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School Projects on History

School projects on history is a way for the students to learn more by doing their own research on a specific topic. It is actually a very good exercise because, for the majority of students, History is a boring subject that usually put them to sleep in the classroom.

Acheh mosque Penang
Danial next to the minaret of the Acheh mosque. Read his school project here.

I cannot blame them because I used to be in their shoes too. My own teacher during my junior high school would narrate long stories but I went home to look at my notes, I could not read them. The writing was worse than chicken scratches because I was obviously not awake when I wrote them!

By involving the students in the research, bringing them to the historic sites and guiding them on their own heritage could show that history is much much more than memorizing events and the dates. School projects on history is a journey back in time. Students who live in Penang should be grateful that they have their own historic city in their own backyards.

You cannot start teaching them young enough. Children as young as six years old can be taught on historical aspects of a particular place, building or famous people.

That was why I brought both my young children during the celebration of the inscription of George Town as a heritage city by UNESCO in July 2008. My ten year old could relate to his lessons when he went inside the Islamic Museum at Syed Al-Atas' mansion. He actually wrote his experience in his essay at school during a monthly test.

Another friend of mine has a teenage son who proudly prepared a report and slide show about his great great great great grandfather who was one of the Muslim founding fathers of the city back in the 19th century. Isn't this a great way to learn history?

Recently, I was contacted by a school teacher who asked for my advise on how to approach a contest with the title of "Why George Town was chosen to be a UNESCO's World Heritage Site?"

I gladly volunteered to teach them what I know. It is good for the students to learn things outside the classroom. It also does not cost that much to do the field trips because everything is within a day's journey.

My tips to these students include asking them to be more observant to their surrounding. Read more about a particular subject in the archive. Do their own research on the Internet. Take their own set of photographs and always having a notebook along to take down notes.

I read in the newspaper there is an architecture lecturer in Australia who brings twenty of his students to George Town annually to learn about the historical buildings here. If the foreigners appreciate our own heritage and come here to do their school projects on history, why shouldn't we, the locals, do the same?

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