Is Modern History Worth Teaching?


A stack of various books of history.

Denis Mardesich, A&E Editor

Modern history is the study of the modern era. In this way, current events are no stranger to history, but they are a stranger to your typical history class. Should they be?

By definition, modern history starts at the end of the middle ages, and goes all the way up to right now. That means that any important events that have happened recently could go down as a historical event, an event that could be taught in a history classroom.

If it might seem like teaching students about these events is useless, it actually shows positive results. For example, history and social studies teachers that have implemented current events into their daily lessons have found positive results, with students demonstrating a better understanding of modern culture as a whole.

This shows us that the implementation of modern events into a social studies and or histories classroom makes students better social studies students, given that social studies is the study of human cultures and societies. Meaning that students who are educated in current events become both better students and better people, people that have more respect for cultures and other aspects of their world.

As for the negatives, there aren’t very many at all, one worry a teacher might have is the lessons taking away time from their curriculum, however even just the smallest bit of teaching about an event in the modern world will help students become more educated while not taking anymore time out of working on actual parts of your curriculum.

Considering this, one might expect that these lessons might show positive effects on teacher as well, making them more used to checking the news and in turn, just like their students, they’d become more cultured on modern events.

This means that everyone would be positively affected by both learning and teaching more about current events and modern news. Not only would this give students a better understanding of modern history, but it would also be good for everyone part of the process.

To conclude, there is no doubt that the history of the past is very important, and should be learned about. However integrating more current events into your typical history classroom is something that can make us more educated on events that matter equally to most of the events that are learned about in a traditional history classroom, and given that we live in a world that is changing so constantly, learning about said change will be very beneficial to most people. Which is exactly why modern history is worth learning.