The historically weird school year of 2020-21, with its closings, openings, online teaching, and masked crusaders is over and done with. Hopefully teachers are taking a well-deserved break before thinking too hard about the next school year.
We chose this pause between show times to bring back the Future-Focused History Blog from its pandemic hiatus. “Hello” old friends, and “Welcome” to the new folks who signed up to join us during the interregnum.
At this time, I would like to propose a significant modification to our terminology.
As you are likely aware, general principles of history constitute a central component of our conception of future-focused history teaching. However, it has become clear that many academic historians will remain reluctant to accept the idea that general principles can be derived from the subject matter of history. This is important because these are the people who teach history teachers.
Consequently, I have begun to emphasizean alternative term: recurring dynamics of history. No one can reasonably doubt that recurring dynamics of history exist. To do so would be to deny that deadly epidemics, discrimination against minority groups, and failed foreign invasions have occurred repeatedly over the course of human history.
More on this later, but for now, enjoy your summer. -Mike Maxwell
Only a subtle revolution, perhaps, when looking at everyday classroom activity, but a radical revolution in terms of the intended purpose and outcome of that activity: knowledge useful in the future.
The Future-Focused History blog opened for business a week ago, and so far 33 people have signed up to follow the blog. If you received notice of this post, you are among the chosen few. We’re all newcomers here, and I am most pleased to be in your company.
I assume that most people who subscribed to this blog have some connection with history education, and many are probably practicing history teachers who are either busy preparing for the new school year or have already started to teach their new classes. You folks don’t need to add anything more to your plates just now, so I propose to leave you alone until September, and reconnect when things have settled down.
In the meantime, you might let your history colleagues know about the concept of Future-Focused History—and that you have signed up to follow the blog. If they show some interest, you could direct them to futurefocusedhistory.blog for more information.
I will use this time to explore ways to advance the goal of Future-Focused History education. I plan to share with you what I learned when we get back together in September. Revolutions have been known to begin with a small group of dedicated people. Thirty-three of us might be more than enough.
Pull up a chair, take a deep breath, and contemplate the future of history education. Will it have a clear and worthwhile purpose that people can understand, value, and support? Will it be useful to people’s lives? Will it still be around 25 years from now? If these are the kinds of questions that interest you, you’ve come to the right place.
Future-Focused History is the commonsense idea that knowledge from the past can inform judgment in the future, an idea that goes back at least twenty-four centuries to the time of Thucydides in Greece and Sun Tzu in China.
Future-Focused History education calls on history teachers to take charge of history schooling and restore the power of historical learning.
To learn more, to follow this blog, or to join the cause, see the the menu at left—on smart phones the three bars at the top of the page. (Click on the small arrows to expand the menu.) Your comments and contributions are welcome here.