As a student, how often did you sigh at the daunting sight of the seemingly never-ending list of dates, names of battles fought, names of the countries that fought in the battles, names of the victors and the chunk of territory they wrested from the vanquished? As a teacher, you also moan and groan when you correct the answer scripts of students who seem to have no patience whatsoever for either numbers or names, and because history is like mathematics in that manner, you fail the students with a long sigh.
True, students in middle school need to develop the patience to wade through dates and names in order to score a good grade. But for the teacher or the parent who would like to make the memorization fun, well, resort to Bingo. Help students realize it is a game, a game that actually determines their fate in the tests or the exams!
Take for example this worksheet on World War II from the following website: http://studenthandouts.com/01-Web-Pages/2014-04/world-war-ii-timeline-worksheet.html.
The worksheet lists the major events that took place from 1931 to 1945, and the task of the students is to match the event with the year. The few, diligent, hard-working students dive readily into such worksheets to test their knowledge of dates and names, but the majority of the less willing students choose the dates haphazardly, hoping that lady luck will favour them.
There are a wide variety of resources ‘out there’, so the student has access to information of every kind. In view of this, most teachers feel that they are redundant; however this is not true because the function of the teacher is now to also present or gift wrap the package available on the Internet in as appealing or acceptable a manner as possible.
So what creativity does the teacher resort to? Does the teacher create a bingo card like the following? Does she then read out the questions and have students number the answers as Q 1, Q 2, etc.? For example, does the teacher say: Question 1: Year in which Japan changes the name of Manchuria to Manchukuo and hope that students write 1 next to 1932? Does the teacher go through all the 15 questions and desperately pray that students become better listeners even if they may not correlate the date with the event?
The author is a teacher educator and language trainer based in Hyderabad. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.