Why I Learned History : An Active Engagement Of Analytical Techniques

1696 Words Dec 17th, 2015 7 Pages
When most people think of a history class they imagine sitting in a dark lecture hall taking notes off a PowerPoint presentation, memorizing a few dates and people, repeating it on the test. Truly studying history, I learned, is more than memorization of a previously told story and accepting it as true. In this class I have learned history is about actively engaging the material, picking apart the details and nuances, creating and using timelines, finding deeper meaning in the material, asking questions, then looking again and digging deeper. It is not a passive study and not about memorization as I believed at the beginning of the semester. History is about asking questions and looking for answers, not just accepting what is already there, but making original observations to generate a deeper knowledge of our past as a civilization. Before, I used to see history as a linear string of one event driving another. I now see history as multiple, complex, interconnected narratives all driving each other. I have discovered that history is an active engagement of analytical techniques to generate questions and develop answers, and not about memorization of names, dates, and battles. There is no new information to be gained from that, and while it is important to know, does not contribute actively to the betterment of knowledge about our past. Learning that history is not just a body of material you observe, but a study you engage and do, has been a major change in my view of…

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