10 Elements for Teaching History 6

6.  Recognize Forces that Affect History

When we “do history” we think in categories. The first kind of category, mentioned above, is analytical method. The second kind of category is forces.  You can use any of the analytical techniques above with any of the following. Since a five-paragraph/three point essay is the typical kind taught in middle and high school, choosing three of the following, or even three of one of the following is a good way to begin.


Social forces

Institutional Factor


Individual in History

The role of Ideas


International Organization



For example, when you teach your students to analyze “the three most significant causes for the Fall of Rome,” you would ask them to look at this list to find starting-point forces for those causes.

Social Forces, Individual in History, and Causation, perhaps could be three causes for the Fall.

Social forces=people identified themselves more with their people-group than with the nation as a whole. Individual in history=a series of weak emperors led to a distrust of leaders.  Causation=diseases and sickness led to a diminished population which led to a weakened frontier when the barbarians arrived.

Beginning with Classical Historian or Critical Thinking Company’s series in middle school, your high schooler will be better equipped to tackle these higher order analyses.

7.  Using Dates and Names Right–>

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