How can we as history teachers make our students interested in learning history?    

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When it comes to teaching History, there really needs to be a focus on other groups besides (wealthy) white males. There are many people in history who accomplished outstanding things and accomplished things just as important as that of the white males. Unfortunately, their stories are watered down, told briefly only during a certain time of year, or their stories are never told.

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First, I would argue that we cannot "make" our students be interested in history.  There is no way to actually reach every student and make him or her have an interest in history.  All we can do is to make our lessons as interesting as possible.  After that, it is up to each student as to whether he or she will actually have an interest.

One thing we can do is to try to make our lessons relevant to the lives of our students.  This is, of course, not always possible.  However, if we can explore ways in which historical events have an impact on us today, or if we can emphasize (at times) different ethnic groups' actions, we can reach more students more of the time.

Another thing that I think is vital is to avoid teaching history as a series of names and dates.  I like to tell my students that history is the story of how people in the past lived, what they believed, why they felt the way they did, and how they were like us or not like us.  I think that this is a much more interesting way to teach history.  Instead of emphasizing, for example, the dates and names of battles in WWII, we can look at the ways in which the people of the time experienced that reality.  How did the war change their lives?  How did our own ancestors participate in that war?  Why did the various countries act as they did?  Did their actions make sense?  How did the war help to make our country what it is today?

All of these sorts of questions help to make the subject seem more interesting because students can relate to people and their feelings and such much more than they can get excited about learning some facts.

 

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