Social studies cover a number of topics such as the history of the country, the world history, economics, government and civics. Students usually begin the study in early ages and continue over the years through high school. Social studies teach the students a number of things such as duties of a citizen and most importantly the historical events and the social concepts. Social studies is a vast area of education. It may pose problems for many students due to its diversity and the amount of information that a student is expected to grasp and retain.
There are a number of reasons why many students find the social studies texts difficult to comprehend. Many students do not have a liking for the subject of history and if there is no interest, any subject is difficult to learn and understand. Research has proved that the student’s attitude towards learning a particular subject has a huge effect on the learning and retention of the subject. Thus it largely depends on the teachers of social studies to make it more interesting in order to make the students get more involved. If it is taught only in the past contexts with no connection to the current issues the students will be least interested as there are many who hold no interest in learning about dead people and their lives.
Another problem that is faced by the students is that for many reading and understanding the complex subjects is very difficult. Most of the students may have no knowledge about the various concepts of the previous eras. Thus it is necessary that they have some background knowledge in order to make the comprehension of the subject a bit easier.
The amount of information such as the details and dates covered by the texts in social studies is another difficulty for the students. Students usually face difficulties remembering so many diverse pieces of information and retaining those concepts. They usually get confused and do not know what is important and what to focus on. Even the teachers usually land up rushing with the portion because of the vastness and not all students can keep up with the pace. Students who usually come from the small towns may not be able to relate to the politics and the history of the country which can again pose a problem to the students.
Social studies texts usually require the students to analyze the information and if the students do not have analytical minds they might face difficulties with the study of social studies. They should also be able to comprehend and summarize the information given in the narrative passages. Students have different reading abilities and the less able students may struggle with the amount of information. The textbooks also play an important role in the teaching of a subject. If the textbooks jump from an event to the next without any logical chain connecting them it will be difficult for the students to grasp.
Teaching techniques and the textbooks play an important role in eliminating the difficulties with the subject. The teachers should be competent and should be able to make the subject interesting and easy to understand. The reference books that are used should be written in such a way that they follow the flow of events rather than jumping from one to another making it difficult.