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TOEFL - should history be a mandatory course to university students?

Jun 9, 2009   #1
There has been a debate over whether university students should be required to take history courses regardless of their specialties. Some maintain that only history major students should take history courses; others believe that history courses should be compulsory courses that all students must take. As far as I am concerned, I am with the point that every university student must take history courses for the following reasons.

First and foremost, history is the pride of the country with over two thousand years' civilization. We should learn more about our motherland, which is regarded as an act of patriotism. Last semester we had a seminar about the history, which was attended by both local and foreign students. One student from a European country talked a lot about the industrialization process of my country, and when he finished every one, including me, could not believe that he is a from another country. I also feel that I would be ashamed if I came to an American university where my American classmates know more about my country than I do.

Second, history repeats. History is the record of what happened in the past, and learning of past sheds light on what may happen in the future. This is particularly true when it comes to the necessity of learning from mistakes. We all have made mistakes, but there is nothing wrong with that. What matters is that we should make efforts not to make the same mistakes again. Like a mirror, history tells us about the past, and warns of the risks. No wonder some famous politicians are historians, such as Winston Churchill who was a renowned scholar with a number of publications on English history.

As discussed above, history is of importance, and should be a mandatory course to university students who are supposed to be the hopes for their country in today's world. Currently in this economic downturn, we are experiencing a hard time, but we can learn from the past and be stronger and wiser in order to go it through as quickly as possible.

Jun 9, 2009   #2
This is a well worded and well argued essay. Your grammar and punctuation are very good, with only a few minor errors that do not inhibit comprehension.

Each of your arguments is cogent and supported by both logic and examples. I'd like to see you make a third argument, though.

Here are a few suggested corrections:

...I am with the position that every university student...

...history is the pride of a country with over two thousand years' civilization.


...history is the pride of our country, which can boast of over two thousand years' civilization.
Jun 9, 2009   #3
You might want to specify which history courses you want to be mandatory. Your first argument seems to assume that the courses would be on a country's own history. However, making history credits mandatory would presumably still allow students to choose which period of which nation's history they wanted to study. This in fact is very similar to the first year policy of the university I went to for my undergrad. In such a case, students might well study history without learning a thing about their own nation's history, especially if they come from less geopolitically important nations. In the case of international students from smaller nations, they may find themselves at a university that doesn't even offer any history courses on their native land. So, your first argument sounds like it would make a lot more sense if you were talking about mandatory high school courses, where people would be forced to learn about the country they were living in. It doesn't seem to apply so well to university courses, though. To make it work, you will have to elaborate on your point a bit more.
Jun 9, 2009   #4
Thank you both.

@ Sean: I see your points -- I would describe the course as the history of industrialization of my country because university students are supposed to be maturer and be able to research on a selected area.
Jun 10, 2009   #5
But how would this be of any use to international students? Bear in mind that universities often have a portion of the student body that comes from outside the country where the university is located. Also, what about universities outside of your country? Should they also force their students to learn the history of how their countries were industrialized? If so, what makes that particular aspect of a nation's history worth knowing?

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