Whenever I reflect back on how humanities subjects have been given a missed in the primary schools in Singapore, there is always a sense of angst experienced in me. In my opinion, humanities subjects should be taught at the youngest possible age. The underlying assumption for why the humanities subjects are not taught from a young age is that our children cannot grasp the complicated knowledge and concepts of these humanities subjects. What an utter load of rubbish!
Humanities subjects like history, geography, social studies and literature tells us our story, our world, our societies and our literary culture. Unless you happen to be an alien from another planet, chances are you will be living and interacting with others through these four critical aspects or the other. Hence, learning and studying these humanities subjects is crucial and starting young is not a problem, because by nature, our kids are explorers. They will want to know our history, our world, our people and culture.
However, for students who view humanities subjects as a torn in their L1R5 list, here are 5 reasons to become more acquainted in the subjects. When you are able to better relate to these humanities subjects, you will have a better chance to do well. At Gummy Humanities, it is our core business to nurture this love for the humanities subjects in the long run while we are actively raising your grades too.
Five Reasons to Love Your Humanities Subjects
1. Activate your Sense of Wonder
Whether you study history, geography, social studies or literature, your sense of wonder in these humanities subjects need to be turned on. The secret to activating our sense of wonder in these subjects is to vividly imagine ourselves in the environment we are studying, the past we are studying or the issues we are facing in society. Learning about the Vietnam War can be difficult. The names of Vietnamese people are hard to remember, the region is a complex series of terrain, and the reasons for the war is weaved in dense political web of ideology, personality and historical chaos. Under such circumstances, if you do not imagine yourself vividly in Vietnam during one of those crucial moments in the history of the war, it is very easy for you to get lost, become demoralized and lose interest in the subject.
Does it mean that you have to visit all the war zones and memorials to imagine yourself in the midst of the war? That would be good if you can go on such a trip. But if you cannot, which is most of time, using technology can also transport you there to learn more about these humanities subjects. I have always found videos of documentary powerful learning tools. Thanks to the hard work of countless researchers, historians, geologists, social scientists, we have the benefit of watching their work in action. Very often, these works are of high quality, showing us authentic films, narrations and sceneries captured and re-packaged to make most sense. The colours, sounds and movements of these documentaries often bring to live a very dead subject.
At Gummy Humanities, we go one step more. Once students can believe that what they are studying exist or existed, we get our students to role play the key people in history and books. By doing so, we involve the students emotionally. Once students experience such emotions in the humanities subjects they are learning, that is the magical hook that will motivate them to want to know more and work harder on their subjects. Activating that sense of wonder is a big step for success in these humanities subjects.
2. Allow you to Anticipate the Future Better
Everyone wants to know what lies in the future. This sense of anticipation is in build in us humans. Knowing the future helps us prepare and expect better things for ourselves. Learning from our humanities subjects provides us with a fairly accurate view of what is to come. It might not tell us what is going to happen in the short term or even specific events for us. But a deep and good knowledge of our world, our stories, our societies and our cultures helps us to feel more certain of what will happen eventually.
In humanities subjects like history, we learnt about the cycle of Empires. According to Sir John Bagot Glubb (1897-1997), a highly renown General and historian, in his book, “The Fate of Empires and the Search for Survival” (1978), there are seven distinct stages of empire building and decline – Age of Pioneers, Age of Conquest, Age of Commerce, Age of Affluence, Age of Intellect, Age of Decadence, and Age of Decline and Collapse. If we want to know what will happen to our present society, all we need to do is look at our past and figure out the age we are in. We will be unlikely to see the passage of all ages in our societies. But we can look through the lenses of history and tell the age our society reside in during our lifetime. Knowing this, allows us to approach life with greater certainty and confidence.
Similarly, did not Classical Literature like Shakespeare as one of the humanities subjects teach us about the things to come? How was Julius Caesar killed? Stabbed from the back by a dozen senators in the Roman court house. The modern day equivalent is the assassination of President John F Kennedy with the supposed protection of the state. When we take the books of our great writers seriously in our humanities subjects, we often get a glimpse of the possible things to come.
What of our world? Do humanities subjects like geography allow us to anticipate our future better? Today, we know for certain, the areas where earthquakes will occur. We also know how our glaciers and rivers were formed and consequently can tell where they will likely flow. When the seasons change, we know fairly certainly when hurricanes and storms will come to our shores. As a result of such a greater understanding of the world, we can make preparation against disasters better.
3. Generates Greater Understanding Amongst People
Our world is populated by peoples of great diversity, with very different languages, customs, traditions, religions, beliefs, cultures and heritages. In today’s globalized world, without an adequate understanding of people from other races, countries or religion, getting along and finding the synergy to do things is not going to be easy. Studying humanities subjects like Social Studies, History and Literature helps us to know our fellow human beings better. Once we understand why certain people of the world do certain things, there will be a greater chance of everyone co-existing peacefully for the greater good of mankind
4. See More of Our Real World
Many of us are not going to be able to see all of our world in our life-time. Even if you are the riches person in the world, our world I just too big for you to embrace fully. But when we study humanities subjects like history and geography, we can literally be transported to see the great natural and historical wonders of the world.
Through history as one of the humanities subjects, we learnt of the terrible events of the Second World War and the Holocaust that happened in Europe. The famous battles that were fought on some of the most important locations in Europe like Normandy and Stalingrad. The extermination camps in Poland like Treblinka and Auschwitz. We may not make the trip, but our history books and documentaries can bring us a real visit to these areas, so that we will remember our terrible history as human beings and not let these events happen again.
5. Make us Better Writers and Communicators
Humanities subjects are some of the best in helping us become better writers and communicators in whatever language we are studying them in. They are all content heavy subjects that require a substantial amount of reading. Text books of humanities subjects are the bare essential. Good students should read more to supplement the meagre knowledge they gain from just their text books. In addition to that, doing well in humanities subjects also requires students to write extensive. When you write essays, it will eventually make you better user of the language.
Many students do not fare well in their humanities subjects because they have not developed any substantial interest in them. But this is key to doing well in the subjects. Without a love for these humanities subjects, you will struggle. Hopefully, these five reasons above will give you more reasons to love your humanities subjects better, which will help you to do well and score your distinctions in the end. At Gummy Humanities, this is one of our core strategy in addition to many more subject smart strategies we teach our students. Come join us and be on your journey to success in your humanities subjects.