Seixas’ articulation of why we should teach history was very enlightening. Being a student of history, I of course have long-know its study is important, but it was more of an innate sense of value rather than an easily digestible list, such as Seixas has provided.
He outlines a number of benefits to teaching history (and thus developing an historical consciousness), including that:
- history helps to shed light on present realities;
- history helps shape our sense of identity;
- judging past actions can explain indebtedness of some groups to others based on past injustices;
- history can serve as a benchmark for determining if our present realities are getting better or worse;
- and an historical consciousness can help us to think critically about what stories about the past we should believe, and what stories about the past we should tell.
I would urge history-lovers to keep this list handy (as I plan to do), for the next time someone scoffs at the study of our past as an irrelevant.