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A PHENOMENOLOGICAL APPROACH TO LEARNING ARCHAEOLOGICAL THEORY

Imogen E. E. Wood Department of Archaeology, University of Exeter Exeter, EX4 4QE, UK Email: Iw206@ex.ac.uk

Abstract It has been suggested that to realize the new era of theoretical archaeology, a critical focus on how it is taught, to a new generation of archaeologists is required. The unwitting archaeology student is seemingly burdened with this responsibility by the collective need in academia to meet this challenge. Therefore, the way in which theoretical archaeology is introduced to students in higher education is of great relevance. The majority of universities prefer an historical structured approach that presents a chronological narrative portraying individual epochs. This infers a past tense giving the impression that the interpretive archaeologies are static facts within immovable boundaries and not the active concepts they should be. How then can we expect students to gain a personal stance and contribute towards dialogues capable of producing a new era of theory? This paper suggests a practical teaching methodology that could foster an environment capable of unleashing a long awaited revolution! The methodology is intended to foster an environment conducive to innovative perspectives in interpretive archaeology. It is suggested here that a dialectical humanist approach towards enabling an understanding of theoretical archaeology through collaborative learning could be a valid and productive approach. Archaeological theory has been defined by higher education guidelines as being informed by self-reflection. Therefore, a truly relational pedagogy that incorporates self-reflection enabling a process of self-guided enquiry through discursive methods should be attempted if archaeological theory is to be comprehended.

Introduction The need for dialogue on new directions in archaeological theory has been a growing concern since it entered the twenty-first century. The immediate climate of dialogue exemplified in conferences titles such as the The Death of Archaeological Theory? (Bintliff & Pearce 2006) perhaps supports this idea, as do comments in papers such as Does archaeological theory exist? (Johnson 2006b:130). On attending an apparent post-mortem to find out if theory was indeed dead, the speakers kept returning to the conclusion that the responsibility should fall on the new generation of archaeologists. Perhaps because that is how it was done in their generation, there was a distinct feeling amongst postgraduates of well get on with it. As a result, most of us shrank in our seats. Returning to Matthew Johnsons proposition, he suggested that to realise the new era of theoretical archaeology, a critical focus on how it is taught to a new

generation of archaeologists is required (2006a:170). A review of whether its dissemination is successfully encouraging this aim is then needed, as the unwitting archaeology student is seemingly burdened with this responsibility by the collective need in academia to meet this challenge. Therefore, the way in which theoretical archaeology is introduced to archaeology students is of great relevance. There is an implicit undercurrent in archaeological departments of anticipation for this new era. It has been suggested by some that students are being crushed by personal stances, or dominant theories, and asks for diversity and synthesis to arrive at an evaluation stage through challenging debates and its application in the field. How then should archaeological theory be introduced and taught to undergraduates? This paper suggests a practical teaching methodology that could foster an environment capable of instigating a long awaited revolution! The development of archaeological theory has been attributed to scholastic revolution as a result of students questioning how archaeological material was being interpreted. Michael Shanks at TAG 2008 described the passion that he and Christopher Tilley experienced when they realised that things had to change, and it was obvious to them where the inspiration should come from (TAG 2008 Taking a leaf out of Shanks and Tilleys book). He felt that his academic environment at the time was not exploring the full range of potential interpretive tools available within the social sciences, and that any attempt was frowned upon by his superiors (TAG 2008). It is perhaps true that whilst the environment at Cambridge may seem overwhelmingly elitist, on a more intimate level, it can be an inclusive positive environment. This exemplifies the point that a broader overview often impacts on a students concept of a subject, even if the intention is quite the opposite. On finishing his qualification, he set out excited about archaeology, not just by the subject he had studied, but also by the new archaeological theory emerging from his contemporaries. One could suggest that if it was not for the complacency he had experienced in academia, he may not have been so driven towards conceptual revolution. It was his determination to push against the established interpretive front that motivated and inspired them both to write two of the most influential books in contemporary theory (Shanks & Tilley 1987a, 1987b). In my own experience as an undergraduate, I remember my first lecture given by Matthew Johnson for the core module Advanced Method and Theory and being told the whos who of past and present archaeological theoreticians. After two hours of hearing about conceptual archaeological revolutions; words I had never heard of, or could pronounce, (including the names of the theoreticians), an open academic floor was presented upon which we were encouraged to make our mark. The overt intention of the module was to open up archaeological theory, encouraging the class to make up their own minds and take the academic initiative. I came away from the lecture feeling empowered and ready to take on the challenge, conversely, I gained the impression that my contemporaries felt a little intimidated. It was gratifying to think that we had been offered the floor, but it seemed to be on the top of Everest and the journey would take more than a judicious use of a thesaurus and some philosophy journals. Unfortunately, this resulted in some level of confusion and perceived academic elitism amongst the students which created a general dislike to the module, and most gave up engaging with the core themes before they began. The confusion was exacerbated when my contemporaries and I started reading in an attempt to find examples from the varied viewpoints of culture-historical, processual and postprocessual archaeology. We were immediately confronted by references to structuralism, agency, cognitive-processualism, hermeneutics, phenomenology and semiotics. It became clear that this was not just a part of archaeology but a parallel universe within it, worthy of its own degree. It has since become apparent that this is a

