Parallels between education and genealogy

It's back to work for me tomorrow after the summer break but hopefully I will still be able to allocate time to my passion. I will just have to be more disciplined.

Over the last few days I've been reading Will Richardson's Why School? How Education must change when Learning and Information are Everywhere.

In it he shared several unlearning/relearning ideas for educators. As I read them I could see the point he was making not only for educators but for the genealogy world as well.

  • Share everything (or at least something) To those who share best genealogical practices and thinking. Thank you. You are sharing some of your knowledge with those who are seeking it. Often I have found tips quite useful and file that new knowledge away for a time when it is needed. Other times I can relate to the post. Sometimes I just love to read the stories you have written. I hope I too have shared information that has been of use to others. There are so many ways we can share our work - blogging, twitter, Facebook, Google+, online trees.
  • Discover, don't deliver - I had more difficulty finding a parallel for this point. But then I thought that maybe my personal example would be my blog posts that start with an object and tell what I know about it. This is usually followed by me asking questions about what else I can discover about it. I could just deliver the final product but I feel the process of showing readers what questions to ask could help them in their personal family discoveries.
  • Talk to strangers - To those of you who may be reading this post and haven't made contact with a stranger online in the genealogy world perhaps now is the time to do so. I have made many online contacts, some of whom I have since met but others who I might not know if I passed them in the street. However, my life has been enriched by these contacts because often these 'strangers' are experts from whom I can learn a lot. "It turns out that strangers have a lot to give us that's worthwhile, and we to them." (Location 445)
  • Be a master learner - If we wish to become experts in our chosen field we need to continually improve ourselves by taking part in online webinars, attending lectures and reading books on areas of interest. The list goes on and on. Genealogy is not just about names and dates. Learn about the history of the places they came from, what events could they have witnessed, what may have led them to move across the world, what may their house have looked like.
  • Do real work for real audiences - If our work is stored in paper files on our bookshelf or digital files on our computers we certainly don't have a real audience. Writing this I realise that although I have written two books, I still have a lot to share with others. 
  • Transfer the power - "guide others through the process of asking questions and finding and connecting with experts" (Location 533)  Perhaps there is some information I have that someone else may pick up and run with and discover much more that I have or have time to investigate.
What do you think?

(Location quotes are on my Kindle app on my iPad)


  1. Great synthesis from a great educator!

    This is a fantastic post, Sharon. So much of this resonates with me - If I had to choose one it would be "transfer the power" or should it be "be a master learner"

  2. I don't know which one I'd pick but perhaps it would be a master learner. I just love to learn about all sorts of things. I need to know and love the challenge of the search.

  3. Wonderful post, Sharon. Very useful and practical as well - and very encouraging as well.

  4. great post, I think sharing your resources and being open to new ideas is soooo important.


Post a Comment