Nord Anglia
23 February, 2024

Why is Learning History Important?

Why is Learning History Important?-The importance of History-History_26Feb
Although History is the study of the past, it truly helps us better understand ourselves and others and prepares us for the future by equipping us with knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.

Many times in my career I’ve been ask ‘what’s the point of studying History- it’s all already happened?’.

Indeed, with the current focus lying on being future-ready and with so much energy going into what our world will look like, it is easy to overlook the importance of what has already been. History is so much more than the rote-learning of dates and names. History, cut to its’ core, is a study of people, of culture, of art and literature and a study of people’s mistakes and triumphs. History is a mystery to be explored and is there to help future generations draw from a pool of knowledge and learn from the mistakes and successes of the past.

1. History as a subject helps us to understand the stories of our own ancestors and nations.
It helps us to understand where we may have come from and helps foster a sense of shared culture and community. When looking at nations, we look to their History to understand them. What makes a country a country? A shared sense of culture, a shared language, a shared History. It could be argued that we have all had shared experiences with those in the past, we will all experience birth, death and love (one could also argue that we have probably all shared other things, headaches, stomach aches, the feeling of wanting to stay in bed just that little bit longer…). It could be said that from all these connections, this humanness of us all, we can start to empathise with those in the past. We can truly begin to see us as all being linked by one sense of humanity.

2. History changes depending on the lens we look at it through.
History may have already happened, and we may already think we know ‘History’ as it stands however, History can always change. The voices and the lenses we see and learn History through have been re-evaluated and re-addressed throughout the generations. Feminist historians began to question how accurate HIS-story was in relation to HER-story. They began to uncover views that differed from the traditional view of women through different historical events. Historians of Black History in the United States began to uncover hidden figures and those intentionally excluded when they delved into the orthodox Historical viewpoints. History gives people a voice and it is important that we continue to look back with our modern perspectives and viewpoints and that we challenge the monotone voice of History, to improve our questioning and provide memory for those who have been forgotten or pushed out.

3. History as a subject is significant in all areas of school life.
How can you study countries and nation states without understanding where their borders and communities originated? Countries are man-made and have fluctuated due to territorial disputes, economic disputes and more. History helps us understand what makes a country and how this has an impact on the evolution of different Geographical regions. When studying economics, one needs to understand the context of different economies in order to be able to spot trends or patterns. History is an essential study to be able to understand the impact key events can have on a global scale.
Scientific discoveries within History have also made a huge impact on the shape of our world. Without WWI and the evolution of technological warfare, we may not have discovered the X-Ray when we did. Without the wide scale destruction of WWII, Penicillin may not have been mass-produced and mass-funded on the scale it was at that time. Many artists and writers have been inspired by their contexts and events in History. Without the Industrial Revolution, would we have been blessed with Charles Dickens and his works?

Why should we study History?
So, although History is important (and at times challenging and problematic on a number of levels), why should we study History? History is a topic we as humans can all find passion in. History enables us to follow our interests and through History we can find a story full of woven narratives for all of us curious readers to be inspired by and unravel across the ages.

However, my simple answer is; because it’s awesome!

Amy Thomson
Head of History