typical view amongst archaeology undergraduates in departments across the country, suggesting that archaeology is theory with material culture in it. The majority of my class rushed to buy Matthew Johnsons book Archaeological theory, an introduction (Johnson 1999), which I believe sold out swiftly. It was heralded as the theory bible, if not for the glossary alone, and the proud owners felt comforted in the knowledge that now it would all make sense. The book has succeeded in making archaeological theory more accessible and manageable than the lengthy process of reading each sentence of Reconstructing Archaeology three times. It is now seen by many as a textbook perhaps due to the relative absence of books that can perform the same function. This has made it Blackwell publishings most regularly bought book and a request for a second edition has been made. This is perhaps due to the rhetoric of make your own mind up and being written in a continuous flow using accessible language. It has thus become a de facto orthodoxy. Johnson has said that this was not the conscious intention of myself as the author, but it has happened to a degree nevertheless (Johnson peers com). The unconscious mental relocation of An introduction in the title as being primary, and not its specifically situated suffix by the author, typifies its conceptual location in the minds of the readers. On speaking to undergraduates today it is clearly regarded with great reverence and heavily relied upon. However, not all students are as complimentary; the Facebook internet group entitled I fucking HATE Archaeological Theory with the front cover of Archaeological Theory, An introduction as its emblem, seems to go against this consensus. The reason for this groups strong views can be attributed to the way their archaeological theory module was being taught. The founder of the site said that, if your going to read to us from a book then why do we have to be in lecture? The general opinion that the lecturer was reading from Matthew Johnsons book and a perceived lack of enthusiasm in its presentation, seems to have a profound effect on their empathy with the subject matter. Interestingly, the tone of the entries changed dramatically when a new member of staff was given the module, resulting in exceedingly positive reviews and leading to the abandonment of the Facebook group site. The internet forum Facebook presents an interesting range of views from undergraduates upon the topic of archaeological theory and its contributors, and provides an unorthodox insight not likely to appear on a module feedback form. At one institution, an archaeological theory module had a dedicated a Facebook discussion group, set up by undergraduates during their revision period to pool their thoughts and conclusions whilst reading. This group was a success and enabled students to feel involved in the material they were reading through informal discursive channels, something which the seminars and group discussions in class had not effectively achieved. Archaeological theory is often dreaded by students due to its bad reputation as being an impossible module to tackle and the necessary breadth of reading required. This is not an opinion restricted to the UK, theory modules are equally dreaded by students in America, Kris Hirst comments that the class which is do-or-die, which is used to weed out the non-serious student, which is a tough, tough, tough course, is Archaeological Theory (archaeology.about.com/mbiopage). An interesting American approach to the problem, adopted by some universities, is the inclusion of a semifictional novel to the reading list called Death by theory written by Prof. Adrian Praetzellis from Sonoma State University (Praetzellis 2000). A tale of murder, mystery and unusual artefacts is interwoven with the main conceptual viewpoints in archaeological theory; setting them within a familiar context, and with characters that empathise with how confusing theory can be (Praetzellis 2000). The main character Dr. Hannah Green and her undergraduate nephew provide an inclusive text which guides the student through the subject. This has proved a success with American

students, perhaps demonstrating that an empathy with both the subject matter and the academic presenting it is important. Interestingly, the most positive reviews in the Facebook group pages are of past and present theoreticians from their students. The Bruce G. Trigger Memorial Group has around 80 members worldwide, ranging from prominent academics to current students influenced by his work. The group includes many comments from members who had studied under him and who now, teaching theory themselves, model their approach on how he introduced it to them. This evidence suggests that the method and attitude towards teaching archaeological theory is the greatest factor in the development of future theoreticians. The passion and deep sense of personal involvement that archaeological theory inspires cannot be taught in the same method as module on Bronze Age Europe or Technology and Archaeological Materials. These subjects have facts and objective answers that can be substantiated by data, therefore, students presuppose that theory must be the same and become understandably confused when they cant find them. The traditional module structure appears to give students the wrong impression from the start and possibly gain the wrong impression about what theory is. It should perhaps have its own unique methodology that flows through a degree programme from its inception, positively reinforcing students understanding of other thematic modules. The formation of modules of any programme in higher education essentially depends on the guidelines set out by the bodies responsible for the quantitative and qualitative review of the essential themes required. Is this then the cause of the current state of archaeological theory? Or are opportunities to develop new methodologies in perceiving archaeology not being taken? In the UK, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) safeguards and helps to improve the academic standards and quality of higher education. A report produced by the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education (The Dearing Report) identified the need for a concise description of the intended outcomes in higher education programmes (QAA 2006:4). It was recommended that programme specifications be outlined to enable students to make an informed choice and as a means of demonstrating how the intended learning outcomes would be achieved, both for the student and external audits (QAA 2006:1). The programme specifications are intended to demonstrate how the combined modules form the whole qualification (QAA 2006), and aid departments in constructing their own degrees. They suggest that a programme specification is not simply an aggregation of module outcomes; it relates to the learning and attributes developed by the programme as a whole and which, in general, are typically in HE more than the sum of the parts(QAA 2006:2). The programme specifications, however, must be seen in context with the subject benchmark statements and the qualifications frameworks which, combined, give a complete picture of the course (QAA 2006:2). It is the subject benchmark statement which represent the expectations of a programme and the general skills of the graduate (QAA 2006:2). The compulsory elements of a programme for a given field of study, such as archaeology, rest with the subject benchmark statements which outline its essential characteristics and nature (QAA 2007:ii). This external source of reference provides guidance to convey the learning outcomes, but does not form a specification of the curriculum for a subject. Whilst instilling these points, subject benchmark statements allow for flexibility and innovation in programme design and can stimulate academic discussion and debate upon the content of new and existing programmes within an agreed overall framework(QAA 2007:ii). Therefore, the scope for incorporating new attitudes towards archaeological themes, such as theory, within a programme is actively encouraged, thus presenting an opportunity to development how it is taught. Archaeology has been taught in higher education institutions from the early years of the twentieth century. Its development and popularity over this long period

