History is often concerned with past, present, and future. According to Gardner and Kleiner (2011), historians mostly prefer to study historical experiences based on their context. Such study is perceived to be important to historians, educators, learners because it offers understanding on the historical context, its characteristics and what were valued by those who existed in that context. First and foremost, contextual study of prior history offers insight about a specific culture during the context. Overall, it is hard for one to understand a particular culture from the first sight unless he/she conducts a contextual of that particular culture and when it existed. Corbey and Roebroeks (2001) suggest that prior historical context of particular culture help historians, learners, and educators to understand the specifics of the culture in question. For example, by studying the historical context of the 19th century Vietnam, the history about the country’s independence Vietnam relies on the historical Chinese and French domination in the country of Vietnamese. Basing on that context, it is easy for learners, historians, and educators to conclude that the Vietnamese culture is more of France than Chinese. This is because the Chinese left earlier than the French colonialists while the French colonized Vietnam. Gardner and Kleiner (2011) further assert that knowledge of prior history is important in learning individual county’s and the citizen’s culture which describes the characteristic of particular democracy. Knowledge of governance in Vietnamese republic is traced back to the historical context of the French influence. Therefore, one would become familiar with national, state, and local laws of the country.
Learning prior history context explains change and how the nation, community and world come to be. It also helps in understanding and appreciating the differences and diversity among different states. For example, the changes that occurred in Vietnam due to the French influence from the colonists brought transition from Chinese to French governance. In this regard, prior history reveals the colonialism difference between Chinese and French in Vietnam. Therefore, whenever an individual or a country encounters a problem, it is important to reflect the contexts of the past happenings. Historic context of Vietnam War help the country adopt changes easily in case of national calamity.
The study of prior history context fosters practical wisdom and knowledge. Though this may not permit anyone to predict what will happen in the future, the past behavior of individual, governance or socio-cultural phenomena easily tells the next cause of action particular events. Gardner and Kleiner (2011) assert that historians believe in history repeating itself. Previous historic contexts are usually used to relate to the situation in question. For example judges and magistrates in the court of law use prior history as case evidences to defend court arguments and decisions. Vietnamese economy is now booming due to fishing activities that French colonists introduced.
A prior history study is essential for good citizenship. Democracy relies on the understanding of qualities and act of good citizenship. Solution to most of the social problems in the world requires the insights that come from diverse perspective and experiences’, (Corbey and Roebroeks, 2001). Learning prior historical citizenship behavior helps learners acquire skills of democracy through training, practice and experience. The basis of understanding democracy among Vietnamese for example, is through understanding the historic influence of the colonists.
History resources vary depending on the subject of the study. The internet is a vital resource for students because of tools that record and store information for internet users. Corbey and Roebroeks (2001) supports that World History Association provide various historical information about, colonialism, economic activities, political issues and the cultural phenomenon of different parts in the world. Library is also another vital source for the learners to acquire historical documents and in formations. In library learners find various collections of books, journals and documentaries during history studies. The national archives provide detailed information about a phenomena, prominent events and individuals, governance and colonial processes. This makes a permanent source event to other researchers who write books found in most libraries. Government press is another vital resource of study. Government activities and records are stored for references to scholars and leaders.
In conclusion, history is not simply class of learners, history can teach learners about the world and its associate environment. Studying of history assists learners through change which is happening in chronological order all around the world. It also opens learners to get exposed to other cultures of the world. In addition, knowledge of history is vital for good citizenship. Sources of learning history are diverse depending on subject of study.
Corbey, R., & Roebroeks, W. (2001). Studying human origins: Disciplinary history and epistemology. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Gardner, H., & Kleiner, F. S. (2011). Gardner's art through the ages: A global history. Australia: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
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