Tuesday 22 October 2019

Helen Weston: 'It's proudly unique and it fascinates students - we must learn all its lessons'

'If we were to abolish history as a core subject, we would be losing the opportunity for young and enthusiastic students to immerse themselves in the compelling history of this country and others.' Photo: PA
'If we were to abolish history as a core subject, we would be losing the opportunity for young and enthusiastic students to immerse themselves in the compelling history of this country and others.' Photo: PA

Helen Weston

As a nation, it is important for us to reflect. History gives us the opportunity to educate ourselves about the mistakes of the past, understand change and how the society we live in came to be, and celebrate the victories of the people who came before us.

History is all around us and can be applied to every part of our lives. The past causes the present, and so informs the future.

From the beginning of our study of history as young children, we have been taught important lessons that have given us context to understand ourselves and others.

History at a primary-school level teaches children moral principles and ethical responsibility through Irish myths and legends such as 'The Children of Lir' and 'The Salmon of Knowledge'.

History at a post-primary level shows us skills such as social responsibility, problem-solving skills and applying the value of accrued knowledge to real-world settings.

In my study of Junior Cycle History, I was given the opportunity of learning how people such as archaeologists work, and learning new topics of Irish and world history.

I took a particular interest in the Troubles and the Civil War. I also practised my problem-solving skills.

The skills and lessons I learned in Junior Cert History have also benefited me in other areas of my schoolwork and will continue to benefit me in my senior cycle of school.

Ireland's history is proudly unique, and fascinates students and historians alike.

Junior Cycle students study aspects of Ireland's social and political history such as the Great Famine and 1916 Easter Rising, and students are given the opportunity to study many different aspects of world history.

If we were to abolish history as a core subject, we would be losing the opportunity for young and enthusiastic students to immerse themselves in the compelling history of this country and others.

It is crucial to learn the stories of our ancestors, so that we will not be compelled to repeat their mistakes.

Helen Weston is a Transition Year student at Donabate Community College, Dublin

Irish Independent

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