When each of our students’ ancestors seems as different as one leaf is from the next, we often need to devise learning activities all can do that give practical experience. Error recognition exercises are good examples of controlled practical experience. We all make mistakes, but if we know what we are doing ( i.e. if we are competent) , we recognize those errors. So we can pre-test for competence by asking people to look at flawed examples and offer corrections. For exampleA group of students was taught how to write letters and e-mails to reference libraries and archives. They were given the instructor’s favourite dreadful examples and asked to identify the problems. This was done in general discussion. The home assignment was to write an e-mail request for information to a library, and send it to the instructor that night. These were graded. Error recognition was used as a re-inforcement activity.
Another example: Students are given a cluster of document facsimiles for a person and a research question. They are then given a flawed proof summary in the best “cover-sheet’ list format as modelled in the BCG Genealogical Standards Manual. Their task; to study documents and summary, and identify the flaws. This sort of problem could be prepared to demonstrate unsound presumtions, flaws in math, in logic etc.
Error recognition activities can be used to reinforce learning points, or to test competence. Have you created any for your students?
Your comments are always welcome.