Why should you hire a history student? (Spoiler alert. Cause they’re awesome)
For a long time, many in education have viewed the K-12 system as the minor leagues for college. We take pride in how many of our HS grads are accepted into colleges, especially the elite ones. We’ve created curriculum and tests and policy and tracks that encourage the jump from high school to university.
Nothing really wrong with that. I’m a big fan of the liberal arts myself. But not everyone is interested in two or four or eight more years of school. Some are ready to jump into other things. And that’s okay too. But the system can sometimes marginalize those sorts of students.
And so, over the last few years, there’s been a shift. A recent push is happening in a lot of places, Kansas included, to find ways for K-12 education to do a better job of prepping kids for careers as well as college. STEM and STEAM and Pathways and Career Clusters now are helping K-12 schools to become little training grounds for businesses.
Nothing really wrong with that. I’m a big fan of creating employable people myself. But not everyone wants to jump right into the job market. But at times, it can seem as if the push to create employable people marginalizes the humanities – history, art, literature.
I think we can and should do both. And I think most schools are doing a pretty good job of finding the balance. But I do hear more questions about the value of a humanities / history degree than I used to.
What can you do with that degree? How can studying history help you get a job?
And a few months ago, I ran across an old post at a site called Shaunanagins. The name alone was enough to suck me in. But the post title and content kept me around. 30 Reasons it’s Smart to Hire a History Student does a great job of addressing the questions of those who are unsure where the humanities fits into a 21st century curriculum
We know, because we see it every day, how important the transferable skills are that we teach in our classrooms. But Shauna Vert clearly articulates the reasons why businesses need to seek out the history majors.
Need a taste?
Shauna starts off with a bit of context:
As I sit at the tail end of my History and Communications double major, resume full of business – friendly internships and experiences, I can’t help but notice how underrated the History half of my education seems to be. It has helped me thrive in so many work worlds – from public service, to high tech marketing, to education, and tourism. It’s time we stopped overlooking the History degree.
- History students are experts at tracking trends. They know how people, strategies, and time-stamped statistics work (or don’t work).
- And, yes, they know how to communicate that information back.
- When presented with a whole bunch of information, History students are trained to be able to quickly judge what is relevant, and why it is relevant.
- These kids know how to write.
- Oh, and they know how to summarize. Throw them a hodgepodge of random information, and they’ll turn it into a concise, focused, and coherent package (Hey, maybe they’ll even make you a list! Eh? Eh?)
- They can recognize long term effects.
- Which means they can help develop long term solutions.
She finished with:
Basically, studying History helps you develop key skills like critical thinking, communication, research, and writing. History students can pick up on patterns and systems quickly, think in big picture/abstract ways . . . and still rock that always important attention to detail.
Head over to get the rest of Shauna’s list. Use her ideas to help you self-assess your own instruction. Are your students able to do these things? Do your lessons focus on these transferable skills?
Because we know that the foundational knowledge – the humanities part of your class – is vital. But kids do need to be able to apply that knowledge in authentic and employable ways.
What would you add to Shauna’s list?