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Salient. Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 4. Monday, April 8, 1963

Low Standards In History

page 3

Low Standards In History

Students failed History I because their work was not of University standard, said History Professor Wood recently.

History I is not a school subject. Many students are unable to picture the medieval way of life. There are comparatively few books written on the period, and a great demand for any that are available.

An option in modern history was offered this year. However, despite the obscurity surrounding the period, the course on the Middle Ages has proved much more popular, he said.

The History Department does not aim to produce students with an exact knowledge of every important date. History is not an exact science. Wood and his staff hope to provide the student with the equipment to form his own judgment on past events.

A successful history student must have both the material and the interest to put up a convincing argument in support of his own views.

At the same time he must be honest, Wood said. Too many students ignore important facts because they do not fit into their interpretation of some historical event. It is a great temptation to force facts into a pattern which is over-simplified.

The traditional controversy of historians is whether history is an art or a science. Wood stresses that it must be a combination of both. Students should relate historical facts in scientific manner. At the same time they should study art and literature in an endeavour to see how men really thought in history.

He said the History Department hoped to give a well-balanced view of history and a sense of intellectual honesty.