has resulted in around 50 current institutions in the UK offering degrees and qualifications in archaeology; which combined offer 433 programmes (including single and combined honours) for 2008 (www.archaeology.ws/degrees). There are 28 departments dedicated to archaeology from which many academics have contributed to the benchmark statement providing an accurate summary of archaeology. In the formulation of archaeology programmes, the QAA recognises the importance of the practical application of its knowledge base and skills, but also understands that the interplay between methods and theories should be central (2007:2). There are four founding elements of an archaeological programme that have been outlined by the QAA benchmark board as essential. They comprise an understanding of the historical and social, the ethical and professional, the theoretical, and the scientific context of archaeology (2007:2). It is here that the foundation of teaching theoretical archaeology in higher education is intended to begin. The multidisciplinary mix of sociology, anthropology and, to some extent, philosophy is an understandably daunting prospect in attempting to condense it into one module. However, as the QAA suggests, The vitality of theoretical debate within the subject is one of its intellectual attractions as an HE subject (2007:4). It is then this unique variety available within archaeology that initially draws students to the subject, offering a self-reflexive view of the past uniquely experienced through material culture. The benchmark statement referring to archaeological theory is thus of great interest in highlighting how academia has established a definition, and outlined the conceptual aims and approaches that should be adopted in teaching the subject. Archaeological theory is informed by self-reflection: consideration of the material basis of archaeology, the contested nature of objects, the social relationships that are spun around them and the people who use and interpret them, have led to the conception of the past as an active, rather than a neutral activity, to 'facts' which are theory-laden and to issues of interpretation which cannot be ignored or trivialised because they are 'just' in the past. (2007:4). The necessary relevance of archaeological theory in understanding its use as an interpretive tool within the process of archaeology must also be explored. Social life is now conceived as interconnected, a network of relationships rather than simply a set of formal structures and institutions which need describing. Archaeological theory addresses the question of change and variation within such complex webs. It draws on the immense archive of past societies preserved through material remains to provide interpretations and to seek understanding of variation through comparison. (2007:4). These statements invoke the essence of archaeological theory and highlight the deep personal intimacy that most archaeologists feel with this aspect of archaeology. In this context, it is not just a point of view within archaeology; it is a conceptual realm through which to view the world. The concept of viewing material culture as an active material moving within social constructs and not the immobile artefacts that archaeologists dig up, challenges the students previous view of the boundary between persons and objects. This could be an exciting time of selfrealisation or a very confusing lecture for students. Again this makes the importance of getting the right message across imperative. These statements on archaeological theory must therefore be conveyed and incorporated into core modules of single honours archaeology programmes. The archaeologists that have defined theory for the QAA, are also the creators of module programmes in institutions. Admittedly, the scope of a module is wholly inadequate to convey a subject like archaeological theory. It is at this point that the scholastic imagination of academics in archaeology departments is challenged; and where the perceived importance of theory in an undergraduates understanding of archaeology is related. The juxtaposition of the benchmark statements referring to archaeological theory and a review of the current theory modules in undergraduate programmes;

perhaps unwittingly demonstrates what the message is and where it is going. The students first impression from the module titles relating to archaeological theory, are perhaps a telling indication of what academics consider the most valuable points for students to grasp. Generally, theory modules are incorporated as a core module in the second year of a three-year degree, although a very small number do incorporate them in both the first and second years. The modules are tailored to perform a required contribution for the remaining two years of their degree. The three most commonly used words in these module titles represent the main approaches towards how theory is introduced. They are in order of popularity: 1 History (development) 2 Thought (thinking, debate) 3 Contemporary (current, recent) The least common is interpretation and there is one only example which includes the word philosophy in the module title with theory; whilst combined anthropology and archaeology degrees utilise anthropology or sociology as being an inherent part of archaeology from the beginning of year one. It is unfortunate that the least common themes of modules are thought and contemporaneity which are an innate aspect of the QAA boards view of archaeological theory. Interestingly, not only are the top three key-words ranked in that order but most modules often teach archaeological theory using that structure. A historical narrative of archaeological thought appears to be at the forefront of academics minds in formulating these modules. This presents something of a paradox considering the QAA benchmark statement in relation to what modules are produced. This is surprising considering history is not the predominant message conveyed by the benchmark statement in terms of archaeological theory. It would seem that the four founding elements of theory are disproportionately represented as there is no mention of theory in a historical context. First impressions make a difference in contemporary society, as we have begun to adopt strong positions earlier on in the process of learning than in previous generations. On interviewing a group of first year undergraduates who had not yet begun their second year theory module, I asked them for their initial impression of archaeological theory in lectures and the way it was presented to them. In hindsight, this was a premature question with a predictably short answer. They had encountered some aspects of theory in their level one History of Archaeology module, but could not confidentially conclude their views on what theory was. They recounted the lists of people, places and terms that had been mentioned, such as the culture-historical period and the role of the antiquarians, as being the basics of archaeology. However, they did have an opinion of archaeological theory inferred from the mutterings of lecturers and tales of foreboding from level three undergraduates. The general consensus was that it was pointless posturing or the preserve of academics who liked jargon. Therefore, it appeared to them exclusive and not something they generally wanted to become involved with. The current methodology for teaching archaeological theory is generally presented as a chronology giving an explanation of its development within archaeology using case studies from the 19th century to the present day. In terms of an introduction to the subject this perhaps presents the students with a historical concept of theory belonging in the past. This is a vital basis for an understanding and context of archaeology in relation to other fields which dispels the popular myths that students often have on entering the subject. However, one could argue that, by introducing it as a history, you are asking for it to be understood and used like historical facts, not the active subject it should be. Geoff Carver suggests we need this historiography to form a critical base of past archaeological theory, the idea being that we need to know where we have been, before we know where we are going (Bintliff and Pearce 2006). Therefore students are given a chronological overview to be learnt

