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Is it just important to study history or to know our history?

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tashtaq | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 8, 2010 at 11:49 PM via web

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Is it just important to study history or to know our history?

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted May 9, 2010 at 12:10 AM (Answer #2)

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I am some what confused by your question. We study history to gain knowledge history. I do not see studying and knowing history as alternative choices. Studying history is a means of gaining knowledge history.

Is it that studying history is meant as more detailed and thorough study of the subject while "knowing our history" refers to just some rudimentary knowledge of some historical facts more closely related with the past of a person. If so, then definitely everyone need not become an expert in the field of history, but definitely more you know, better it is.

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aspergerdoc | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 9, 2010 at 3:40 AM (Answer #3)

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We study History to learn from our past and to hopefully give us clues so that we don't repeat our mistakes.  "Our" history, I assume means the history of the country we live in.  Indeed, we need to know our history, so that we can understand where we are in time and how we can relate to the rest of the world

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 9, 2010 at 4:22 AM (Answer #4)

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I'm going to take a more extreme position here and say that as citizens of any country, it is important to know our history.  In the same way it is important for people to know their family histories, we can do our own country the same respect it deserves by considering its history as important as we consider family history.  Also, in the same way that knowledge of family history allows us insight into our mental and physical health, as well as the relational and behavioral connections we may have to those who came before us, knowing our country's history can provide us with similar connections - perhaps not as individuals, but as a society.

I suppose several people never take the time to know their own family history and it is likely that many more do not think it is important to know the history of a nation.  How tragic.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 9, 2010 at 5:33 AM (Answer #5)

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This is always how I start out a new term with my history classes.  I ask them why (or if) it is worthwhile to study history.

Of course, it is not vital to know the history of the world or even of your own country.  You can get through your life perfectly well if you do not know your country's history.  Ignorance of history will not likely keep you from getting a job (other than that of history teacher).

What I tell students is that there are a couple of benefits:

  • Knowing history can make you a better citizen of a democracy.  It gives you insight into what works and what does not.  It helps you understand which things are problems and which are not.
  • Studying history can also help you with your reasoning skills.  This is something that is truly important.  If you cannot think, you cannot hold a really good job.  History (along with other subjects) forces you to think if it is taught properly.
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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 9, 2010 at 5:38 AM (Answer #6)

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If the implication of the question is that studying history is only for an external end and knowing it is more internal, I would say that knowing it is more important.  Yet, I have to confess that this reflects my own bias towards the discipline.  I think that there will be a variety of answers to this question and they will be based off of individual perception and experience.  Certainly, there is a value in "knowing" anything and everything.  The reality might be that individuals have to make choices on what it is they "love to learn" or what it is that "has to be learned."  In this light, there might be the different to "know" something as opposed to "study" it.  In the end, one can only hope that what is studied is known and loved.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 9, 2010 at 2:05 PM (Answer #7)

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Both.  What has happened in modern history is testimony to the importance of studying and acquiring knowledge of history, the history of the world as well as one's own country.  For, there are repetitive mistakes that are made by every great nation, mistakes that reduce these great nations to less, or completely destroy them.

When percentages and statistics reveal that people vote as they have for a presidential candidate who is better looking, or for the one who utters the popular buzzword, or for the one that will best serve the voter's purpose and not what is best for all, it must become a rhetorical question when someone asks, "What does past history have to do with anything now?" 

It is, indeed, important in countries where the populace can vote for people to be educated in history.  In so many countries where news media or even leaders put slants on events and people, even recreating history at times, if someone knows little about his/her own country, how can she/he vote wisely?    

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted May 9, 2010 at 2:08 PM (Answer #8)

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I would have to say that by studying history you are in turn learning and knowing your history.

I think that people can live perfectly normal lives if they are in the dark about history. However, I do think that it is important to know your own history for several reasons. First of all, it makes you appreciate what you have and living here in the United States that is freedom. Thousands upon thousands of people have died fighting for this country and I believe it is very important to know that. We should also be appreciative of that. I personally feel that we do celebrate the sacrifices that men and women have made to the extent that we should. Secondly, it puts things into perspective. By knowing history, you are able to understand why we are the way we are.

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linalarocca | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 11, 2010 at 4:37 AM (Answer #9)

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I agree with both post #2 and post #8. I am hoping that by studying history we will all gain knowledge of history.However, perhaps you mean that we are all creating history by being alive and experiencing this lovely planet?! If we are designing our history, we will definitely know it first hand. To "know" our history, however, is to be able to connect to what is happening today.

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tashtaq | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 11, 2010 at 7:54 AM (Answer #9)

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I am somewhat confused by your question. We study history to gain knowledge history. I do not see studying and knowing history as alternative choices. Studying history is a means of gaining knowledge history.

Is it that studying history is meant as more detailed and thorough study of the subject while "knowing our history" refers to just some rudimentary knowledge of some historical facts more closely related with the past of a person. If so, then definitely everyone need not become an expert in the field of history, but definitely the more you know, the better it is.

what i meant by the question was that is it important just to study history i.e. history is taught in school and some kids just study history because they are supposed to. and by knowing our history what i meant was that we should know what our history is not realy knowing each and evrything thing but atleast knowing somethin. usually kids who study history at school usually forget most of it but knowing it is when you learn it not just for the sake of passing an emam etc.

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nusratfarah | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted May 13, 2010 at 12:35 PM (Answer #10)

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I think that by studying history you meant learning History for mere academic purposes (for instance, for exam purposes). if that is so, then, I'd say that, knowing history is more important than just studying it. But, in addition to knowing, one can study the subject.

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giorgiana1976 | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted May 16, 2010 at 10:43 PM (Answer #11)

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One thing is to know something(to find out about something) and other thing is to study "the findings".

Anyway, it is a process which implies 2 steps:

  • to know about history;
  • to study what you have just found out about it.

In my view, both steps are as well important, when it concerns history. To gain the self-consciousness and the consciousness of the present we live, we must know about the past and to study it, for a better understanding of the reality.

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saffia | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted April 22, 2011 at 3:50 AM (Answer #12)

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It depends on what you want to do in life but your question is really confusing and badly worded so I dont really know what you mean.

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saraadel | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted April 22, 2011 at 6:03 AM (Answer #13)

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History is evry nation's background it is about the development of thinking learning and social behaviors. History is a very board word because each branch has it's own history. So maybe we should have the common knowledge about what is important about our country and the world leading countries to be abel to take them as a role model.

and since the last second in our lifes becomes a history we should cope with the latest developments of our branches.

Always remember that history is but a big lesson that we should learn from so as not to commit the same mistakes.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 18, 2011 at 10:23 AM (Answer #10)

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I see. I do think it's important to study history in order to know it. You definitely need to know history. Your question implies that when you study you don't remember, so I guess we need to change the way we study and teach history. Then we might remember it better.

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