Why Critical Thinking in History is Important.

The underpinnings of SSI’s history curriculum, which emphasize content-based learning, do not have any pedagogical value. In fact, history teachers are obligated, by national standard, to provide students with the mere foundational knowledge of history, leaving the deeper realms of the course unexplored. Not only does this cause students to develop an ill-founded prejudice against history, but it also inhibits their critical thinking skills.   

The prevailing notion about history class, for most students, is that it is boring or intimidating because it requires students to memorize an overwhelming amount of contents. Although this may be partially true, the educational method of content-based learning has led students to disregard the fact that history is also expansive. That is to say, if students take a more holistic approach towards learning history, they would become more intimately involved in learning it. Hence, they would understand how fascinating the interconnectedness of history is and regard it as not-boring.

SSI should also make it an academic imperative to emphasize critical thinking in history classes because it would enable students to be objective in their study of history. This is crucial especially when we are living in a world where education is innately political. For instance, in 2014, College Board’s APUSH curriculum received extreme public backlash for propagandizing a “white” narrative– they downplayed racism and underrepresented BIPOC history. The idea is simply that by practicing critical thinking skills, SSI students will be able to identify the biases of history curriculums, such as those of APUSH. In other words, critical thinking in history will allow students to observe the present using a new, critical lens.

by. Tae Yeon Han