and taught in order; every archaeologist and theory is typologically labelled and assigned to a theoretical camp. Why then is theory being introduced in a historical context? There may be a number of reasons that perhaps concern the practicalities and reality of teaching this subject. The context of learning in universities is the result of a long period of historical development, the activities of which are principally circumscribed by existing practices and established educational material (Miell et al. 2002:209). The social and historical context of learning then becomes a process of enculturation (Miell et al. 2002). The motivation behind this approach is perhaps the reason and intended learning outcome of archaeological theory for students during their archaeology degree. The suggested intention is to make the student understand is that: It is a vital accompaniment to archaeological methods and interpretation of results There is a need for a historical overview to help them understand how archaeology has developed There is a need for a better understanding of how we see the past and make sense of it It is a tool to broaden their interpretive scope throughout their work especially their dissertation. There is no denying that an understanding in the development of archaeological theory is an integral part of its current state. However, this could be the preserve of other modules concerned with the history of archaeology as a whole. Another possible reason for its current form in modules is the practicalities of teaching it; a historical review has always been the easier to present and learn. This also has implications for what academics have perceived students need; we must consider if a little knowledge is more dangerous than a lot in archaeology. Perhaps the amount of information presented has been detrimental to any interpretations the students have attempted, because the thought of having to approach a theoretical perspective is too daunting. But surely, the point of asking questions is to get interesting answers, in a dynamic process of interaction, within which the imagination of students can foster the beginning of new theories. This is perhaps seen in the way it is taught, because at the end of the year The History of Archaeological Thought module has to be assessed and marked. But is this the best methodological approach for teaching archaeological theory which, as the QAA have stated, is informed by self-reflection? (QAA 2007). The popular concept of learning requires there to be answers and facts that can be learnt in a structure to be recounted if required. Therefore, it is then moulded on the expectation of an answer which, as discussed above, is already creating problems. One could suggest that the quest for an answer has crushed the imagination process and made archaeological theory static. John Barrett suggested that we are asking theory today to resolve questions, not help us think and encourage a process of enquiry, that effectively has to begin with imagination (Bintliff & Pearce 2006). The current guidelines for learning in archaeology programmes advocate this stance which partly supports Barretts view. It is suggested, that the methods used should represent the departmental research aims and interests to create a wide and diverse range of styles (QAA 2007:9). This is intended to encourage interaction between students and academics in a very specific way to the benefit of both parties (QAA 2007:9). Although this could be seen to guide the students concepts of archaeological theory from the personal stance of academics, and not incorporating a broader overview, it does achieve an important aim in creating a relational approach to learning. After all, it is all too obvious when the conveyor does not empathise with the subject they are presenting as enthusiasm is one of the greatest tools a teacher possesses. However, the current methodology is in part a product of the The era of

excellence!, due to the growing bureaucracy within educational institutions (Bingham & Sidorkin 2004:2). The pedagogical climate in higher education does not aid the development of radically new teaching methodologies, as the motivation is generally based, not on the journey, but the final product. This is because some have highlighted that the information-based economy requires higher and higher levels of education of a larger and larger proportion of the population (Bingham & Sidorkin 2004:6). The adoption of economic models from the world of business with targets, criteria and accountability have developed due to the practical concerns about education (Bingham & Sidorkin 2004). The accountability of programmes in higher education is mediated through stipulated learning aims and outcomes. These predetermine an end product conforming to what skills are perceived important for future employers, rather than developing an understanding through a process of self-guided enquiry. The higher education institutions seem to have forgotten the old adage that it is not the destination but the journey that counts, drawing the focus away from the evolution of a personality and towards a skills-based development. It has been suggested that the growing need for accountability and achievement is rapidly consuming these past views (Bingham & Sidorkin 2004:2). The demands already put upon academics in higher education make it difficult to find time for the necessary research and development of a new aspect of the curriculum, especially if the concepts or issues are unfamiliar to them (Croucher 2007:8). Croucher suggests that Action and change are often prevented by a lack of confidence about how to go about making changes to diversify the curriculum (2007:8). The nature of educational institutions has dramatically changed as they are no longer the only centres of information. The age of the internet has provided public access to most educational resources and, therefore, people are logistically in a position to teach themselves (Bingham & Sidorkin 2004). This form of appropriated learning over the internet and on computers diverts the power to the learner and removes the authoritative aspect present in schools, resulting in a sense of self satisfaction (Miell et al. 2002:201). It has been suggested that in the rush to draw in students and compete with the information age the function of educational institutions is being forgotten (Bingham & Sidorkin 2004). A re-analysis of their function suggests that it is the forging and maintaining of human relations: schools remain because education is primarily about human beings who need to meet together, as a group of people, if learning is to take place (Bingham & Sidorkin 2004:5). As human beings, we acquire reality through our relations and shared practices with other people and things; thus, without meeting and relating to other people, we cannot learn (Biesta 2004). Research has proven that it is the learners interaction and talk with other people that mediates between the learner and the world to be learned about (Miell et al. 2002:204). There has been an emphasis in recent years to rejuvenate the relational aspect of learning to provide a new approach that does not depend on the curriculum, but on developing a learning environment (Noddings 2004:vii). It has been suggested that the academic performance of a student is intimately related to their ability within the context of the social organization of the classroom (Jackson 1987). Therefore, the aim of education is to bridge the gap between the activities of the educator and those of the educated thorough interaction (Biesta 2004:12). A relational Pedagogy This has raised the profile of a relational pedagogy to foster a self-reflexive and experiential environment. This is by no means a new idea but a return to the original observations of what learning is. In a lecture given by Martin Heidegger in 1951 he

