There are several ideas that could determine the best approach for teaching United States History. It is imperative that methods be utilized that will ensure that students are engaged throughout the entire course, not just the first lesson. By using tips that are guaranteed to keep course material interesting and that encourages active participation, teachers at every grade level will be successful in teaching their students. Students will not only enjoy learning about U.S. History, but will probably be more likely to retain the knowledge when the classroom atmosphere and methods used while teaching are more interesting.
Teaching U.S. History must utilize an interdisciplinary approach
Nothing is more boring in a classroom, whether in second grade or the second year of college than to have a teacher read from a textbook or force students to read from the textbook aloud and that monotone, boring tiresome reading is the entire approach in the classroom, other than taking quizzes and exams.
In order for a teacher to be effective in teaching a United States history class, an interdisciplinary approach is imperative. Of course, state and local educational governing bodies require certain material to be taught and for there to be tests given to students. That does not mean that the coursework has to be mundane and so boring that little to nothing is retained and students loathe going to class. A mundane and singular approach to teaching U.S. History may result in poor performance on exams in addition to poor retention of vital knowledge of the history of the United States.
Students are not bored out of their mind or falling asleep in classes where the approach and material is interesting and fun! It will be at the teacher’s discretion, although within the guidelines set forth by the school system, what interesting approaches to use when incorporating the interdisciplinary approach.
Instead of just using the textbook, additional materials such as interesting and fun library books could be used. Films that are upbeat could help teach United States history, as can materials obtained from the internet. Role-playing in the class might also be an idea. The direction of the addition of an interdisciplinary approach will depend on several factors.
Being age appropriate in teaching U.S. History is imperative
When using the interdisciplinary approach, how you go about it and exactly what additions you make to the required textbook will depend upon the age of the student. While it may be fun and totally age appropriate to make an Abraham Lincoln hat and beard for the eight year old, it would not be appropriate for the high school senior. Make sure all the ideas incorporated in teaching United States history is age and grade appropriate.
For advanced high school students, active and lively classroom discussion and debate, films and even humor can be utilized so that students are actively engaged. Projects relative to the material, as well as independent or group research may be beneficial.
Allow flexibility when teaching U.S. history
Allowing students some flexibility in their projects and research will give students the ability to research an area or time period in U.S. history that is of particular interest to that student. When the teacher dictates everything that goes on in the learning process, students can feel stifled. Allowing students to use their creative juices will most likely result in students having the desire to learn even more about U.S. History.
Allowing creative and critical thinking is important
Whether the subject matter is the Founding Fathers, Colonial America, Civil War, U.S. Presidents, or an event or time period in U.S. history, allowing input and discussion from the student, as well as individual project or research work beyond the words in the textbook encourages creative and independent thinking.
When the teacher allows active participation and open discussion, as well as creative, flexible options such as films, art, lively debate and humor, students will undoubtedly be much more relaxed, interested in learning about United States history and will most likely carry that information and knowledge forward, to always be remembered and to reflect upon later in life.