Why We Need A Holistic Approach To History

Why We Need A Holistic Approach To History

It is necessary is to reshape how we teach basic history courses.
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As a history major, I have come to understand all that is involved in this field. I believe that in many cases, we need to look at history more holistically.

I’ve come to this conclusion based on some experiences I’ve had in my various classes. In one class, I had an extremely positive experience looking at the past. It wasn’t necessarily a history class, but we looked at a combination of historical texts, art, literature, and music, looking not only at the typically studied political and social events of the day, but also the lives of individuals including women and people of color across various social classes. I felt like it was one of the most beneficial ways to study the time period. It gave me a holistic understanding, allowing me to look at the time period with greater understanding than if I had studied the traditional stories of history.

I was made aware of the problems with looking at just one thread of history, the dominant narrative. History, so often written by the victors, frequently will ignore the stories of so many people in that time. Gaining a knowledge of what life could be like for individuals who had experiences that were different from the narrative of Western white men enriched my understanding for time periods from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. It cultivated an inspiration to learn more about these lesser-heard stories. It gave me an appreciation for those who teach history with a holistic approach.

What do I mean by this? Simply that we cannot ignore the lives of those who were not in power when we study history. The dangers of doing so mean that we do not give merit to the lives of the disenfranchised, of the non-winners. And there’s so much more to learn with understanding those stories.

When I talked to my professor about including more women in his class, it was the knowledge of the women who defied the standards of their day that gave me the courage. It was thinking of those specific women from the past that gave me the courage to try to change the present and impact the future.

Many of us recognize the problems that result in only perpetuating the dominate narrative, yet we continue to discuss “other” stories by separating them into different courses.

That is not to say that specific courses on those issues are not necessary; in fact, they are more necessary in order to gain a niche understanding of those narratives.

What does happen in general history courses, however, is that a specific lecture will be devoted to considering the situation of a specific group of people, and that only furthers the distinctions of these people from the dominant narrative.

What is necessary is to reshape how we teach basic history courses by integrating those stories into the curriculum, in weaving those stories together. Because it shows that we all have something to contribute to history, that there are stories of hope and resiliency in something other than the dominant narrative, and that each life makes an impact in history, in ways we cannot fathom if we pay attention only to the dominant narrative.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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Finals Week As Told By Schmidt

Schmidt Happens
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Finals week is finally upon us. The time every college student has dreaded all semester and there is no avoiding it. Let the stress, tears, and sleepless nights commence. Here's Finals Week as Told by Schmidt.

1. When you walk into the library and see that there are no more spots available because every freshman decided to start using the library now.

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2. You run into someone from your class and they ask you how prepared you are for the final.

3. Your first meltdown begins...

4. And then you get a call from your parents asking you why you've been so on edge lately

5. When you're three coffees deep at 2AM and believe everything will be okay even though you still haven't studied.

6. The day has arrived and it's time to take your first final so you give yourself a quick pep talk.

7. When you are the first one to finish the final early because you didn't study.

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8. Trying to pack while studying.

9. And then you start wishing you didn't wait until the last minute to pack because now there is no way your stuff will fit into your car.

10. When you get your first grade back.

11. And you have to tell your parents how you did in the class.

12. When all of your roommates are done with their finals and you still have one left.

13. But then your time has finally come and you have finished your last final as well.

14. And you realize you have survived yet another hell week.

Cover Image Credit: tvmedia.ign.com

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Arizona Teachers Are Officially Walking Out, And Us Students Are Right Behind You.

Teachers aren't alone in this demand for action, and we are ready to support them by all means necessary.
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A little while ago, my teachers started wearing Red on Wednesday’s. Little did I know, that was the beginning of making history.

For the last few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of standing by my teacher’s sides every Wednesday morning to demand change. But now, it’s even more real.

When I first got word of a potential walkout, I honestly didn’t think much of it. I don’t think any student did. We all thought that a walk in would make a change happen.

On Wednesday, April 18th, an overwhelming 78% of Arizona Teachers voted yes to walking out of school until demands were met.

And now, on Thursday, April 26th, it begins.

School was canceled. No one knows what will happen. No one knows when everything will go back to normal.

But as a student, I couldn’t be more honored to be taught by so many miraculous people who are making history.

I’ve seen and heard countless reactions to the walkout from different students. Some are worried about Graduation, some are worried about AP Testing, and some really just don’t want to stay longer than the original calendar entails.

But, it’s just one year.

I don’t care if I have to stay an extra day, week, or however long is required. I don’t care if I graduate on Friday instead of Thursday. I don’t care if I don’t receive my actual diploma at my Graduation Ceremony until the missed days are made up.

It’s worth it. Little bumps in the road are nothing compared to the reward this walkout demands.

If nothing changes for teachers and schools in Arizona, then who are we to say that there will even be teachers to come in the long run?

When I was first exploring degree options, one of my first interests was Elementary Education. But that interest was short lived because I knew that the pay I would receive just wouldn’t be enough. Students like me have seen our teachers struggle for so many years, so do you really think anyone who even decides to major in Education will plan to stay in Arizona with the pay teachers receive now? No.

Not only are the teachers in Arizona walking out for themselves, but they’re walking out for the new teachers to follow who deserve better.

Us students are proud, our parents are proud, our friends and co workers are proud. Teachers are not alone. They have a strong force standing right behind them. And we will continue to stand behind them for however long it takes for things to finally change.

Cover Image Credit: Associated Press / YouTube

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