In the article, Why We Study Western Civ, the author, Steven Ozment, talks about how important it is for students to learn about European cultures by focusing on the ways they were in the past. This is known as Western Civilization. Ozment writes, “How skillfully students ultimately swim is not as important as their initial jump into the great pool of the past.” In the quote, the author is saying that getting students to start learning about history is more important than understanding it at first.
This statement is accurate because it shows that students will not always be able to think like historians at first, but they never will be able to if they don’t try.
When Ozment wrote about “how skillfully students ultimately swim,” he was really talking about how well students are able to think like historians. According to the author, that is what Western Civ is all about. When he talks about the “initial jump into the pool of the past,” he meant to show that starting to learn about Western Civilization can be a daunting task, especially because it is such a broad category of history.
However, once they get started, it becomes easier to think more like a historian, and to understand Western Civ. Ozment states, “For it is only in their thrashing about there that life-sustaining historical thinking is born.” In the time between when a student starts to learn about Western Civ and the time they finish it, they will gain a skill that will follow them through their life; being able to think like a historian.
Steven Ozment’s quote is correct. Nobody can get better at something unless they work at it. Often times, the best way to understand something is to immerse yourself into it. If you have to think like a historian to be able to get by, then that is what you’ll do. The quote shows that Western Civ is useful because it teaches students to think like historians. The article, Why We Study Western Civ, did an excellent job of explaining the importance behind Western Civilization.