advocated the teachers were there to let the student learn and feed their own selfdirected curiosity (Rogers 1983:18). Heidegger said that Teaching is more difficult than learning because what teaching calls for is: to let learn. The real teacher in fact, lets nothing else be learned than learning(Heidegger 1968:75). Therefore, the aims of teaching and outcomes of learning can both be defined as specific forms of relations to oneself, people around the students and the larger world (Bingham & Sidorkin 2004:7). A concomitant of a relational pedagogy is student-centred learning, which together are ideally suited to introduce the concept of self-reflection and a new educational environment. The principle of student-centred learning is based on a person-centred approach to psychotherapy developed by Carl Rogers (Rogers 1983, Rogers & Freiberg 1993). Its main aim was to reorientate the student or person at the centre rather than a teacher or therapist (Rogers 1951). This requires a climate of unconditional positive regard, respect, empathy and genuine enthusiasm on the part of the teacher, thus assisting the growth and development of a human being (Rogers 1983:174). This is a tall order on the part of the teacher which falls more in line with the role of a mentor or perhaps a counsellor. It requires a lot on the part of the lecturer who can only devote a small amount of time to each module and may not be willing to devote to this level of personal involvement. However, this method has proven to achieve the aim of a truly self-reflexive process of learning, which would significantly improve a students understanding of a subject that is informed by self-reflection such as archaeological theory. Archaeological theory is ultimately more suited to student-centred learning than other topics in archaeology: such as practical methods of excavation or an understanding of the Roman Empire which intrinsically require a level of structured knowledge acquisition. It has been suggested that the self is a knot in the web of multiple intersecting relations; pull relations out of the web, and find no self (Bingham & Sidorkin 2004:6). In perceiving learning from this viewpoint it is not about finding the correct answers, but the quest for questions that inspire a students renegotiation of the self in the world. It is suggested here that the current structural historic method of introducing theoretical archaeology should be reconsidered. Instead towards a heuristic selfreflexive approach that fosters an environment in which the teacher mediates a students relationship with theories encouraging the essential element of enquiry. The difficulty in conveying the concepts supporting archaeological theory, are that it effectively requires a teaching method that encourages an awareness of oneself in the world. This is a tall order for a degree programme and is perhaps the role of a philosophy department rather than archaeology. It could be suggested that the person presenting the module has to convey an enthusiasm and personal experience of archaeological theory for students to engage with the subject. However, combined anthropology and archaeology degrees seem to cross this divide by incorporating these themes through sociology and ethnography. The use of ethnography encourages an empathic relationship with the other in the world providing a conceptual frame of reference to view past worlds and peoples. It is only through an objective understanding of the world of others that the first step towards self-reflection can begin (Thorne 1992), a stance that is central to Carl Rogers approach to learning. Learning to learn The way we perceive learning is an important part of how it is taught. There are many guiding principles that have resulted in the way we teach today, and different levels of learning experienced by a student moving from surface to deep learning (Marton and Slj 1976). Surface learning is the ability to increase ones knowledge or memory

skills and reproduce information; whilst deep learning is applying, understanding, seeing something in a different way or changing the person (Marton et al. 1997:19). The common conception of learning is a process through which knowledge is acquired. However, the concept of knowledge itself is problematic; Hadley et al suggest that: Knowledge is not primarily abstract and symbolic, but provisional, mediated and socially-constructed (2006:642). The behaviourist approach views learning as an involuntary change in behaviour as a result of stimuli (Borger & Seabourne 1966:16).This proposes that learning happens as a result of negative or positive stimuli and reinforcement which effectively changes behaviour. The cognitive and constructivist approach, views learning as a process which leads to an increase in knowledge and abilities through the building of conceptual structures (Larochelle et al. 1998). These conceptual structures are self-consciously absorbed through a deliberate process of reflection and abstraction (Larochelle et al. 1998). However, from a sociocultural viewpoint, learning is not simply due to the development of the behavioural and cognitive skills learned by an individual, but the development of an integrated socioemotional approach to the study of learning (Miell et al. 2002:210). Therefore, to understand how humans learn it is important to understand the particular interactions that serve to foster it (Miell et al. 2002:204). It has been suggested that the context in which we learn requires a process of enculturation, thus, in becoming a university student we learn to be learners (Seely Brown et al. 1989). This inherently natural conscious or unconscious adoption of established norms forms the basis of the relationship between students and teachers. Seely Brown et al. suggest that Students, for instance, can quickly get an implicit sense of what is suitable diction, what makes a relevant question, what is legitimate or illegitimate behaviour in a particular activity (1989:33). This again advocates the necessity of a learning method that deconstructs, not only the type of learner they have become, but also their ability to learn in alternative forms to enable the self-reflection required for an understanding of theoretical concepts. Rogers and the humanist movement The humanist movement has attempted to deconstruct the process of enculturation in education. Their idealistic principles of education developed in the 1970s and 1980s have had a profound effect on current trends. This approach was taken from the work of it principle founder Carl Rogerss, his concept of student-centred teaching and the freedom to learn environment, had a profound effect on teaching (Rogers 1961, 1970, 1980, Rogers & Freiberg 1993). He was a founder of the humanistic psychology movement which encouraged a divergence away from a cognitive perspective and towards a client-centred approach. His theoretical concepts have subsequently been absorbed into everyday psychological practice being the first person to recognise a shared power and respect for his patients by using the term client (Thorne 1992:44). Academics from various fields concluded that: Rogers impact on the fields of psychology, psychotherapy, education and human relations in general can be variously described as momentous, persuasive, indirect or elusive (Cain 1990:357). Although receiving little recognition during his life time, he has been hailed as one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century psychotherapy whose influence has surpassed Freud (Kirschenbaum & Henderson 1990:xiii). His relational self-reflexive approach is of great relevance in teaching archaeological theory, as his work has been extensively used in developing the concept of the self. Thorne suggests that, In his insistence on the centrality of subjective experience Rogers is in the mainstream of the phenomenological tradition, which holds the belief that each of us behaves in accordance with our subjective awareness of ourselves and the world we inhabit (Thorne 1992:25). Rogers guiding

