad helps you build invaluable relationships with people from … But why study history at university level? For a fortnight recently I lay paralysed from the neck downwards in a hospital bed not knowing whether I would live or die. 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