History

History is a study of the interpretation of the past. It is an analysis of past events, people and norms in order to gain some understanding of the world in which we live today, which has evolved as a consequence.

The studying of History aims to imbue boys with a sound knowledge of core historical concepts, the skill and desire to enquire and question, and the ability to create their own interpretation of historical theories and events

Who should opt for this subject?

History has wide appeal as it caters for the weaker boy as well as extending the top academic. It does expect some reading competence but beyond that the other necessary skills are developed by the studying of the subject. Boys who have a sound ability in English and who enjoy the rigours of debate and constructive argument, will flourish in this subject.

The skills History teaches, of comprehension, interpretation, organisation of ideas, and formulation of persuasive arguments, are invaluable life skills as these promote independent and creative thought and a high level of critical thinking. The development of these attributes benefits boys going on to study at the tertiary level.

Outline of the curriculum

Form 4

  • The world around 1600
  • Expansion & conquest during the 15th-18th centuries
  • The French Revolution
  • Transformation in southern Africa after 1750
  • Colonial Expansion after 1750
  • The South African War & Union

Form 5

  • Communist Russia 1900-1940
  • Capitalism in the USA 1900-1940
  • Ideas of Race in the 19th & 20th centuries
  • Nationalism: SA. Middle East & Africa
  • Apartheid 1940s-1960s

Form 6

  • The Cold War
  • Independent Africa
  • Civil Society Protests 1950s-1990s
  • Civil Resistance 1970s -1980s in South Africa
  • The coming of Democracy in South Africa & coming to terms with the past
  • The end of the Cold War & a new global world order

History in the “old days” was criticised by some as being a regurgitation of facts and dates. This is certainly not the case today as the modern History student is encouraged to apply his knowledge and to use various sources to make meaning of the past, in the hope of understanding the present more profoundly. The History department attempts to create activities which cater for a variety of different academic levels and learning styles, while the broad curriculum provides a lot of scope and stimulation.

Highlights of the course

Forms 3 & 5 visit the Holocaust Museum and the Anglo Zulu/Boer battle sites. These outings are so worthwhile as the boys are able to gain an empathetic understanding when seeing the real sites.

Assessment

Assessment is continuous. 25% of the mark is comprised of structured tests, a research project, and the June Exam. 75 % of the year mark is comprised of the November Exam.