Benefits of Chronological Teaching

While it’s no good to just bombard students with an endless stream of names and dates, that doesn’t mean the only viable teaching strategy is to do away with chronology. It can have its benefits as well.

A big factor that helps in chronological teaching is to call back to previously covered events that had an impact on the event being discussed currently. This helps students appreciate historical context and understand patterns of what people tend to do in certain situations. For instance, students can better understand why France was so determined to humiliate and incapacitate Germany after World War I if they know not only about the destruction of French cities during the war, but also the creation of the German Empire less than 50 years prior, where the French were humiliated by a military defeat followed by the proclamation of the creation of the German Empire, also at Versailles. It’s easier for students to understand some of the reasons for the differences in the American and French revolutions if they know about the divergent political systems that were cultivated for hundreds of years in these different countries. America hailed from the British tradition with a constitution and limited government as far back as the Magna Carta in 1215, while the French royalty enjoyed nearly unlimited power, and unhealthy spending habits and tax policies that built up the resentment of the peasants for centuries. Students can better understand what the Nazis were going for by calling themselves the Third Reich if they are familiar with the reigns of Charlemagne and Otto von Bismarck, high points in German history.

Chronological teaching that doesn’t just power through each event as it comes, but takes the time to connect it back to what led up to it not only helps students recognize historical patterns, but helps them retain information of many events by connecting them together in their own heads.