5 Reasons Students Hate History AND What You Can Do To Change That!

Students hate History. It's a fact! Teachers all around the world hear the complaints from students about the content area, and many students shut down as soon as they enter the History classroom as a result of this [often] unexplained hatred.

5 Reasons Students Hate History and what you can do to change that! These 5 tips can transform your middle or high school classroom to help you counter that myth about the History subject area. I bet you can guess the top reason! #history #teachinghistory #socialstudies #lessonplans #lessons #teaching #teachers #students #middleschool #highschool #teachingsocialstudies #ccss #ncss #standards #iteach678 #iteachhs

So, why do students hate history?  The top 5 reasons students hate History are not a secret. We've all heard these excuses [or justifications] over and over. It's how we choose to respond to them that matters.

Next time you have a student claim they are not interested in your course for one of the following reasons, just counter with the suggested responses or lessons!
  1. History is BORING!
    • Any subject can be boring if it is not taught in the right way. Counter with games, interactive lessons, and topics of study that will change their mind! Teach the controversies of history. Introduce the hidden History that raises eyebrows. And allow students choice in what or how they study the past. Make it fun, make it engaging, and make it important to learn.
  2. History is just about dead people.
    • Many History teachers only teach WAMP (White Anglo Male Protestant) History. They leave out the stories of women and minorities. More importantly, some leave out the social History that influences the political changes that make up most standards. Bring out the life in your History lessons and make it more modern with activities that allow students to see the lessons in the here and now.  Don't simply recite the old adage that we need to learn from History to not make the same mistakes; instead let your students walk into the past to make that conclusion for themselves.
  3. History is just the memorization of people, places, and dates.
    • History should never [just] be memorization. Learning to think historically allows us to apply those lessons of the past to our modern time and modern problems. Addressing the bigger picture in every era not only makes it less about the details, it enhances the lesson to make it more engaging. And the bonus: The big picture is easier to remember, compare, and relate. 
  4. History is all lecture and text reading.
    • Teaching strategies must be matched to the students in your classroom. If you are only teaching from a text or lecturing 24/7, you will lose your students at the beginning of the year and never get them back. Change things up. Use Walking Tours, Archeology Digs, Scavenger Hunts, Internet Activities, Think-Pair-Share variations, Jigsaws, and other co-operative lessons to keep learning alive in your classroom. The textbook is just one tool and lecture is just one strategy. Be sure to add in many other tools and strategies to reach all of your students and keep them engaged. 
  5. History is not relevant. I'll never use History in my lifetime!
    • This is 1-4 combined! Don't let this happen in your classroom! History is relevant. Look at our current political climate. Look at the world around us and the need for students to understand different cultures. Look at the opportunities for travel and international relationships that our students will have IF they learn about others and the way our world has formed over time. Teach them to think through History's lens, applying the lessons of the past to the problems of today.  And encourage them to be knowledgeable about our world. When we only know what is right before us, we never see outside of our box. 
History is a dying subject area. It is being pushed further and further out of our schools and is constantly demeaned by our legislators and by those who create the assessments that steer our students toward "success."  Battle this!  Teach History in ways that will engage our students, in ways that will keep them asking questions, and with the understanding that it will help them find explanations for those questions they ask.

5 Reasons Students Hate History and what you can do to change that! These 5 tips can transform your middle or high school classroom to help you counter that myth about the History subject area. I bet you can guess the top reason! #history #teachinghistory #socialstudies #lessonplans #lessons #teaching #teachers #students #middleschool #highschool #teachingsocialstudies #ccss #ncss #standards #iteach678 #iteachhs
Yes, History is all about the past. But, it is also the door to our future. Teach that to your students, so they can pass it on!

Happy Teaching!
Michele Luck

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