“Not to know what took place before you were born is to remain forever a child.” - Cicero
“History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.” - Abba Eban, 1970
History allows us to benefit from the combined experiences of all humanity, to learn from the mistakes of others in the past and avoid repeating them in the future. We need to understand the world in which we live. We can only know where we are going if we know who we are and where we have come from.
History has a special contribution to make in the development of critical-thinking skills. The evidence which we study in history deals with people and is much more varied and often conflicting. This helps us to learn to question and assess the evidence and to distinguish between evidence and interpretation.
History teaching at St John’s enables pupils to identify and acquire certain skills and perspectives that support and develop their interest and knowledge of the past. Our emphasis is on promoting cognitive development.
We follow a skill-based approach because the emphasis is on the development of special skills, such as analysis, selection and synthesis. This is in line with the means of assessment as drawn up by the IEB for the matriculation examination. The history results of the St John’s History department have always been exemplary.
History provides a sense of historical development and perspective for all other subjects and is therefore a valuable component of any higher education.