Teaching Others What I’ve Learned

One of the major goals of my project is to create and publish some sort of material to help interested people understand my work.  One project that my mentor had me work on was the creation of an illustrated glossary of lithic types.  Basically, I made a list of the different terms that I thought would be most useful to know when classifying lithic artifacts.  Then, I researched and recorded definitions for each term and including pictures and illustrations as well.  Creating this illustrated glossary helped me in two ways.  The first is that it provides standard definitions and pictures for each term in case I need to explain a difficult concept about my study.  The second way it helped me is that it made me better understand the artifacts so I can more accurately classify and catalog them.

All of this practice came in handy in early July when I was asked by my mentor to give a lecture on prehistoric lithic artifacts for the Archaeological Society of Virginia (ASV) certification program.  This program is designed to train adults in archaeological theory and technique so that they can become certified archaeologists capable of running/working on their own excavations.  In order to become certified, each participant has to, among other things, attend a variety of lectures on a wide range of subjects – including prehistoric lithic artifacts.  The study of lithic artifacts is highly underrepresented in Virginia.  There are very few who specialize in them.  As such, my mentor asked me to give the lecture to a few of his certification students in early July.  I was a little nervous, but I was happy to find that all of my prep work leading up to the lecture helped me give the lecture without a hiccup.  Practice definitely makes perfect.  I will likely be giving this lecture again in the fall.  Even though I’m not a huge fan of public speaking, I’m glad that the knowledge that I have gained during the course of my fellowship has helped me to teach other people the skills I have learned so they can help other people in turn.