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principal in teaching was that effective learning is a process of self-reflection and personal experience (Rogers 1961). Interestingly, the QAA state that archaeological theory is informed by self-reflection (2007:4). The two would seem to be ideally suited to his approach. Carl Rogers on teaching Rogers saw himself as a facilitator who created an environment for engagement within which the exploration and encounters with concepts could take place (Kirschenbaum & Henderson 1990). His approach recognises the whole person and intrinsic relationship between the learner, facilitator and the other (Rogers 1970). Rogers concept of the other refers to the author of the work or concept which the facilitator is trying to convey to the learner, essentially giving the text agency it is no longer static but an active member in the learning process (Rogers 1970). Engaging with the text requires an empathetic understanding of the private perceptual world of the other without becoming thoroughly conversant with it (Rogers 1970, 1980). Here in lies the problem, as it is not possible to enable the learner to fully converse with the other (Rogers 1970). However, Gadamer has argued that the act of conversation is perhaps an ideal medium, as the task of conversation is not to enter and understand the other person, but to work for an understanding and commitment to the topic (1979). He says this can not be done by getting into the shoes of the other person as, Conversation involves working to bring together the insights and questions of the different parties; it entails the fusion of a number of perspectives, not the entering into of any one (Gadamer 1979:271-273). Another important aspect of entering the world of the other is learning how to use a particular form of educated discourse (Miell et al. 2002:208). It is the view of sociocultural theorists that: an important ingredient in the development of knowledge in society is the creation of specialised forms of discursive practices that allow for a precise communication about the world in specific settings (Slj 1999:150). This requires the learner to become a member of a community of practice through the use of its language. Observations made by Rogers of the teaching in universities suggested that student talk was the largest component of their verbal interaction often in the form of giving reports and mini-lectures on an assigned topic. Rogers considered this the delegation of responsibility for monologues and the failure to instigate spontaneous conversational talk, performing no more benefits than the teacher doing it him/herself (Rogers 1983:212). It is widely acknowledged that the role of conversation is an essential part of student-centred learning and a relational pedagogy (Miell et al. 2002:204; Rogers 1970, 1980, 1983). A sociocultural understanding of how people learn demonstrates that social interaction is a fundamental part of human experience in which language is a primary cultural tool for mediating that experience in the world (Miell et al. 2002:204). However, to gain a greater understanding of the human experience other aspects must be incorporated such as the emotional and cognitive process that forms an experience. Experiential and phenomenological approaches to learning The concept of experiential learning is that there is a higher level of personal involvement because it incorporates both feeling and cognitive aspects of the learning event (Rogers 1983:20). As a result the sense of discovery is self-initiated and evaluated by the learner because the meaning is built upon the whole experience (Rogers 1983:20). Rogers also refers to this as a phenomenological approach to

