Teaching History Backwards

What a cool idea! I had never even thought of that. I have always thought “learn history through the things we love.” Such as learning about the past by looking into how books evolved, or the development of some of my favorite philosophies, or even the evolution of computers or games.

But, I hadn’t realized that learning through our own interests has a very high potential of creating a “backwards” unraveling of history. I suppose it could happen that something far in humanity’s past could spark an interest in starting from the beginning and working forward. I don’t know if it’s all chronological though. A love of history is nurtured by having a meaningful connection to it.

So the idea of working *backwards* in history, instead of starting from “the beginning”, is a really good idea. If we start with now, and go backwards, we can see how history is all tied to us, not some far-off story about someone else. It’s how we got to where we are today – and how it isn’t just about how the good guy always wins. It could have gone so many ways, but it didn’t. And now here we are. We are the “good” guys because we are the end result of many events that created an intricate and complicated tapestry – events where our ancestors happened to end up victorious.

I’m not usually enthusiastic of history, especially the kind that’s learned in school. But I’ve learned a lot of history through my own interests, and it’s sparked something in me that didn’t really exist before. And this idea of reverse engineering history, makes it even more appealing.

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One Response to “Teaching History Backwards”

  1. Jamie Says:

    Hmm, that is an interesting take on learning about history. It’s so “contrary” to what is usually done, that it just might be the shake up that someone needs to get them interested in the larger topic of history. Kind of like the Connections videos. We use an odd combination of chronological history and historical topics as they arise. So we are jointly reading our way through a history encyclopedia, noting how things changed and what that has meant for humans, animals, and the Earth and its natural resources, but we also pick up books about various times and places depending on what we see at the library, what we saw on television, what’s on display at the museum, etc.


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