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Get your Historical Superpowers!

Posted on July 31, 2019 by Charlene van der Westhuizen

Get your Historical superpowers!

History gives mankind superpowers that enable us to change the future into something great!

I have often wondered what it is about history that is so intriguing and why I enjoy teaching it so much. It is a subject that does not get enough credit in terms of what it offers to students. History prepares students for their future, it enables great critical thinking and analysis skills, it expands the mind, and it allows for valuable arguments to be put to the test.

For more on this, watch this great video: 


It is a fact that we can flesh out the wonders of a society: that we try to understand what led to the beliefs of a society and ponder on how cultures have been formed. It is, after all, the memories of events and interactions with people that shape who we are and who we have become. It is our heritage which talks to our inner conscience.

I further feel that, especially now, in an ever-changing society and with a future filled with tremendous uncertainty, we need to be prepared for and understand how our society and others work. Not only do we see change on the front of technology, but also in the moral standards of people and on the topic of globalisation. And so, we have to ask: are we able to shape students to become global citizens with the ability to negotiate, create and shape a better world? Will this generation be ready for the change?

What creates change?

History aids us in understanding what brought on change and how we should better deal with it. For example, we should take note of the small changes and events that led up to the World Wars. We need to realise that something small can set off a huge change. In this ever-changing world, it is therefore more important than ever before to find one’s identity amidst all of this change.  


It is so important to tell one’s story. This will include the questions of where you have been and where you want to go. It is important not to doubt the fact that your identity, path and journey have value or can cause interest. Let’s be honest – other people’s stories always sound more interesting. Therefore, telling your story will add interest to others’ lives, even if it is only to learn something small. It is only when you have found your identity that you can create the confidence to stand firm in the person that you are and tell your story. It is also valuable to listen to each others’ stories, to preserve them and to pass them down to those who come after us.

These stories further inspire us to take action in our own lives. History teaches us about our ancestors, about our country and the hardship those before us had to endure to create the beauty and comfort in which we can now marvel and live. This can inspire us to build an even better or more sustainable future and to create a new appreciation for the now in which we live.

It is then, when we more fully understand our country and countrymen, that our goals are set for the future and it will become easier to notice the warning signs. These warning signs will be signs of suffering and risk that our ancestors lived through and it forces us to act and be proactive in building a better future.

This also forces us to be better people as we start to build empathy, understanding and the ability to negotiate.

Why should we love History?

If we put humans under a microscope, we will notice that we have not changed that much. We still love and dream. We still face fear and death. We still hope and conquer. And it is still very prominent in our minds to gossip and manipulate, to create and kill. The only difference is the method we use to accomplish these, and in the modern world, it would appear to be happening on a bigger scale.

Nothing illuminates this more than history. The reason why students might find it boring is because of the lacklustre manner in which schools offer historical content as facts to be regurgitated. This tedious manner of learning can simply not be beneficial. Then along came Cambridge, who exposed a new way of learning, a learning based on self-discovery and research. This way of learning links more to the actual study of history in that we want to uncover secrets that have been lost in time. Who would not enjoy a mystery? In fact, many popular video games and movies are based on history. People are engulfed in gaming culture and enjoy constant bingeing on TV series as well as movies. If we can only see the connection between these modern-day phenomena and our history as a species, then students would learn to enjoy history in their own way!

For most people, history is interesting because it allows for the causes and effects of important events to be analysed. That is actually why history is taught in schools: to help students understand why a past event occurred and how something similar could potentially be repeated or prevented. Personally, ancient history fascinates me because of its mysterious nature. We think we know everything until we discover some ancient artifact or site that completely goes against our initial thinking. We learn and we adapt.

Relevance of history: Entertainment

Listed below are a view famous games set around real events in history.

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30

There are endless games based on World War II. Rightly so, as it has brought on a significant change within our world. One of the most famous games is Call of Duty: Company of Heroes and Medal of Honour. The Brothers in Arms series, however, has stepped up a notch and created a game with historical precision. Road to Hill 30 is based on the real events of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division who were dropped behind the German lines the night before D-Day.

Velvet Assassin

This is another game set during WWII and is based on the life of British spy, Violette Szabo, an actual saboteur, whose aim it was to undermine the Nazi party.

Assassin’s Creed III

The Assassin’s Creed series is based on real historical facts and events and includes famous characters like Leonardo da Vinci, Pope Alexander VI, and the pirate, Blackbeard. Assassin’s Creed III features events based on the Boston Tea Party, Boston Massacre and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

1979 Revolution: Black Friday

This interactive game takes the player on an adventure through Iran during the Iranian Revolution.

These are but a few examples of a vast array of games based on history. These are famous games played by many, every day. And then there are movies based on historical events – even though some of these movies do not stay true to the original events, they have become blockbuster hits which have touched the souls of many. Some of these include: Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, Titanic, Braveheart, Gladiator, Gone with the Wind and Last of the Mohicans. Naturally, many books and TV series have been created as well. It is therefore clear that mankind is indeed fascinated by history and that it is a wonderful subject to study.

Relevance of History: Daily life

Get enough sleep

It is interesting to note that a lot of historical disasters occurred due to a lack of sleep. Examples of this include The Exxon Valdez oil spill, The Challenger explosion and the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, where the parties involved could not prevent these disasters due to pure exhaustion or lack of sleep. Let us not be part of that problem and strive to maintain a healthy sleep routine to enable our minds to be focused.

Debate and negotiate

We are taught two valuable questions in History: why and how. Sharpen your communication skills, think critically and engage in healthy debates on different topics.

Organisational skills

Historians gather valuable evidence, create hypotheses and make conclusions. Like a good detective, they categorise information and tie it all up in the end, to uncover the mysteries of the past. So, be like a historian – become organised and manage information! CambriLearn and the courses created for History will be invaluable in creating this achievement.

Learn how the wonders of the world came into being or were simply lost to history. Learn about catastrophic, amazing and inspirational events in history. See the weird and funny side of history. Join this journey and leave happy, because you will discover that your hopes, dreams and struggles are shared with generations. Become part of the discovery of yourself and realise that you are a part of a community which threads through time. Start telling your own story. Enrol for the History courses offered by CambriLearn and enjoy an adventure of heroes and villains.