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teaching (1983:166). This appropriation of learning is most readily observable in archaeological fieldwork, where students learn through a physical interaction with the archaeology. In recent years, an application of a reflective pedagogy has received a lot of attention due to its introduction to modules concerning archaeological fieldwork, specifically promoting a self-reflexive practice on archaeological field trips (www.heacademy.ac.uk/hca/archaeology). The student often returns from fieldwork a changed person, having built strong bonds amongst their contemporaries and perhaps experiencing for the first time hands-on learning. Students are encouraged to look upon their fieldwork experience and critically assess their own development in written form, an approach most programmes now include. However, this approach has not been considered in its application to class based modules, such as archaeological theory. It would seem that experiential and phenomenological learning are easier to quantify out of a classroom situation, students are able to reflect upon their experience because the learning is out of its typical context and thus is more observable. Conversely, this suggests that in a classroom context self-reflection is problematic because the setting is associated with more typical experiences of learning due to a process of educational enculturation. It is of course difficult to define an experience which is unique to an individual and perhaps should not be attempted (Fung 2006). However, in an effort to determine the student experience Dilly Fung proposes that The relationship between the actions of individuals and the ways in which they perceive the world around them is most commonly represented in everyday life through narrative through a telling of a personal story which constructs a sequence of experiences characterised in particular ways (2006:7). The approaches and ideals advocated above are not beyond the reach of undergraduates in higher education institutions, as the concept of a positive student-centred learning experience has been in action for many years. There have been many efforts made to provide a teaching environment within which experiences can be gained through a diverse range of methods. There are numerous discursive methods currently available in higher education well suited to a relational pedagogy enabling a self-reflective environment. The examples below list the most common teaching methods currently in use. Collaborative learning Student presentations Open discussion Formal debate Self-assessment /reflection on work done Peer-assessment/debriefing Learning logs Critical incident diaries Personal development planners Reflective commentaries However, most modules incorporate a combination of these methods with written assessments for the purpose of assessment, rarely are verbal assessment the primary form of assessment. There have been many reservations about using oral examinations for summative assessments in higher education, as not all students perform well in this medium and thus a combination of other assessments is often used. However, in Gunnison and Ladds approach, described below, they found that it helped the students develop their oral skills giving them self-confidence and an ability to evaluate their own work in future learning (Rogers 1983:172). In actuality, this would be a return to early methods of examination via verbal exams used at Oxford and Cambridge. However, due to expanding numbers, oral examinations were discontinued due to the time it took academics to hear all the students, this resulted in the introduction of the written exam as a quicker and more cost affective alternative. The combination of more traditional methods of written assessment has reduced the

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possibility of developing a solely discursive module with the potential to form a fully self-reflexive environment required for a relational pedagogy. A method of crystallizing both the process of self-reflection, as a result of discursive work, and a tool with which to observe the process, could be substantiated through an ongoing self-reflexive journal. The use of a self-reflexive journal has been successfully used for many years in some American institutions. An experiment carried out at St. Lawrence University in New York by Hugh Gunnison and Peter Ladd in 1979 found that the introduction of a self-reflexive workbook aided the process of self-awareness and evaluation (Gunnison 1980). The workbooks were brought to the weekly seminars and utilised at the end of the term for the purpose of self-evaluation (Gunnison 1980). When the students preformed their final oral assessment it became clear that not only did they all have different learning experiences, but that the development of an individual learning style became apparent (Rogers 1983:172). The idea of a module without an assessed written contingent seems to be an unpopular one. As I have discussed above, some subject based modules in archaeology programmes are ideally suited for a more traditional approach to structure and assessment. However, archaeological theory begs to be released from a similarly constraining historical structure in which it currently resides. Therefore, a truly relational pedagogy that incorporates self-reflection enabling a process of self-guided enquiry through discursive methods should be attempted if archaeological theory is to be comprehended. If archaeology departments are to discard the historical structure to teaching archaeological theory, the challenge is then to develop a practical methodology for a module that incorporates all the essential elements and concepts discussed above. Such a module would require a new concept of presenting and disseminating the subject, whilst providing transferable skills training and a structure that can be accredited, accountable and adhere to the stipulations set out by the QAA. It also needs to be practical within the scope of a degree programme and not require the facilitator to tackle material perhaps not familiar to them which would be detrimental to the core aim of the module. Essentially, it would require the facilitator to renegotiate their role within the learning process and their concept of a traditional structural fact based approach, towards enabling an environment for constructive interaction. It is hoped that this will encourage a process of self-reflection and self-guided enquiry in which the role of the facilitator is to mediate the relationship between the leaner and the viewpoints that form our concept of archaeological theory. A methodology is suggested below that intends to provide a module structure capable of realising the approach advocated above. It demonstrates a realistic approach to what could be thought of as idealistic and unfeasible goals. It is suggested here that a dialectical humanist approach towards enabling an understanding of theoretical archaeology through collaborative learning, debate, selfreflexive journals and verbal presentations, could be a valid and beneficial approach to both student and lecturer. The methodology includes an outline of the proposed modules structure, aims, intended learning outcomes and method of assessment. There is also a suggested structure of the primary sessions, tutorials and role of the facilitators involved, which is intended to highlight the foundations upon which the module is based. Suggested Module outline Module: Perspectives on archaeology The form of a proposed module programme below demonstrates how such an approach could enable the students comprehension of archaeological theory through

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the adoption of specific methods intended to create the environment discussed above. The structure has been specifically designed to encourage the essential elements of self-reflexive learning. The module is intended to be a core subject (30 credits) in the first year (level one) of a degree programme, but would be far more beneficial in being a required module throughout the entire degree programme. Aims The aim of this module is to develop an understanding of archaeological theory through a process of self-reflexive learning and experiential involvement with the texts. Intended learning outcomes Improve their verbal performance skills Encourage an atmosphere where ideas can be discussed Encourage debating skills, justify an argument Encourage interpretive thinking processes Assessment Students will be assessed individually as follows: Formatively: Self-reflection/assessment journals, to be submitted at the end of each term. Tutorials, one each term to discuss the development of their journals in groups. Summatively: Verbal presentation, 10 minutes performed in class to student peer-reviewed discussant panel. 20% Final verbal presentation, 20 minutes based on the exploration and critical assessment of a concept selected by the student presented to a staff discussant panel 80% Self-reflection journal is to be submitted to demonstrate the process of forming opinions. Along with any supporting notes or handouts that accompany their presentation. Division of time on module 3 hours, once a week In class: Lectures Formal presentations and debate Journal work Open discussion Out of class: Journal work on their experience of theory in other modules Tutorial with post-graduate group discussion of journal issues and self-reflection Planned group meeting to prepare for debate Nature of class structure The class will be split into groups of five to six people in which they will remain for the duration of the module. This will encourage collaborative learning with the aim of concluding views through discussion within the group. Session 1. The introduction to the module will include a short lecture followed by a discussion on philosophy and its main theorists. This will be aided by reading in groups of five excerpts from the graphic novel Action Philosophers (Van Lente & Dunlavey 2007, see www.eviltwincomics.com/ap5.php). The graphic novel provides short, accessible summaries of the most influential philosophers explaining their main concepts. The use of a pictorial narrative to convey meaning is intended to present

