What are the main aims and objectives of Teaching History to students?



Like all other subjects in the School Curriculum, history has its own aims or purposes. Ghate has aptly said. "An aim is the conscious purpose which we keep before our minds while doing a thing or after having done". In general, the aims of teaching history are the same as that of education-for example, the all-round development of children. Aims are usually general and long term goals which are desired to be realized through teaching history.

Aims of Teaching History

History aims at helping students to understand the present existing social, political, religious and economic conditions of the people. The present is in fact the child of the past. It is a development of the past. Without the knowledge of history we cannot have the background of our religion, customs institutions, administration and so on. Our present conditions are thus the result of the past problems.

Ghate has rightly pointed out that to understand the present; we must see the past which is hidden in it. Some people consider it to be so important that they are in favor of teaching history backwards. They would start with present items and then go back in reverse order till they reach the Stone Age. It is to be realized that history is a study of the present and not of the dead past. We are not interested in the past for its own sake. We have no time to tell grandma's tales of the past.

The teaching of history helps the students to explain the present, to analyze it and to trace its course. Cause-and-effect relationship between the past and the present is lively presented in the history. History thus helps us to understand the present day problems both at the national and international level accurately and objectively. This understanding enables us to lead useful and efficient lives. We should feel "that history is interesting and that it has a real bearing on our everyday life and that it is, therefore, worthwhile taking trouble to assimilate its facts."

Thus, it may be concluded that there are mainly two aims of teaching history-(l) the UTILITARIAN AIM and INTELLECTUAL AIM. The former emphasizes that history gives us a body of useful information necessary for understanding the current problems. It creates interest as well as love for reading historical figures, characters, events and facts which are found necessary for solving the present problems effectively. Secondly, the reading of history trains memory, reasoning, presentation of facts systematically and successfully. It enables students to analyze & weigh evidences and take right decisions. All this helps in intellectual development of children.

6 Main Objectives of Teaching History

Teaching of history enables the pupils to achieve various instructional objectives in an hierarchical manner. These objectives are (1) Knowledge, (2) Understanding, (3) Critical thinking, (4) Practical skills, (5) Interests and (6) Attitudes relating to historical matters.

(1) Knowledge

The pupil acquires knowledge of various terms, concepts, events, ideals, problems personalities and principles related to the study of history. They:-

(a) Recall facts, events, years and terms etc.

(b) Recognize facts, events, concepts, years etc.

(c) Read information presented in different forms, and

(d) Show information on maps, charts, diagrams etc.

(2) Understanding:

The pupils develop understanding of terms, facts, events, years, principles etc. related to the study of history. They:-

(a) Classify facts, events, terms, concepts etc.

(b) Compare and contrast the events, trends, concepts etc.

(c) Discriminate between the significant and the silly matters,

(d) illustrated events, principles by citing examples,

(e) Identify relationship between causes and effects etc.

(f) Detect errors in the statement and rectify,

(g) Arrange facts etc. in a particular known order, and

(h) Interpret the maps, charts etc. from the source of history.

(3) Critical thinking

The pupils develop the ability of critical and logical thinking.


(a) Identify the problems;

(b) Analyze the problems;

(c) Select relevant facts, principles etc.

(d) Establish relationships;

(e) Advance arguments in support of or against an issue;

(f) Draw inferences and conclusions;

(g) Verify the inferences; and

(h) Evaluates.

(4) Practical Skill

The pupils develop practical skills helpful in the study and understanding of historical events. They:

(a) Draw historical maps, charts, diagrams etc.

(b) Prepare models, tools etc.

(5) Interests

The pupils develop interests in the study of history and activities relating to history. They:

(a) Collect ancient arts, old coins and other historical materials;

(b) Participate in historical drama and historical occasions;

(c) Visit places of historical interests, archaeological sites, museums and archives;

(d) Read historical documents, maps, charts etc.

(e) Play active roles in activities of the historical organizations and associations; and

(f) Write articles on historical topics.

(6) Attitudes

The pupils develop favorable attitudes and them:

(a) Show respect towards other peoples, ways of life, ideas etc.,

(b) Know about other religions and faiths;

(c) Establish friendship with other peoples;

(d) Practice the noble religions and their principles;

(e) Cooperate with others in social and historical activities;

(f) Appreciate cultural differences; and

(g) Believe in equality for man irrespective of caste, class, creed, color and religion.

On the whole, general aims along with objectives can be realized through teaching of history with the active interest, sincerity, competence and skillful teaching of the teachers.