APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2008-10 > 1225207909
From: Connie Sheets <>
Subject: Re: [APG] students and research basics
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2008 08:31:49 -0700 (PDT)
I have limited experience teaching genealogy, but I have lots of experience teaching adults.
The focus in this thread on labeling classes as beginner, intermediate, or advanced, while perhaps having some value when advertising a class, is off the mark when applied to Marian's original question, and has little relevance when folks show up in the classroom. A motivated beginner will get something out of an advanced class and vice versa.
While it can be time consuming, it is invaluable to start multi-session classes with a brief "What are your goals for this class?" discussion, as has already been mentioned. I like to document these goals on flip charts and keep them posted throughout the sessions (I'm sure those who eschew paper and marking pens could find a more techie sustitute). I go around the room and ask each person individually so that the focus is not just on the needs of those who are most vocal. (It's also a great way to get everyone talking from the beginning). Then, I go back at the end of the class and review the list they created to make sure we've met their goals. If I hear something initially that I know won't be covered in any detail, I tell them upfront that it won't, with brief suggestions as to where they can get that info. My experience is that every group has a different focus, and you have to be nimble on your feet and not tied to an overly specific lesson
plan to ensure you both cover the course goals AND meet each group's individual goals.
My guess is that the blank stares may have come from never having seen a Research Plan before. Visual examples always helps those who are not auditory learners.
I also suspect that they may be at a very different level than we are in how they think about what resolving a brick wall means. I often think about how my own research goals have changed over the years: at first, I just wanted to know names, dates, and places so I could fill out that Pedigree Chart and Family Group Sheet, e.g. who was John Walton's father? (That one I'd still like to know <g>). Over time, I became more interested in who were all the descendants of John Walton? Then, who are those neighbors and associates that keep cropping up? Then, as I learned more about putting meat on the bones, I became more interested in figuring out who John Walton was as a person (e.g. constructing biographies) and analyzing the evidence, pulling together those bits and pieces of indirect evidence, etc.
So asking them to define a specific research goal, if you have not already done so, might help.
Finally, when confronted with blank stares or similar behavior, I ask the group what it means: with time, one develops new skills in rephrasing, asking follow-up questions, thinking on your feet, group facilitation, breaking the ice, etc.
Good luck!! It sounds like you have an interesting class and an interesting group.
|Re: [APG] students and research basics by Connie Sheets <>|