Mentoring as a teaching activity

Ken front1.jpgAre you a mentor? Are you nurturing a protege, a rising star in the genealogy experience? You could be. In the mentoring process there is one mentor, and one protege ( somtimes call mentee, candidate, apprentice, aspirant, counsellee, trainee or student in the literature). Some things a mentor might do in such a relationship include:

  • Act as a source of information on the ethics and research principles of genealogy.
  • Provide insight into the larger world of genealogy: local and national groups,libraries, archives and record repositories, local, regional and national level conferences.
  • Tutor specific skills, effective work habits, and how to work well with others.
  • Coach activities that will add experience and skill development such as indexing projects, transcription projects and other group and individual activities useful to enhancing success in genealogy.
  • Serve as a confidant in times of personal crises and problems.
  • Assist the protege in plotting his/her genealogy education path.
  • Meet with the protege at agreed time intervals for feedback and planning (I’m in favor of lunch meetings myself!)
  • Agree to a no-fault conclusion of the mentorship relationship when for any reason the time is right.
  • Maintain the integrety of the other relationships in the protege’s life.

The above list was adapted from Margo Murray and Marna A. Owen, Beyond the Myths and Magic of Mentoring (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1991) pp.12-13

Are you a mentor? Do you have a genealogical mentor? Should genealogy educators be mentors? I’d like to hear your thoughts.


4 responses to “Mentoring as a teaching activity

  1. hi—i work for a library that is considering making me a genealogy mentor to a colleague. We have not yet had any meetings to lay this foundation. But i was most grateful to see what you posted on this topic, as it provides some general guidelines. I am curious to know the time frame for a genealogical mentoring relationship. Is this something that might conceivabley go on for weeks, months, or years? how far apart should meetings be? I am trying to determine what is realiatic.

  2. Deena,
    Thanks for the comment. Most mentoring situastions I’ve been in have gone on for months. Perhaps you are thinking of a tutoring situation. A little different. In tutoring you show someone how to do certain thins and turn them loose. I think of mentoring as being the wiser cheerleader, suggesting new ideas, doing a bit of critiquing of work in progress, and lots of cheering with the occasions bit of “here’s where you find the answer to this sort of question”.
    Mentoring is not about teaching a list of sources or skills, but establishing an encouraging relationship between people. Some mentoring relationships go on for years others just change to friendships, or go dormant.

    How often do you meet? Depends on the protege. Are you work colleagues? Would weekly suffice?

    I wonder if any other readers have views on this?

  3. i love that recliner!

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