Lately, I have had quite a few requests to work with gifted and talented youngsters and high achievers, with bookings from as far away as Hounslow.
Archaeology is the perfect vehicle for stretching young minds, as some teachers have realised. Through archaeology we can ask basic epistemological questions – How is knowledge created? How do we know what we know about the past? Likewise, critical thinking can be practised as we assess our own interpretations and those of established archaeologists against the evidence.
My teaching is based on an amalgamation of constructivist theory and critical thinking. Essentially this means I encourage children to develop their own ideas and then through questioning, invite them to think critically about what they are thinking and saying. Rarely if ever do I say “No, that’s wrong”, but neither do I leave them with beliefs that border on the ridiculous or which some might say, let’s face it, are wrong – ideas such as humans and dinosaurs living together, or aliens having a hand in the construction of Stonehenge.
It is also not difficult to deliver workshops, over a day or over a number of sessions, that develop and progress skills, both thinking skills and practical ones. I know how much teachers like progression! And don’t forget (as if you could) – Archaeology is also fun!
One last thing: whilst archaeology is the perfect vehicle for high achievers it is also perfectly suitable for those with learning difficulties, and all of those in between! I will concentrate on this in another post sometime…