Importance of History Education

History is a society's collective memory.
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You have probably heard many famous sayings about the past, but have you really thought about their meaning? Is it true that without your past you have no future? Is learning about the past really that important?

It is clear why elementary schools need to teach math, reading, science and art. It is also clear why one would want to pursue a university degree in computer science, math, medicine, law, physics, microbiology, nursing or dentistry. All of these allow you to either get a job, learn about how the world works or learn a valuable skill.

But what is the importance of history of education? Why worry about the past? Why learn about something that is long gone? After all, should you try and live in the moment instead of dwelling in the past? Should teachers try and encourage kids to be as practical as possible to survive in the changing but always competitive world?

A culture’s fast-paced way of life certainly does not encourage investing into anything that is not immediately rewarding or will not guarantee a great financial gain in the near future, but there are numerous reasons to invest in history education.

1 Importance of History of Education

What are the values of history of education, and what is the role of history of education in schools? There are different types of subjects one can study in school. For example, world history is the history of the entire world from its beginning. It might begin with the histories of ancient civilizations such as Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt, or even earlier, with the history of evolution and pre-human species.

U.S. History is the history of the United States, starting from the first contact with Native American tribes, colonization, the Civil War and so on. There are also local and personal histories which include the history of your town or the history of your family.

Learning about the history of society and civilization helps students better understand how the world works today and how it got to where it is today. Learning about the history of your people helps foster a sense of belonging and identity so important to humans.

By learning about the past people remember not to repeat history’s mistakes. For instance, learning about great disasters such as World War II and the events leading to it makes people aware of their devastating effects and helps avoid similar situations in the future. In other words, the role of role of history education in shaping an individual’s sense of belonging.

2 Why Get a Degree in History

Although history education in elementary and secondary school is absolutely essential, there are numerous reasons to continue studying history later and even get a degree in history.

A degree in history will give you numerous advantages. Not only will you learn more in depth about the world's past and gain a better understanding of how it works today, but you will also gain transferable skills such as the ability to prioritize and analyze information.

It will teach you critical thinking, and make you a more culturally aware individual. Finally, there are numerous options for interdisciplinary study involving history. You can combine it with other subjects and study.

Tanya Mozias Slavin is a former academic and language teacher. She writes about education and linguistic technology, and has published articles in the Washington Post, Fast Company, CBC and other places. Find her at