Teaching History: The Importance of Analyzing Students' Different Learning Styles

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The study of history depends heavily on the way it is written. Events in history have been conveyed in many different forms, some being more factual, while others contain a story within the facts in order to spark an interest for the reader. The different styles of writing and the way you retain the information can facilitate or debilitate the quality of the information remembered and the quantity of information remembered.

The opening lines of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City create a picture of the era. "How easy it was to disappear: A thousand trains a day entered or left Chicago...The women walked to work on streets that angles past bars, gambling houses, and bordellos... But things were changing. Everywhere one looked the boundary between the moral and the wicked seemed to be degrading (Larson 12)." Although the minimal amount of pictures debilitates the visual development of readers, thorough descriptions of the setting prove to be a strong factor. Part of learning is visual and providing some figure display of information is extremely beneficial. Furthermore, by getting to know the characters, you begin to understand the lifestyle, thoughts, and feelings of the time period, which would allow you to comprehend the information as you were making analogies to connect the era together. Historical novels tend to teach more of the personal side of history. For instance, the tragedy of the Titanic sinking was revealed through the main character, David Burnham's experience. "That night, in the silence of Burnham's stateroom, as somewhere to the north, the body of his last good friend drifted frozen in the strangely peaceful seas of the North Atlantic, Burnham opened his diary and began to write. He felt an acute loneli...

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...on the American colonies, especially those in New England settled by English Puritans...(Adventure Tales 38)," can bring different aspects of history that may not be seen with just the facts. The connection between what happened in England with the outcome in America is visualized with maps, drawings, and diagrams (Adventure Tales 38) help to enforce the information stated in the short passages. Similar to the narratives, cartoons tell a story. "And so it was that England began founding North American colonies in 1607. A century later, in 1708, the English colonies became British colonies (Adventure Tales 33)." Relaying historical information in story format helps with the chronological information and cause and effect relationships. Therefore, despite sometimes only revealing main ideas and themes, cartoons still have a method of teaching important information.

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