What is time? As long as no one asks me, I know what it is; however, when I wish to explain it to someone who asks, I do not know. (Augustine, 354-430)
In the understanding of time we distinguish the objective understanding of metrical time (clock and calendar time) and the subjective understanding of the experience time (tempo, duration, intensity). These two concepts of time are combined in the understanding of historical time, where time becomes concrete in the form of narratives that give coherence to the individual events from the past. A teacher of grade 6 formulated the importance of the understanding of historical time as follows:
“Pupils need to learn why we do things the way we do and that once the present will also become history.”
Through the understanding historical time pupils can place events in time, it helps them to visualize historical time and to compare different eras with each other and with the present. This is important not only for history education, but also essential for the overall development of children. It helps children to reach higher levels of historical reasoning, to understand the present and it contributes to critical thinking.