Does history happen as a matter of course or is it influenced by people’s decisions? Does this mean that history needs to be presented in ways that encourage serious reflection on the part of students/people about their own actions or inactions? How can students engage with history in a more productive way? The point to note here is that history has to be based on multiple accounts and not just one narrative and it is important for people to be more than just silent spectators.
Why should history be studied? Why does the past matter? How does it affect the present and can it be a guide to the future? History teachers may not find answers to these questions in the curriculum thus making it harder for them to inculcate in students an interest in the subject. Therefore teachers must deliberately plan to stimulate student thinking, help them ask the right questions and form balanced opinions so that they can connect the dots and arrive at a better understanding of the world.
How can teachers change the narratives that are prevalent about women in history? Is there a way stories can be retold so that they inspire others as well? Here is an account of how a designer and an art director, with her immense fascination for the women in history began a project to re-enact their stories and created different avatars of herself which she found profoundly empowering.
Dr. Arshiya Sethi
The introduction of the Arts in Education programme as part of NEP 2020 is a huge step towards making education holistic, integrated, enjoyable, and engaging. Apart from this, Arts integrated learning is also a part of NEP 2020 and a conscious thrust to joyful learning. History lessons which were a list of endless dates and events and had to be learned by rote can now be taught using ballads or songs of that era, students can also be exposed to regional art schools to learn more about the history of regional kingdoms. But before all this, syllabus makers and pedagogy experts need to work in tandem to create appropriate lead-ins for different subjects and levels.
In the absence of regular postcolonial history in the curriculum [barring trickles in civics/optional modules like political science], children either don’t know enough or their knowledge is painted by hearsay. Contemporary history is lived history and according to the author, negotiating this terrain has been a challenge but it has led to disclosure and deep insight especially in classroom sessions. This article explores the challenges and opportunities in taking contemporary Indian history to school children.