For over twenty years, I have studied and taught history, and I have seen countless students struggle to retain the historical facts they are taught, even when I have carefully selected the most essential ones to teach them.
Working with adults and children, including my own wife and son, I have finally realized why the challenge of historical cognition is so daunting: in order for historical knowledge to be the powerful tool it can and ought to be, it must embody a seamless integration of past and present.
Of course, conventional historiography blatantly rejects this crucial truth, focusing exclusively on the past, or on a version of it suited only to subjective preference. To correct this distortion a properly integrated presentation of history must be dedicated to the whole truth, and yet ruthlessly selective, drawing only upon the facts that connect vividly and compellingly to the present day. Every fact presented in a history must connect to life here and now, thus making it possible for students to relate the past to their direct experience of the world and their values. When such a connection exists, it is immeasurably easier to retain and use historical knowledge in one’s thinking.
I call this approach present-centrismTM. It is history like you have never been taught before. To find out how you can learn history present-centrically, see the Powell History product line of “first histories” for adults, and, my very latest course The History of Now. There are TEN AMAZING HISTORIES to choose from!