Best Ways To Make History More Interesting
- Nov 27, 2014
How many of you shudder at the very thought of learning History in classrooms? Come on, please be honest. Unless History happens to be your favorite subject (which I highly doubt), I’m sure you are amongst those who think of excuses for bunking their History classes. The attitude of such students is, “Who wants to know what happened in the past? I’m more interested about the present. And, of course, contemplating about the future!”
But, has it ever occurred to you why this mysterious subject fails to attract us? What is that element in History which repels our memory? Well, I feel it is the way this subject is portrayed by some teachers, which steals away its magic and reduces it to a source of boredom!
When I went to school, History was a compulsory subject, at least till the ninth grade – when we were free to choose our preferred stream (Humanities, Commerce or Science). So, we had no other choice, but to study the lifeless subject. I remember how most of my classmates performed miserably in their History exams, and were denied promotion to the next standard. They dreaded History.
But the good news is, you can conquer History. Only, if your teachers follow the simple rules mentioned in the following paragraphs:
- Using additional resources: First of all, I would suggest you explore additional resources, alongside your traditional History textbooks. For, textbooks are more mechanical and might be overloaded with too much information. You must understand the concepts first and only then you will be able to learn the facts by heart. So, why not visit your nearest library? And, collect some interesting books on the subjects in your syllabus? For instance, you can read up some reference books on the ‘Mughal dynasty’ in India, if you have it in your syllabus.
If you’re a gadget geek, you can also download the latest mobile apps which would help you learn History better. iPads and iPhones offer some great apps for History. Try them out.
- Mind-mapping: Most students groan when they are asked to write a few paragraphs or pages on a particular Historical character or event. But, answering some questions or short notes serves as a significant student-feedback to teachers. How else would teachers figure out if you have been able to grasp the lesson which has been taught in the class? You might have read an entire chapter, or gone through an essay describing the event and you might feel, that’s enough for the day. But, it’s also important to assess how much you have learnt.
Here, mind-mapping would come to your rescue, students. Wondering what it is? It’s a visual representation of the ideas you have formed in your mind, while explaining characters and events related to them. It is much simpler than writing essays or summaries.
- Taking field trips: Now, this is an idea which always works. Who wouldn’t love to enjoy a good field trip organized by his school? Declare a field trip to your students today and see how they react. I know they would all be overexcited and count days for it to arrive. Such trips are educative too, besides being immensely entertaining.
For instance, you can ask students to do a thorough research prior to the outing. Students must also be encouraged to observe their surroundings carefully during the trip. After the trip gets over, you can test the knowledge imbibed by your students. This can easily be done by assigning them a few simple exercises – which might be oral or written, or both.
- Organizing debates: You can employ another exciting technique to make History lively for your students. Just organize some debates or group discussions in the school, based on a specific topic of History. While you do that, just bear it in mind that students would perform better if the subject is according to their choice. This is sure to motivate even the worst History students by making them participate in the event. When somebody presents his personal viewpoint on a subject, and his opponent gives a different opinion, others will think more critically about a Historical event or character. This would enable them to attain a very deep understanding and idea of their lesson.
There is another reason why debates and discussions would compel students to know their chapters thoroughly. For, who does not like winning an interesting debate competition?
- Making events-graph: Studying History can be more interesting if teachers encourage students to create an ‘events graph’ of the events in the curriculum. Just give them a timeline consisting of the important historical incidents and ask them to assess their significance. Of course, the assessment would have to be based on some criteria.
For instance, students can mention how many lives were affected by the event? How many people were killed or saved by it? And, so on. You can even add questions like did the event have short-term or long-tern consequences. It really helps pupils memorize and understand chapters more easily.
Why not employ these popular tricks during your next History class? Just do it, and watch your class come alive. Forget about bored students, you would actually find students fascinated by it.
So, guess it’s time for some really, really thrilling History lessons friends!
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