Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Presenting a pluralized past: Assessing the efficacy of multivocal, bison-themed lesson units as a public education and outreach strategy for archaeology
by Battaglia, Mario, M.A., The University of Arizona, 2015, 207; 1589570
Abstract (Summary)

Archaeological education and outreach have become priorities in a discipline that struggles to make its research accessible and relevant to the diverse public. In recent years, researchers have begun to address this issue through the design and implementation of grade school lesson modules on various archaeological topics. Although these lesson modules are readily available, little has been done to assess the efficacy of such public education and outreach agendas. With stimulus and funding from the Blackfeet Tribe and the Montana Department of Transportation, respectively, this thesis addresses this gap by (1) designing archaeological lesson modules for middle school students, and (2) assessing the general efficacy of the lessons. Specifically, the study systematically analyzes four science units for their overall efficacy, general impact, and utility through pre-and-post assessments that measure student understanding and interest. The quantified analyses are then combined to attain an overall percentage of curriculum efficacy. As a public outreach strategy for archaeology, these modules emphasize a pluralistic, multivocal, inclusive, and pragmatic perspective of the past that both connects with a multifaceted, diverse public and avoids educational marginalization of a shared, collective past. Thus, Native perspectives are interwoven with scientific archaeological knowledge to, in essence, pluralize the past. The topical focus of the lessons is bison—a uniquely North American past and present species with which humans have interacted intimately at a multitude of levels but, also, a species that is not always accepted among contemporary ranchers and land users. The curriculum is aimed at middle school students, recognizing that these students, as the future decision-makers, are a key demographic to target. It is hypothesized that (1) the respectful incorporation of archaeological education in a pluralized, inclusive fashion allows the interdisciplinary potential of archaeology to be more fully realized, and (2) such a strategy allows the significance of bison to be better understood and more widely appreciated.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Zedeno, Maria N.
Commitee: Chavarria, Sara, Ferguson, T.J.
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 54/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational tests & measurements, Archaeology, Pedagogy
Keywords: Archaeology, Bison, Curriculum, Education, Multivocality, Pedagogy
Publication Number: 1589570
ISBN: 978-1-321-77480-1
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