How do we know what we know about history? Careful accounts and discoveries have made the amount of information we know on our backgrounds larger and more finite. Historical novels, whether fictional or realistic, help us out even more by describing what life was like back then and how people dressed, acted, and behaved. Without them, we would lose the important part of history that makes us human. Historical books (and not just textbooks) teach us things that we actually wouldn’t have learned from reading a textbook. However, this post may be a little biased since my favorite genre of books is historical fiction. Historical novels can be based in fact or fiction. The fact comes from things that actually happened and the fiction is filler that the author thinks will make an entertaining story. Movies can be this way, too; when it is ‘based on a true story’, it is just that, some filler has been added to make the story flow better or look different, but most usually coincide to the actual events that happened. Take Titanic and Gone With the Wind for example: one about a tragic ship accident and the other based during the time of the American Civil War, with Sherman’s March to the sea being mentioned. However, there was most likely no one named Jack Dawson and Rose Dewitt Bukater on the Titanic, and if Scarlett O’Hara was actually real, she is a long-forgotten Southern belle. Whatever the case, historical fiction is exciting to me because I find history itself so interesting. Learning how people lived over one hundred years ago is something I find so fascinating and I totally wish the Doctor and the Tardis were real. So whenever they invent time travel, sign me up. I want to learn about these distant times authors write about and live them.
This is sort of on topic of my blog, so don’t freak out. I just have lately been seeing a lot of tweets and tumblr posts about school and how people dread it and all kinds of things along those lines. Generally, school these days is not on top of everyone’s list of priorities. Experiencing school on a personal level, I can vouch that most students, frankly, hate school. I’m one of those weird kids that enjoys school and gets weird looks when I tell people that. However, I can see more and more reasons why students have such an extreme dislike for the thing that we spend our childhood doing. One reason students say they hate school is that they aren’t learning anything, and when they do, it isn’t valuable to them in the real world. I for one, can see this. I’m in my junior year of high school, and I know I want to be a history teacher. This has made me become more observant and scrutinizing towards teachers and now I can see what these students feel. Teachers these days seem to be presenting students with the basics and then expecting them to figure out how to create something out of it on their own. This is difficult for students like me who need outlines, motivations, and organizations to excel to their student potential. For example, in one of my classes, the teacher is always having us create concept maps to connect topics and find similarities or differences. This may have worked for this teacher in school, but not for me. I spend more time worrying about how I am going to organize the concept map than worrying about what I would put on it. This doesn’t help me in my learning and I have a tough time in this class, even though it is one of my favorite subjects. In another class, the teacher just gives us worksheets with rules and guidelines and then wants us to do the homework pertaining to those. This is, in my opinion, lazy teaching. Explaining the expected material thoroughly would help me and my classmates tremendously. These are just my personal experiences with how teaching nowadays has taken a turn, and most would say for the worse. Students also feel that they don’t have time to do any of the things teachers expect from them. Lets say you get home at 3:00 and each teacher expects homework in their class will take around 1 to 2 hours. With six classes, this would take you until the late hours of the night! Students actually do need supper and a decent amount of sleep. I get up around 6:00 everyday and next term I will have to take an early bird gym class because it is required by the state, and it starts at 7:00. Logically, this is not enough time to feel well rested and ready to learn and I believe that’s why students are never up to the challenge that school brings for them everyday. It is just too much. Add being a teenager into the mix doesn’t help. What I’m trying to say is, we might need to rethink how education is done here and see how much that benefits our lives when it is done in a healthy and sustainable way. What do you think about the modern education system that we have today?