Why Is Social Studies So Boring? (11 Reasons Why)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

Social studies is a field that deals with human relationships and behavior. Students are usually taught social studies in kindergarten and up to high school.

That said, social studies is often divided into history, geography, economics, and politics. So why is Social Studies so boring? Keep scrolling to find out!

Why Is Social Studies So Boring?


1. Students Find It Irrelevant

Most young students find social studies boring as it’s not relevant to them. They’d rather focus on their current social situation than on other humans’ behavior and past events.

Students can’t find the connection between their lives and other occurrences. For example, what do young kids have to do with the Civil War or the political parties? They just don’t care.

Here comes the teacher’s job to make a link between their students and the past. Teachers need to explain what other people did, at what time they did so, and why it happened.

Storytelling is one of the most successful ways to make learning more relevant to someone’s life.

Students’ motivation and interest in social studies are usually developed by relating present events to topics in their lives.

2. Boring Teaching Methods

Unfortunately, many social studies teachers aren’t working hard to make it less of a boring subject. They’re perpetually reading the given material in a monotonic voice.

Not to mention the endless amount of boring videos they play for the class. After all, students feed off the teacher’s energy, and teachers should be passionate about what they teach.

As a result, students use different coping strategies like reappraising and evading to deal with boredom.

Teachers’ passion highly affects the interaction of students with the lesson. Consequently, the more the teacher is passionate about something, the more likely students will enjoy the class.

It’s a sure thing that unique teaching methods like humor, storytelling, and cooperative learning are not to be reckoned with.

3. No Activities & No Involvement

Other subjects like math and science include various kinds of pretty interesting activities. Students measure objects, perform scientific experiments or even play around with geometric figures.

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Social studies, however, has no activities or involvement. Other than field trips to historical places, governmental institutes, or nature reserves—there’s not much to do.

Even those school outings aren’t always available in some schools, so using in-class learning activities is a necessity.

Simulations, plays, skits, talk shows, and jigsaw games are all perfect examples of activities that encourage active learning.

4. Passive Learning

Students are most times, either reading or listening to their teacher. That’s passive learning.

According to Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience, you only remember:

  • 10% of what you read
  • 20% of what you hear
  • 30% of what you see
  • 50% of what you see and hear
  • 70% of what you say and write
  • 90% of what you do

That explains why reading or listening to your teacher doesn’t help as much as getting involved in discussions and experiments.

Students understand and retain more information by actively talking, writing, and doing.

Interacting and brainstorming with students often make them more alert. In turn, teachers will notice their students actively learning and becoming interested in the topic.

5. Too Many Names And Dates

Not all students have the ability to memorize names and dates.

Take history, for example, there are too many important dates mentioned there. Remembering them can be quite overwhelming.

For each event that has happened over the years, there are several prominent figures that students need to know by heart.

Not to mention geography and the great deal of rivers, mountains, states, and lakes that students have to keep track of.

Even psychology, politics, and economics have their fair share of information to retain.

6. Extensive Content

Extensive Content

Social studies can be a lot. It involves too much reading. These books are so huge and intimidating, that students oftentimes get repelled by them.

There’s just too much content to go through, that teachers aren’t able to squeeze in other different or more engaging activities.

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Curriculums need refining and teachers need to teach less, teach better, and teach smart.

Perhaps incorporating other sources, in addition to the book, would make the learning process more interesting. For example, videos, articles, simulations, and podcasts.

7. Not As Interesting As Other Subjects

Social studies is simply not as interesting as math or science. It doesn’t involve solving equations or looking at cells under the microscope.

Students aren’t interested in learning about people, most of whom are probably dead. They have to study to pass a 6-page test about the information they’re never going to need.

According to the Science Education Databook (1980), only 3% of 9yr old students named social studies as their favorite subject compared with 48% naming math and 24% naming science.

What’s more interesting is that the percentage increases as students age.

Meaning that the older the students get, the more they find social studies to be interesting.

8. Students Think It’s Not Important

Students often find other subjects like science, math, and English more important because they’re preparing them for their future careers.

As for social studies, students don’t get why it’s important and what use it has for their upcoming life achievements.

A big number of young students aren’t interested in knowing more about history, historical events, or politics.

If students are sitting there with no idea what’s happening, they get bored. Human beings of all ages usually shut down when they don’t understand something.

9. Lack Of Vocabulary

Some students lack the vocabulary necessary to understand social studies. These students happen to score low grades simply because they’re unable to narrate the events.

It’s the teacher’s role to train and help their students who are struggling with complicated vocabulary by breaking them down into simpler words.

10. It’s Too Complicated

Social studies is all about studying the economic condition, the past, and the political system of the country we’re living in. For some students, this can be too complicated and therefore boring.

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History, with information about the violence, betrayal, victories, and defeats of the past, can be too much. Not to mention, economics with the endless talk about our country’s resources.

There’s also geography with specifics about the earth we live in. Additionally, there’s politics with all the details about the world’s system, leaders, and governments.

These elements can indeed be too complicated for certain students or age groups to comprehend. That’s why breaking down the information into simpler pieces helps a lot.

11. It’s Repetitive

Numerous students find social studies boring because it’s repetitive. It’s just the same every year. They study the same information over and over, each year with a few extra details.

Schug, Mark C. did a survey of 6th and 12th-grade students back in 1982. This survey revealed that the majority of students found social studies boring for different reasons.

Those reasons included it being “too far from their experience, too detailed, or too repetitious.”

History, geography, economics, and even politics have so much more fun topics that are usually overlooked for the sake of other boring monotonous topics.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why English class is so boring, why school is so boring, and why homework is so boring.

Conclusion

According to Schug, Mark C.’s research, only 17% of the surveyed students chose social studies as the most important subject.

Many of the reasons why students find social studies boring can be avoided. Simply put, teaching it needs better strategy implementation and a tiny bit of effort from the teacher’s side.

Author

  • Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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