History teachers and students know that knowledge of dates, names, and major events is not a guarantee of a good understanding of history. We want our students to leave the history classroom with a deeper understanding of what processes drive current events, what patterns predict the course of revolutions, what factors serve as catalysts for social change. The FOH approach to teaching history capitalizes on natural learning patterns by using multimodal learning techniques and repetition.
Studies of learning patterns and neurological studies have shown that learning and retention are improved if information is communicated in more than one mode. In the FOH approach, the student is presented with the same information in spoken, written, and visual forms. Because it combines textual, diagrammatic, and auditory modes of input, the method is effective for both visual and auditory learners.
The FOH method also makes retrieval of information more efficient. The information is presented to the student in different ways which also means it is repeated at least three times, a technique that is known to enhance learning.
Over the course of two years, this systematic approach to learning history succeeds in teaching students to think of history as an intricate web of cause and effect and not as a string of isolated incidents and personalities.