For many world history and Asian history teachers, Indian history presents problems. It is rarely taught in lieu of a more European-centric history but even when it is, students walk away not able to tell you the major time periods of Indian history. However, Indian history is rich and vibrant and oh, so interesting.
Don’t Be Scared
I have no academic evidence to back up this statement but I think the biggest reason teachers skip most Indian history is because they cannot pronounce the names.
And they are difficult. I have problems with them. But don’t be scared. You now live in the information age and the amount of Indian history with pronunciation is available at your fingertip.
Start here: Indian History Pronunciation Guide available for free in my TpT shop.
- Be honest with your students about the difficulties in pronouncing the names. It gives them an ease to know that it is difficult and will take practice.
- Say them slowly. There is no reward for saying them quickly like a native speaker and it doesn’t mean you can’t teach the history just because you say Mahajanapadas slowly. Who cares? It matters more that you say it and you say it as well as possible.
There is more to it than the Indus River Civilizations and the British
The Indus River civilizations are super cool to learn but Indian history doesn’t just encompass this and the British period. The largest empire in the world was Indian. Some of the world’s greatest advancements and inventions were India. Some of the world’s most important religions are Indian.
Don’t skip these things because focusing on the British is easier or less intimidating.
Especially if you are a new teacher or new to world or Asian history approach Indian history like you would teaching. Chunk it into smaller bits and become comfortable with aspects of the history. Sure, many teachers would say this is a horrible idea because you are probably leaving out entire parts that students need to know but there are too many teachers that won’t teach it at all.
Concepts to learn:
- Important people and rulers
- Significant events
- Technological advancements
Focusing on specific time periods is helpful to teachers to keep it organized but also helps you narrow down to the most important aspects of the time periods.
You can also visit my TpT store to see what I have available. Indian history is a focus of mine and I have several completed resources, including a few games, and many more in various stages of completeness.
For new teachers or beginners in world or Asian history, may I suggest two items in particular?
First is the Asian History Timelines resource. You get three Asian history timelines (Indian, Japanese, and Chinese histories) and two different sizes to choose from. These print beautifully and are useful decorations in your classroom.
But mostly, they are great helpers when you try to display time to your students. Ancient history in Europe is different from ancient history in India or China. The middle ages are different from Japan. These timelines help illustrate the history of these amazing cultures and is a constant visual to help your students learn. (Have them laminated for longevity)
Second, the Can You Pass It? Indian History resource is perfect to test yourself on what you know. Teachers do not like to admit that they may not be prepared to teach a subject but we have to move on from that. Plus, you may surprise yourself and do better than you expect.
But what I love best about this $2 resource is the fact that it is a guide to the entire year of Indian history. Also, you can give students the resource as an end of year study guide to help them on their end-of-course exams, AP exams, or final.
Creating new products takes time and I have plenty that I am working on, including some primary source reading lessons that will be Common Core Aligned (if that matters to you). Keep an eye out for them in the spring. Better yet, follow my store in order to get the notification of new products.
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