History Is Better With Questions

What’s the history of Avogadro’s mol? How did Pythagoras discover his famed theorem? What inspired the painters of the Renaissance?

These students on Packback Questions are curious to know the history of these things.

History is commonly jested at as a useless subject, but these students are out to prove that opinion wrong. By analyzing the past, what knowledge can we borrow to make solve the problems of today’s world?

After watching that infamous clip of Morgan Freeman’s interview on 60 Minutes, this University of Alabama student asks:

He continues:

“Black History Month is a month dedicated to admiring many of the black figures that helped shape our history. The logic behind this is that since our country had a racist past, we need to play up the accomplishments of the race that was the victim of the racism. The goal of BHM is to end the racism and racial tensions, but does it really help or does it just perpetuate it? Should we follow the advice of Morgan Freeman, and get rid of Black History Month because the best way to end racism is to not talk about it?”

This question serves as a really good platform for more questions like:

  • Is the goal of Black History Month to end racism?
  • Does Black History Month perpetuate racism?
  • What were the original intentions of BHM and what are the effects of it today?

One student replies with:

“Black History Month is important because it allows people to learn of the unheard of and inspiring tales of the past that have led us to where we are now.

While some may argue its importance in today’s seemingly equal society, Black History Month is still an important part of many people’s lives, especially young African-Americans. In our current education system, it has been shown numerous times that students often are unaware of the achievements and contributions of African-Americans to our society. Black History month provides a way for people to learn about their heritage and to identify core personal values that will help to motivate them in everyday life. By learning about people who have overcome looming obstacles to make impressive contributions to society who are also just like them, young African-American students can see role models in their chosen fields of interests.”

While not quite answering the premise of the question (if the goal of BHM is to end racism, is it successful?), this student does provide interesting thoughts on the mental benefits of BHM on young African-Americans.

When it comes to history of any sort, we don’t just see memorization on Packback Questions. We see the forward thinking of students curious to impact the world that they live in using knowledge of the past.

An art student at East Carolina University wanted to know:

She continues:

“I think that the history of art is what allows many artists to draw their inspiration for the art that we continue to create today. I don’t think that studying the history of art is necessary to continue moving it forward, because art is always adapting”

Her interpretation is that while knowledge of art history can help inspire new art, it certainly is not necessary. By asking this question, it allows her to introduce her classmates to new ways of thinking. Maybe they agreed with her before, maybe they disagreed with her, but by her starting the dialogue they now get the chance to interact with the idea.

And this is all by interpreting history, observing its effect on the present and hypothesizing its effect on the future.

That’s how high levels of critical thought are built using Packback Questions.

When students answer questions so willingly and openly, other students get to analyze and evaluate multiple viewpoints and make their own judgments.

Additionally, by asking questions that invite challenging, interesting discussion, the students create a community of curiosity around marketing that is both engaging and fun.

We believe that with Packback Questions, these students will carry more curiosity and higher critical thinking skills into whatever they choose to pursue outside of the classroom.

Written by Evan Le

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