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It’s Debatable: Why teach history?

The Story


Why teach history? In this 1967 episode of It's Debatable, two students from Toronto's Western Collegiate, a teacher and a Globe and Mail columnist discuss this complicated question. "(History) endeavours to give some perspective," explains Roy King, history teacher and principal of C.B. Parsons Secondary School. But the students feel it's not always useful. King agrees history class isn't always as relevant as it could be, but blames poor teaching, not the subject itself. "A good deal of history is taught badly," he admits.

Medium: Radio
Program: It's Debatable
Broadcast Date: April 7, 1967
Guest(s): Roy King, Peter Patersall, Jean Walker, Barrie Zwicker
Moderator: Walter Pitman
Duration: 28:34
Photo: Eldridge Stanton/Library and Archives Canada/PA-034028

Did You know?


• The usefulness of learning history has often been debated, with advocates believing history is the best way to understand the present, and detractors doubting the discipline's value. American historian and author David McCullough once said, "History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are." On the other hand, writer Kurt Vonnegut has said, "History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again."


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