History Classes Should Allow Kids to See Reality

We cannot shield children from history. In Ukraine, millions of families have lost their homes to Vladimir Putin’s war. In Delhi, record-shattering temperatures of 50C saw kids locked inside this summer, unable to study or play. Global food prices are soaring, causing children worldwide to go hungry. So, surely it is inevitable that the next generation wants to confront the big question: why are there wars? What is our place in nature? What is money, and why is it so important?

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Often, children take these questions far more seriously than grownups. They question things that adults take for granted – like the idea of private property or the inevitability of wars between different nations. But instead of encouraging this natural curiosity, we often try to shield children from the big questions. We tell them that these things are just the way they are, and nothing that nothing can be done about it.

This is a mistake. If we want to change our future, we should start by changing how we teach history to children.

What children learn about history shapes their view of the world and their place in it. To create a more peaceful, sustainable and just world, we must ensure that history education reflects these values.


One way to do this is to focus on teaching the history of social movements – like the civil rights movement or the women’s suffrage movement. These stories show that change is possible and that ordinary people can make a difference.

We also need to ensure that history education includes the stories of people who have been traditionally marginalised – like women, people of colour, and LGBTQ+ people. These stories are often left out of history books, but they’re essential for understanding our world today.

And finally, we need to teach children about the interconnectedness of our world. Too often, history is taught as a series of isolated events, but in reality, everything is connected. Climate change, economic inequality, and racism – these global problems require global solutions. By teaching children about the interconnectedness of our world, we can help them understand the challenges we face and inspire them to be part of the solution.

If we want to change our future, we must start by changing how we teach history to children. By focusing on social movements, marginalised groups, and the interconnectedness of our world, we can create a more just, peaceful, and sustainable future for all.

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