Thursday, March 26, 2015

On History Education

I am a big fan of Dan Carlin's "Hardcore History" podcast, which is (partially) available on iTunes. I recently re-listened to the "Wrath of the Khans", which provides an amazing overview of the rise and fall of the Mongol empire.

He wrote a short-piece for edutopia on how he would restructure history curriculum at the K-12 level. Here's is the key message:
Were I anointed History Czar, I would ditch the curricula entirely. These things are holdovers from another era of history instruction. My goal would be to get kids to love the study of the past by connecting to their affinities. Into music? It's got a history. Motorcycles? Fashion? Entertainment? Sports? Getting them to explore the history of a subject they already love is a great way to teach historical knowledge and how the current reality came to be. In the 21st century, this is the greatest practical value the study of the past provides.
As somebody whose interest in history increased rapidly, after I stopped learning it formally, I do see considerable value in this proposition.

Here is a reddit AMA that he participated in.

NB: It should be pointed out that Dan Carlin's standing among professional historians is mixed.

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