From the History Department
Why study history when I can just Google it?
This is a question that I think every history teacher in the past decade (maybe two) has had to face, but with Covid-19 lockdowns and schools moving online, it has become even more pressing to address. Let me begin by acknowledging that this is a legitimate question that should be taken seriously, but like most good questions, there are sub-questions that need to be asked. Is history really Googleable? What is history? And at the core of this question, why should we study history at all?
Dr. Sam Wineburg who is a history education professor at Stanford University claims in his book Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts that “history holds the potential…of humanizing us in ways offered by few other areas in the school curriculum.” But this leads us to another question – how does history “humanize” us? This is where I think the idea that history can just be Googled reveals a misconception about what history actually is. History by definition is the study of the past. Perhaps a better definition would be something like history is an interpretation of what we think happened in the past supported by evidence from the past. The misconception then is that what we often think of as history is actually just facts of the past – dates, important people, and important events to be memorized. These things CAN be Googled, but this is not what history actually is – the interpretation of what these things all mean is the real work of historians.
For example, we know that on September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland and started World War II and that World War II ended on September 2, 1945, when Japan surrendered. These are the Googleable facts, but what historians want to know is what caused World War II and how might that be similar to geopolitical issues we see happening today? How did World War II change the lives of people globally? What didn’t change? How do these changes still affect us today?
In order to answer these questions, historians must study the past with great humility and empathy. Humility because historians must be aware of how our present view of the world might color the way we understand the past. It takes great humility to acknowledge one’s own biases and to lay those aside in the pursuit of the truth of the past. Similarly, history also teaches us empathy (the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation). As historians, we must try to put ourselves in the shoes of the people in the past we are studying – most often these people are very different from us with different worldviews and experiences (even if we share the same ethnicity or nationality) – and try to understand the world through their eyes. In our globalized world, is there any other skill that is more necessary to living peacefully with one another than pausing to try and understand someone else’s perspective?
When history is approached this way, it teaches academic skills – such as evaluating sources, writing skills, and creating logical arguments based on evidence (which I did not have room here to expand on) – while also challenging us to develop biblical character traits such as humility and empathy. Some call these “soft skills,” but I think these are actually necessary skills. Covid-19 has taught us that we don’t know what the future holds – new evidence may change the way we perceive a past event or certain job skills may become obsolete – but if our children can learn to act with humility and empathy towards others, then they can navigate whatever the world throws at them with grace and intellect that brings ultimate glory to God.
So why should we study history when we can just Google it? Because studying the past is much more complex than just Googling it and when students participate in the process of history – studying the past and not just memorizing dates, events, and important people – it helps to develop a more holistic person who has skills and character traits that will last them a lifetime no matter what they end up doing or facing. In fact, studying history seeks to develop the very values that BAIS stands for.
Travis Julian, M. Ed
Attention BAIS Community!
We need your help to gather pictures for this year’s yearbook.
Send us pictures of yourself, your child, or anything that relates to the current theme!
Make sure that:
- No filters/edits are applied
- Include a description of the activities/quotes
- Include the name of the people in the pictures
- Upload the picture via this Google Form.
You will receive 5 points for each picture submitted.
(There’s a possibility that your picture might be featured in the yearbook)
Please go to this link for the picture upload. You need to have the Google Drive app installed in your gadget to go to the link.
The Yearbook Team
Congratulations to Ezra Thomas and Deo Sinaga!
Ezra was accepted to the following schools in the United States:
- George Fox University
- Asbury University
Deo was accepted to Michigan State University in the United States.
Make sure to congratulate them when you see them around… your Google Meet.
Also, please be praying for the other students in the senior class as they are in the process of applying or are waiting for the decisions to be announced.
New Student Scholarship
Dear Parents and Friends,
As one of the marketing initiatives to bring more interest in our school, we are excited to announce a new scholarship opportunity for incoming students. These students have to follow the guidelines and meet the criteria stated in the scholarship form. In addition, we also have Finder’s Fee initiatives for families or individuals who bring new students to BAIS. For more information about these programs, feel free to contact us at email@example.com or WA +62221012247
2021-2022 Reenrollment Notification
Please complete this form and return it with appropriate fees to the BAIS office on or before Friday, January 29, 2021. Your child’s reenrollment for the 2021-2022 school year is secure when this form and the accompanying payment are received. Payment can be made by bank transfer or cash to the finance office.
Please note after January 29, 2021 your child’s seat in class is no longer guaranteed. The 10,000,000 IDR non-refundable reenrollment deposit will be applied towards the student’s fall 2021 tuition. After January 29, 2021, 7,000,000 IDR of the 10,000,000 IDR deposit will be applied towards the student’s fall 2021 tuition.
We appreciate your support! If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the office at any time. The reenrollment form can be submitted online using this link.
Second Semester Payment
We also want to take this opportunity to remind you that the second semester payment is due on or before Friday, January 8, 2021. Additionally, the payment options that BAIS allows here in Indonesia are as follows:
For Indonesian Rupiah cash payments, please pay directly to the BAIS Finance Office during office hours. BAIS accepts cash payments between 7:45 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Our finance offices will be closed from December 21, 2020 to January 7, 2021 for the Christmas Holidays. For bank transfers, please pay directly to the BAIS bank account with full detailed information regarding the student’s name and grade in the information section of the bank form. The bank account information is the following:
Bank Name: PT Bank Permata Bank
Address: Jalan Merdeka No. 66, Bandung
Account Name: Yayasan Bandung Alliance Intercultural S
Account #: 809-01-8415
Swift Code: BBBAIDJA
Given our current scenario with the pandemic, we strongly encourage our families to choose the bank transfer option and you can make that payment anytime between now and January 8, 2021.
Please note that BAIS does not accept Giros, Checks, or ATM transfers as a payment method. If you have any questions, please contact the Finance team at email@example.com. We thank you in advance for your cooperation.
There will be no practice this coming week due to end of semester exams. Enjoy your Christmas break!
Christmas Praise Party
Here is the link for the Christmas Praise Party! We are super excited to see you there!