Inspirational teachers in Archaeology and History

Meet our inspirational teachers and find out how they are helping students to learn about the past

Associate Professor Jennifer Jones

Dr Jennifer Jones, Associate Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies, inspires her students with her passion for, and knowledge of, Australian history.

A rich history.  I teach Australian Environmental History and a place-based subject called ‘Gone Bush,’ which examines how Australia’s history and landscape has influenced our cultural identity. Both subjects give students the opportunity to engage with people, places and ideas that provide new perspectives on history.

An immersive experience. As part of the Gone Bush subject, students attend the Man From Snowy Bush Festival and are immersed in country life. They also meet First Nations people on Country and pre-existing views on bush history and contemporary culture are respectfully discussed and challenged. This experiential learning really inspires students.

New perspectives. My teaching takes a decolonising approach that assists students to recognise and respectfully engage with competing interpretations of history and disparate positionalities, including Indigenous diversity. I find it very rewarding when students succeed in ‘perspective taking’, recognising alternate ways of seeing the world and reflecting upon how this intersects with their own experience and views.

Dr Matthew Meredith-Williams

Matthew Meredith-Williams, Lecturer in Archaeology, says the passion that students bring to Archaeology inspires him as a teacher.

The bigger picture. I teach Practical Archaeology and Landscape Archaeology, which equips students with the surveying skills needed for excavation and analysing the broader archaeological landscape. These are important subjects because often we get too focused on the individual sites and their objects, forgetting about the context of where they sit in the landscape.

Different perspectives. The hands-on, practical tutorials we run are crucial to students’ learning and engagement.  We get out into the field as much as possible to train on the equipment, to see the landscape, and show examples of what we talk about in the classroom. Local Aboriginal Elders have also come in and led classroom sessions, showing students that there is more than one way to interpret a landscape.

Passionate students. The most rewarding aspect of teaching is the enthusiasm of students. In the classroom they are always keen to learn, ask lots of questions, and engage in an inquisitive yet respectful way. Beyond class, most students volunteer to work on projects in the department and are driven to develop their skills.

Find out more about the Department of Archaeology and History. Visit the website and LinkedIn.