Studying history enables us to develop a better understanding of the world in which we live. Knowledge and understanding of historical events and trends, especially over the past century, enables us to develop a much greater appreciation for current events today.
"Without history we are nothing, so it's worth finding out something about it."
- Keith Allen
Before we dive too deep into Junior Cycle History let's take a look at the structure of the course and its assessments.
Breakdown of the Junior Cycle History Curriculum:
This course is divided into three strands which are taught over three years. Each strand is as follows:
- Strand One - The Nature of History
- Strand Two - The History of Ireland
- Strand Three - The History of Europe and The Wider World
Unlike other subjects where there are multiple strands, history is broken down into three strands over three years as I mentioned already, this fits nicely over the course and allows you ample time for assessments which we will break down below.
All assessments for junior cycle history are graded at a common level, this means that all students have access to the same materials and supports. There is no division between higher and ordinary levels as in the past.
There are two classroom-based assessments, one assessment task (previously known as your Junior Cert History project) and of course one state exam.
The classroom-based assessments are graded by your teacher and take place during class time, your assessment task also takes place during class, but is not actually graded by your teacher. Instead, this is turned into the state examination commission for grading as part of your overall official history grade, in fact, it is worth 10% of your overall grade.
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history"
― George Orwell
Why Choose to Learn History in Junior Cycle
There are so many reasons to choose history as one of your subjects, not just in the junior cycle but also for your leaving cert.
Let's start with the people who just have to know everything.
If like me you are someone who always has your head stuck in a book who loves fantasy and fiction and the strange things that go bump in the night, let me assure you that you will be just as fascinated by history. If you ever wonder where the inspiration for the books you read came from, oftentimes it's part of history! Yes okay, it may be part of the folklore and legends but some of it is often based on truth.
A lot of times it didn't have to be a monster that ripped people to shreds, it just had to be a really angry hostile king or dictator.
Yes, many of the stories are violent and sad, laden with war and destruction. However, there are also many powerful stories about revolution, politics and the fight for human rights. You will discover a beautiful history of how the world changed for the better and also warnings of mistakes not to be repeated.
They say you learn from your mistakes, this is not just true of an individual but also of a country its politicians and its people.
This brings us to the second reason, and possibly the more important reason why you should choose history as a subject to learn, in a word understanding.
The study of history is about exploring human experience over time and how that experience has shaped the world we live in today. Asking questions of the available evidence, allows you to make rational, informed judgements about human actions in the past and examine why people were motivated to act as they did and the effects of these actions.
Studying history develops our historical consciousness. It allows us to see major patterns of change and gives us a framework to understand and put into context the knowledge that we gain about the actions of people that came before us. The study of the past allows us to examine the impact of human actions in a wide variety of dimensions, including politics, government, law, society, economics, culture, beliefs and ideas.
Studying history helps us also to develop a historical sensibility that leads to an appreciation of the cultural achievements and accomplishments of previous generations, and to derive pleasure and enjoyment from learning about the richness and diversity of human experience in the past, and how this has impacted and shaped our own identity and experience of the world.
"Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill."
- Barbra W. Tuchman
Is History a Hard Subject to Learn?
Like most subjects, especially maths, history has a bit of a bad rep when it comes to its pre-conceived difficulty.
Neither of these subjects is particularly difficult compared to any of the rest, in fact, most of the time people tell themself something it's too hard for them or that they're not able to do it before they even try.
That's not to say that different people may find certain aspects of the course more difficult, some people may find a project or assessment task difficult others may find a specific area and time are hard to come to grips with. Like every other subject, you can't be absolutely perfect at everything the first time around, and that's where history grinds or a tutor can help.
Junior Cycle History Grinds
It's important to remember that taking grinds, in any subject, doesn't guarantee to double someone's points/grade. The main purpose of taking grinds is to ensure you achieve your full potential in the exam, which naturally can bring a small increase in your grades/points.
Keep an eye out for people advertising private at-home tutoring some of the places you might come across these advertisements include:
- Community halls
- Sports halls
- Local shops
- Your GP surgery
- School noticeboard
- Community Facebook pages
Alternatively, you can get History Grinds online, for example here at Superprof we offer one-to-one tuition in most subjects.
At Superprof there are several tutors offering grinds in History. You can choose your tutor from a large selection, you can also pick times that suit you and take as many or as few revision/preparation classes as you need. No matter what the subject, if you choose to take grinds with Superprof, you will see they are affordable, as they start from just €10 and they are flexible, which makes them super convenient!
The Superprof homepage is really easy to navigate, which means you can find the perfect History Tutor for you within minutes! All you have to do is select the subject you would like to take lessons in, and add your area then search for a full list of tutors and their fees. A lot of the time you even get your first lesson free, which makes Superprof even better value!
If you don't feel like you need a History Tutor, there are other online sources to help you with your studies, for example, RTÉ has documentaries and articles online and on the player which correspond with the Junior Cycle and Leaving Cert History Strands.
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