HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 49 no. 1-4 (2003)

Using Historical Content For The Teaching Of English

Thomas J. Kral

Discipline: History



As we study the past to better understand the present, we may also come to understand our own national experience better when we study the history of another country. This is especially true in the case of the Philippines and the United States since the destinies of both countries were interlinked for nearly fifty years, but it is also true for countries that did not have colonial ties.


The stories of one nation's successes or failures in handling internal and international disputes may serve as useful case studies for people of another country facing similar challenges. The study of history depicts the broad gamut of human experience and lets us evaluate the forces that were at work in making events unfold as they did. The perspective of time allows us to make objective judgments and to consider whether alternative actions might have beep possible to alter the course of events.


The inclusion of historical content within the English curriculum is one means for students of English to become intrinsically involved in the study of that language. A course that integrates history with language learning will allow students to engage in real communication and to grow in intellectual as well as linguistic skills.


As the Department of Education of the Republic of the Philippines considers Content-Based Instruction (CBI) as an approach to strengthen English teaching within the country, the author would like to suggest that historical content be included within the English curriculum. Historical content drawn from local and international resources can provide a foundation for meaningful communication and the development of critical thinking skills.


This paper discusses some of the approaches the author and his team used to make history the focus of an English language class. The model, however, could be applied to other languages, such as Filipino. With the Department of Education's 2002 Basic Education Curriculum limiting the number of hours that Philippine history is taught in the schools, it might be wise to incorporate Philippine history as content within the curricula of both the Filipino and English.