Curriculum Wars: Edutainment, Employability, Critical Thinking? New Archaeological Pedagogies of Power, Knowledge and Accessibility | Wed Dec 18 09:30:00 | Room 777/80
At a time when the heritage and education sectors are both firmly in the grip of financial cutbacks, a battle ensues. It is the battle between delivering interesting and engaging content, versus providing foundations for employability, whilst also offering suitable pastoral support. Meanwhile there is an alternative view of education that it is an improving activity without the need for instrumentalization (although critical thinking may make the individual more adaptable and resilient in the face of changing skills needs). This is a challenge with a complex and interdisciplinary subject such as archaeology. Is there a need to construct an archaeological pedagogy? Or do we need to be developing multiple pedagogies to deal with and accommodate the interdisciplinary nature of archaeology?
Such interdisciplinary pedagogies need to deal with the question as to how are we expected to manage these challenges of providing an accessible rounded education to an increasingly diverse audience? Does the drive for accessibility compete with the desire to create suitable confident graduates to take up the mantle in the seemingly growing demand for industry professionals? Empowering students with knowledge and confidence could be promoted with pedagogies that can cope with the uncertainties of the current education sector. This session encourages contributors to share insights into how we continue to entice students into the sector by emphasising the wide-reaching opportunities this sector offers before they consider or reach university, and how we keep them on track into higher education given the ever-rising costs of undergraduate and postgraduate study. In these times of austerity, current trends are towards more monetarily rewarding futures. We need to identify how we meet these challenges to ensure a resilient and robust heritage sector in the future.
As part of this, theories of knowledge and power are important for archaeological purposes, and also analyses of how power and knowledge operate, are performed, and maintained in the classroom space. Diversity issues include autism, depression, gender, age and ethnicity. Support for disabilities is under financial threat, and demographic diversity may become less of a priority with increasing institutional pressures.
9:30 | Session organisers
9:35 | Don Henson, University of York
Prehistory in the curriculum: let's write a schools’ resource for the Mesolithic site of Star Carr
Teaching prehistory in schools has long been a goal of archaeologists. Now we can do this, but how? For the Mesolithic, this is challenging. The period is largely unknown and misunderstood by the public having few iconic sites and lacking monumentality. For Star Carr the challenge was to create a teaching resource that could deliver a deep understanding based on the archaeological evidence. This talk will show the approach that was taken. Come and enter the world of Neska and Mutil and their family 11,000 years ago.
9:55 | Sally Herriett, Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Bristol / Truro College, University of Plymouth
It’s Not Just About Digging Holes – Understanding The Wealth Of Opportunities An Archaeology Degree Can Present
Research has shown that the younger we engage with children the more familiar they become with a subject and the greater the chances are that they will continue with that engagement in later life. However, with the absence of any mention of archaeology in either the primary or secondary curriculum, and the removal of archaeology at A-level, how are schools supposed to appreciate and understand that studying archaeology is so much more that simply digging a hole. How can we encourage engagement that supports teaching across an increasing narrowing curriculum, whilst inspiring children and young people to see the potential of studying archaeology at university level?
10:15 | Stuart Falconer, Open University / Truro College, University of Plymouth
So, when do we learn how to dig? Employability and existing skill sets
Since the loss of A Level Archaeology, students who sign up to HE programmes often come with limited perceptions of what the subject entails. Any media will have informed them that an archaeologist’s role is surveying or digging in a trench and as such, have no existing skills relevant to the field. With an ever competitive HE marketplace it is becoming increasingly important to challenge these student preconceptions by getting them to understand and accept that the wide range of skills and knowledge they possess before arriving on the course and the different things they learn whilst on programme, can have significant real-life applications in an archaeological workplace.
10:35 | Jennie Robinson, University of Leeds
The benefits of an employability teaching model
The sea change created by introducing high tuition fees, and turning students into consumers, has benefited some departments, whilst others, including archaeology, have been severely disadvantaged by falling student numbers and hence diminished income. This paper presents my observations on employability, pedagogy and student priorities, after moving from archaeology and anthropology into a Business School.
10:55 | Session organisers
|11:10 | BREAK|
11:40 | Caitlin Kitchener, University of York
In Small Things Forgotten: PhDs, pedagogy, and teaching historical archaeology
How do you teach according to your pedagogy in a module you did not design, have four two-hour seminars to transmit important archaeological themes, and as a PhD student? The power dynamics of the learning space are complex and layered: I am both a staff member and student, I have materials to work within, and I am not necessarily teaching every group. In this paper I will discuss my experiences teaching on a four-week module block Themes in Historical Archaeology: Modern and connect them to wider experiences of PhD students who teach. I attempted to include a queer pedagogy through introducing moments of discomfort and disrupting the rhythm of the seminars.
12:00 | Caradoc Peters, Truro College, University of Plymouth
Autism -Reality & Practice
The idea of an ethnography of student cohorts is useful in analysing their needs and therefore how to teach them. Hiving off students with different conditions (or just ignoring them and hoping for the best) does not help with employability or even integration with the rest of the group. Many lecturers have limited experience of autism, Asperger’s or even prosopagnosia and other conditions that limit a student’s ability to ‘read’ other people and their experiences. They may be concerned when common modes of assessment, and the teaching that leads up to them, prove difficult or even insurmountable in achieving successful outcomes. The recent reduction in funding for learning support such as note-takers and study-advisers places the lecturers and students in a direct interface without intervening interpretation or mediation.
12:20 | Catriona Cooper, University of Cambridge / University of York
Multisensory pedagogy: listening and feeling as part of the learning process
Archaeology and museum studies are highly adaptive disciplines and quickly adopt methods, approaches and theories developed elsewhere. However, what is critical, is that the disciplines, however practical, take on a fundamentally visual focus (think viewsheds, Munsell charts and do not touch signs). However, we also know that we can experience and learn in a non-visual way. In this presentation I am going to touch on two non-visual ways of approaching elements of archaeology; through 3d printing and touch as explored at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, and through acoustic exploration developed as part of the MSc Digital Archaeology at the University of York. Through these two engagements, which I hope delegates will take part in, I will show how taking a visual approach to teaching a non-visual subject can limit our understanding and interpretation of the archaeological record. Further, that we need to develop appropriate and varied teaching strategies to impart knowledge that goes beyond the lecture, seminar or exhibition. Please be aware that this presentation will involve the popping of balloons and interactivity.
12:40 | Session organisers
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