Category Archives: Philosophy

Thinking in New Paradigms: Course Corrections

picture-130.jpgI’d like to blame Dean Hunter, Past President of the Federation of Genealogical Societies for planting the doubts that led to changes in my thinking, but to be honest, the doubt was percolating on the back burners of my mind for some time. It was at the National Genealogical Society conference in Milwaukee in 2002. Dean and I shared a room. One evening he told me about a conversation with his friend David Rencher, about what they were taught in their beginning genealogy classes. We were on our way to dinner with David in a great seafood restaurant. “What were you taught?” David and Dean asked. Continue reading

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Homework for Genealogy Students

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My grandfather, pictured above arriving home from his bakery in Vancouver BC, was not, apparently as obsessed with making his kids do homework assignments from school, as folks are today. Articles in recent Time  and Macleans magazines discuss reactions to a recent claim that those three pages of math problems, and regurgitated answers to reading comprehension questions are probably a waste of time. But how does this impact on teaching genealogy? What sort of assignments are valid?

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Physical Frailties and the Idea of Hiring an Apprentice/Intern

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My current health problems have interfered with my manual dexterity. So I am considering hiring and training hands and brain. An apprentice would need almost constant supervision according to one friend. I realize that. Another wondered what I’d pay. So i mentioned it to a local genealogist. She said she’d jump at the chance to work as my apprentice for free. The response surprised me! We’ll discuss this later. But in the meantime, what do you see as being my tasks in trainig and apprentice? What do you pay an apprentice? Are there apprentice tasks I should expect him to doon his time?

What do you think?

Push vs Pull: A Communications Challenge

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Depicted above is the central challenge of marketing. We perceive a horse, standing. In the buggy are a couple of chaps wondering what the reins are for. Behind the horses head is our honorable anonymous observer. One of those chaps could be me, wondering why Dobbin isn’t going anywhere. Dobbin is my blog or my website promoting me as a genealogy professional. Why don’t those folks anywhere read my blog?  Afterall, in the universe of my target audience 67 is such a small number. The other chap in the wagon suggests we send a message out that there is something of interest here. So he sends an email to folks in the professional genealogy community. Hey presto, Dobbin moves: a walk, then a trot or canter and almst a gallop as 370 folks show up. There is a lesson here.

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“I’m not as good as I once was…” (encore)

..”But I’m as Good, once, as I ever was”

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So sings Toby Keith, who has come to understand the difference between competence and performance. Years ago I owned a book by Marina K. Burt and Heidi Dulay written for teachers of English as a second language (ESL) in which they demonstrated that learners often do not perform to their level of competence. Learners make “goofs” not errors in this situation. Teachers and lecturers do the same.

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Hermit Poet Drives North, Ken Packs

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The Hermit Poet called last night late to tell us he forgot to sell the vacuum cleaner! Everything was gone, the car packed, loaded to the gunwhales and he had vacuumed all the rooms and now it approached midnight in the desert, he was alone with the machine! So some new tenant will get a surprise windbag. Meanwhile, back on the home quarter

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A Room of One’s Own

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Looking for a new home in the west, but no palm trees yet. however, we found two suitable places in the Okanagan Valley, both coincidentally have nice dens where we can set up our computers, shelve our books and put up old family photographs– a home for Family History Education Services, and Genealogy Education. It is important, according to Virginia Woolf to have a room of one’s own to write in. If you don’t believe me, check Ronald Gross, The Indepenent Scholar’s Handbook