Teaching history to high school students with learning disabilities (LDs) can be challenging. If we consider the main skills needed to be successful, it becomes easy to understand why students with LDs can struggle considerably with the subject.
Success in the history class requires:
- a significant capacity for memorizing and recalling information,
- the use of a specific and extensive vocabulary,
- the use of concepts and underlying conceptual structures,
- the ability to read multiple texts in order to learn and construct new knowledge,
- the fact that a lecture format is often used to teach history and that, in lectures, information is delivered at a faster pace than in other teaching formats, and
- the use of more complex and specific comprehension strategies.
Luckily, there are many strategies secondary teachers can use to help their students with LDs make progress and attain success in the subject.
Simple changes in your teaching can increase students’ comprehension of concepts. Consider integrating the following into your teaching practice:
- The identification of clear learning objectives;
- A systematic review of content;
- Questions throughout the teaching process; and
- A guide for note-taking.
(Okolo & Ferretti, 2013)
The following sections provide more strategies for supporting students with LDs to learn history.