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concepts through a more accessible medium to enable a greater understanding of the subject. This is hoped to encourage an informal environment of discussion helping the groups to bond through conversation over the topic in a classroom situation. This will be followed by the group giving an informal description of what they have read. This lesson is intended to situate subsequent reading and discussion in the underlying principles which have affected how we see the world today and our role within it. This will be the first step in deconstructing the nature and origins of archaeological theory and developing an awareness of the self. The self-reflection journal: The journal is central to the module; it is intended to aid self-assessment and an awareness of their progress of understanding archaeological theory. It will form the basis of their final assessed presentation and the focus of the tutorial discussions. At the end of the initial session each student will be given a selfreflection journal and an explanation of its role throughout the module. It will be made clear that it is for personal viewpoints, positive or negative, and not recording notes. In the back of the journal the students will be encouraged to write down the dictionary definitions of the vocabulary or jargon used in the articles they read to form their own quick reference guide in further reading. The first thing the students will be asked to do is write down their first impressions and expectations of the module, followed by thoughts on the topics discussed during the session. The students will be given 30 minutes to write comments at the end of each session on their thoughts and impressions. The students will also be expected to use the journal to reflect upon aspects of archaeological theory encountered within all modules and reading for essays or projects. This is intended to provide them with examples of how archaeological theory has been used in practice. The journals will be written up by the student at the end of each term and submitted as a formative assignment, this is intended to insure the journal is being utilized. Sessions 2-10. In each subsequent session the groups will be given a seminal paper that outlines a viewpoint on interpreting archaeology from the early 20th century to the present day. The papers will not be presented in any chronological order or be introduced as adhering to anyone group such as: culture-historical, processual or postprocessual. It is a fundamental aim of this module structure to decontextualise archaeological theory in an effort to encourage new perspectives derived from individual stances and perceptions. This is intended to challenge the structural-historic approach and present archaeological theory as an active dynamic subject. The methodology is intended to foster an environment conducive to innovative perspectives in interpretive archaeology. This will be achieved through presentations and formal debate followed by open discussion. Each session will involve four/five groups, two groups will be given one paper and the remaining two groups a different paper. One person from one group will be given 10 minutes to present the benefits and the other group the disadvantages of the concepts introduced by the paper. The remaining four members of the groups will have formulated prior to the class one question for the opposite groups stance on the paper (Figure 1). Therefore, members of group one representing the benefits of the stance will ask questions of the group two speaker whose groups are concerned with the disadvantages. Groups three and four will repeat this process with a different paper in the same session. After all groups have given a presentation and participated in a formal debate, they will be asked to discuss all of the concepts presented in an open conversational manner. This will require a minimum of four speakers per session representing four of the groups, the remaining members of each group will have five minutes each to ask their question thus bringing the total time allotted to each group to thirty minutes. This process is aimed to last two and a half hours with thirty minutes remaining for contributing to their journals.

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Figure 1 The dynamics of group debates and role of each student.

Sessions 10-14. The final sessions will feature the final presentation from each student. The form of the presentation is the intended to be the culmination of the previous sessions using their journals to reflect upon the concepts, ideas and expectations they had during the module. The students will be encouraged to select a theoretical concept, archaeological case study or, hopefully, their own culminated viewpoint or interpretive approach; and critically assess its applicability in archaeology. The role of the lecturer As discussed at length above the role of the lecturer in this situation should be minimal. Their only concern should be to raise issues that will further the discursive potential of the session on a given paper. The role of the tutor/mentor The role of the tutorials in the module will be to focus attention on the material in their journals in a free conversational way. These should be mediated by a post-graduate mentor who will provide a less-formal and intimate environment for each group to discuss their personal views, conclusions and observations. The students will attend a tutorial each term before which they will have read their journals. The role of tutor is to encourage discussion without explaining theories or answering direct questions. This will give them an opportunity for self-reflection after which they are expected to write comments, conclusions and on-going ideas about what they had discussed. Conclusion The methodology and concepts adopted in this module outline may appear idealistic as they require more time and personal involvement than most lecturers are prepared to devote. Equally, not all students will respond and not all academics will be enthused by teaching archaeological theory. However, this is one approach that those truly

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dedicated to forwarding archaeological theory and establishing a new generation of interpretive archaeologists must attempt. This approach to teaching archaeological theory is not just about what we want to convey, it is about how we see theory and its role in archaeology. It is hoped that its application in introducing archaeological theory, will aid its deconstruction as an applicable tool, towards its use as a philosophy of theory within which concepts float freely above the process of interpretation. Therefore, the forwarding of a phenomenological approach to learning archaeological theory could foster alternative viewpoints with which to form the long awaited new era of theory. Acknowledgements I thank Prof. Matthew Johnson for introducing me to archaeological theory during my undergraduate degree, and for consulting on this paper. I also thank Dr. Dilly Fung for introducing me to higher educational pedagogical practice and contributing to my understanding of innovative methods of teaching. Finally, I thank Prof. Anthony Harding for reading drafts of this paper. References
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