Shodai Okuzaki
May 24, 2018 · Last update 1 yr. ago.
What kind of function should a history textbook have?
In Japan, major students learn history through a history textbook objectively. Some Japanese students memorize all of the historical incidents for entrance exams so they don't feel history is not important. However, in other countries, students use history textbooks which have them foster the spirit of their own countries. In German, students regret what Germany had done in WW2 through studying their own history. Therefore, they recognize their history deeply and correctly.
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A countries history cannot be separate from that of its neighbouring country's
0 agrees
0 disagrees
History texts books should be used to help understand why things happened, not just what happened
2 agrees
0 disagrees
A tendency toward extremism could be somewhat curbed by national pride being fostered in schools
0 agrees
1 disagrees
For children, memorising facts is not a negative thing, understanding will come later in life
0 agrees
1 disagrees
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A countries history cannot be separate from that of its neighbouring country's

The histories of separate countries are all intertwined, this was true in the ages of ancient civilisations and it is even more true of the modern technological age of globalisation. History textbooks need to take this into account and present a more accurate world view in regards to history, not an ethnocentric or regional view of events. History textbooks often focus just on the home country of the student audience, or the histories of other countries are often taught separately.

However it is unfair to expect students to get a grasp of multifaceted world events such as World War One without first trying to appreciated this humanitarian disaster from as many sides as possible. Such a fast and explosive set of events are impossible to teach from one countries perspective, and require a detailed account of the backgrounds and goals of both sides of multiple alliances on multiple fronts. Both sides should be more effectively intertwined to give students an accurate view of the history of regions, not a narrow view of their own country’s history.

Narrow views of world events often lead to close minded people, as they age students that are not exposed to certain ideas or ways of thinking will one day be closed alternative ways completely. If such a student has only been educated about their own countries history, they may be completely unengaged from this globalised world they are in, and therefore foster nationalistic, closed minded opinions as that is all that they have access to. Teaching a 'national-centric' version of history has allowed a generation to eventually forget or misunderstand disasters of history and adopt similar extremist opinions that should have been educated out of society.

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Daniel Halliday
Nov 14
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DH edited this paragraph
Narrow views of world events often lead to close minded people, as they age students that are not exposed to certain ideas or ways of thinking will one day be closed alternative ways completely. If such a student has only been educated about their own countries history, they may be completely unengaged from this globalised world they are in, and therefore foster nationalistic, closed minded opinions as that is all that they have access to. Teaching a 'national-centric' version of history has allowed a generation to eventually forget or misunderstand disasters of history and adopt similar extremist opinions that should have been educated out of society.
History texts books should be used to help understand why things happened, not just what happened

History text books should all come with the following quote from Winston Churchill: “history is written by the victors”. Not to undermine the contents of the book, but to encourage students to adopt an open, critical mind when reading history. It’s one thing to memorise history, it’s another to analyse it and draw valid conclusions, parallels and lessons from it.

Critical thinking is an area largely missing from the modern classroom in most curricula around the world. However, critical thinking aids real problem solving, something that is hugely beneficial in most occupations. Students careers, and society at large, would benefit positively from a greater number of critical, informed graduates. History text books should only be used to aid open, balanced and critical discussions on history, and not as a sort of history “bible” that cannot be questioned.

As technology in the classroom expands, the role of the textbook in classrooms will inevitably be effected. Online and technological resources may currently augment lessons and textbooks, but eventually history textbooks may be succeeded by newer forms of educational media entirely, for example podcasts and videos. With this move to online resources students will be exposed to a larger variety of information, and it is here as in life in general, where critical thinking skills will be the most important tool in handling the monumental amount of information students have access too.

Reference: globaldigitalcitizen.org/the-importance-of-teaching-critical-thinking

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Daniel Halliday
Nov 14
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DH edited this paragraph
Reference: https://globaldigitalcitizen.org/the-importance-of-teaching-critical-thinking
A tendency toward extremism could be somewhat curbed by national pride being fostered in schools

It’s important to conserve a national identity in a world of such radical and sometimes violent extremism. Students should be engaged and informed about the positive aspects of their history and culture. If we are not careful to foster this it can lead to children becoming disenfranchised with their country, community, education and life.

This can be seen for example in the number of ISIS hostage guards that were labelled "the Beatles" by the international press. This terrorist group were responsible for a range of torture and execution acts, and were born and grew up in the UK. Disenfranchisement is a feeling that can be combatted with a positive education focussed on the instilling of a certain level of national pride in students.

History textbooks should be and are already somewhat utilised in a way to accomplish this sense of national pride. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the president of the Japanese Society of History Textbook reform in 1997, with the goal of taking a more nationalistic approach to teaching history. Although the decentralisation of Japanese textbook publishing committee in the 1990’s made this less of a reality, the point still stands and should be recognised unashamedly.

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Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
Nov 14
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
History textbooks should be and are already somewhat utilised in a way to accomplish this sense of national pride. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the president of the Japanese Society of History Textbook reform in 1997, with the goal of taking a more nationalistic approach to teaching history. Although the decentralisation of Japanese textbook publishing committee in the 1990’s made this less of a reality, the point still stands and should be recognised unashamedly.
For children, memorising facts is not a negative thing, understanding will come later in life

History is too dense to expect children to come away with an appreciation of its implications. It is more important to have them memorise facts so they are at least aware of historical events. The implications should come from them thinking about these ideas over time, processing them as they become an adult and form their opinions of the world.

The more they are aware of, the less likely they will be to develop a narrow opinion. The real downside of some styles of history education is a lack of engaging lessons and the focus on one subject for too long. More money and funding should be put into teaching, with higher salaries for teachers to attract engaging talent to educate future generations. This would enable children to engage more and learn more facts to aid them in their futures as adults.

Many developments have been made in the last few decades when it comes to the neuroscience and psychology of memory and these need to be better implemented to further the scope of what children can retain from school. One such development it that of comprehensible input, which linguist Stephen Krashen first proposed in 1977 and subsequent research supported, finding that learning can be boosted by teaching on the boundaries of what is understood, mood being a big determining factor, with learning happening as an unconscious acquisition when enjoying it, rather than conscious learning.

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Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
Nov 14
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
The more they are aware of, the less likely they will be to develop a narrow opinion. The real downside of some styles of history education is a lack of engaging lessons and the focus on one subject for too long. More money and funding should be put into teaching, with higher salaries for teachers to attract engaging talent to educate future generations. This would enable children to engage more and learn more facts to aid them in their futures as adults.
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