Justify the Inclusion of History in the Sdcipline- Based Secondary School Curriculum.

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JUSTIFY THE INCLUSION OF HISTORY IN THE S\DCIPLINE- BASED SECONDARY SCHOOL CURRICULUM. The presence of History in the discipline-based secondary school curriculum is to a larger extent necessary. The subject satisfies the need for identity; enhances professional thinking; demonstrates what it means to be human; improves judgment; provides instructive examples; promotes democracy; gives pleasure. To a lesser extent, though, there are a few views from the critics of the subject who feel that it does not possess sufficient value to warrant formal instruction in secondary schools. They feel that History is acceptable for the privileged few; is full of memorization and rote learning; and they argue that objectivity is unobtainable. In the overall balancing, the subject has ample uses that have managed to preserve it as a central feature of the secondary school curriculums regardless of the few issues raised by faultfinders. History is defined by Harrison (2013:01) as “the analysis and interpretation of the human past that enables us to study continuity and change over time.” This definition entails that exploration and creativity are pertinent human abilities that should be sought in order to aptly spell out how people and society changed over time. In agreement with this view, Holt (1990:57) also posits that, “History is a means to understand the past and present.” The common suggestion in the two definitions is that different interpretations of the past help people to comprehend current affairs differently and therefore try to envisage different futures. To amply discuss the place of History in secondary school curriculums, it is pertinent to define the term curriculum as well. Narrowly defined, it is the aggregate of courses of study given in a school - packaged programs to be used by teachers to direct their classrooms (Toutou 2012:35). Kerr defines it more broadly (in Kelly 1983:10) as, “All the learning which is planned and guided by the school, whether it is carried on in groups or individually, inside or outside the school. It can be noted that the former definition by Toutou implies nothing more than a syllabus or programme of study while the latter seems to include anything learnt anyhow, which is the position adopted in the ensuing discourse. The most apparent justification for History teaching is that it satisfies people’s need for identity. It is obvious everyone desires to know more about himself or herself and that is a question of identity. Identify issues are a central concern even in a person’s psychology where loss of identity results in loss of significance. Beverly Southgate (2000) argues that history - the memories of things past - is of "supreme importance" in maintaining a sense of identity. Without identity there is little meaning and purpose to life and in that regard the teaching and learning of History in secondary schools is of utmost importance. Secondly, the subject makes one a better thinker by satisfying the need for high academic standards through its strict methodologies. This is mainly pertinent to those learners wishing to be historians and history-related professionals in future where a broad grounding in specific facts and information is necessary, of which Historical methodologies such as archaeology and source-based critiques are competent in supplying. This promotes the development of general thinking skills as echoed by Hirsch, Jr. (1996:12) who says, There is a great deal of evidence, indeed a consensus in cognitive psychology, that people who are able to think independently about unfamiliar problems and who are broad-gauged problem solvers, critical thinkers, and lifelong learners are, without exception, well-informed people. This suffices to say History provides students with experience in analysing and interpreting historical information. Furay and Salevouris (2000:57) also add that careful “Historical study teaches analytical and communications skills that are highly usable in...
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