Smashing History Class Stereotypes

A lot of times when people talk about history classes they’ve taken, they complain about only memorizing dates and battles from different wars. As a future history teacher, it’s sad to hear about that experience, when you know there is so much more to learn. I think this meme is representative of misconceptions of history classes being smashed and people realizing that there is more to history than what they had thought before.

While dates and battles are important aspects of history, they aren’t always the main focus. There are so many stories that are left out of the main conversation that could draw in those people who may be checked out. The stories of minority groups are often dominated by stories of usually white males. I remember not learning that there were female spies in the Civil War until I found diaries, while doing other research in college. A lot of the time, certain stories are left out for sake of time and the amount of information that needs to be covered. By moving away from focusing solely on memorization of dates and moving more towards teaching stories of people that students can relate to, there will be a better reception of history class in general.

3 Replies to “Smashing History Class Stereotypes”

  1. Dates and battles … ugh. People often ask me what I do. When I tell them – history teacher, they sometimes reply some thing like “Dates and battles, boring.” I answer “not in my class.”

  2. Maddy, great post. This was the biggest misconception that I had about history for quite a while. I don’t have the best memory, so this idea of history only being about memorization really turned me away from the subject. Fortunately by high school, I was learning valuable skills during my history class that have undoubtedly helped me more in so far in life than any other subject.

    1. Hi Maddy, this is a simple yet powerful and amazing post. We may here this a lot as historians, but it is because I feel like it carries a ton of meaning. There are so many approaches and examples of ways I could dive into how I connect to history being more than memorizing dates. For me in this case, I will choose to focus how the numbers can be used as way of shaping and seeing the whole story. I say this because the dates and when events happen are still vital part of history. I just believe we need to change the perspective of what we see when looking at numbers. One of the fascinating things about history for me is seeing how different events over a timeline of dates tie in and out of each other and how they build from the past and have lasting affects into the future. When I look at dates or times, I like to picture/dive into what I know was going on in the world across multiple fronts and situations and how they were all a part of the entire operation of this earth as a whole. Looking at numbers and dates in this way is more satisfying and wholesome. Thanks for sharing.

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