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In an oral strategies video our team has been working on, Regina describes a piece of candy to her friend Laura. When Jim comes into the picture, Laura has not yet tried the candy. She attempts to tell him what she heard from Regina but she struggles to remember and repeat what she was told. Then she takes a bite of the candy. It’s like the lights come on! Now she gets its! Now that she’s tried it and experienced it for herself, she easily expresses—in her own words—how good the candy is.
Regina & I are in Shell, Ecuador to do two workshops. I act as a reporter for the first, and an instructor for the second.
The first workshop, sponsored by HCJB Global, aims to train 'Trainers of Trainers' who work in community development. Specifically, they want to expose these leaders to Participatory Learning. Regina has been training church leaders to use these adult learning techniques for years. Now she's helping Life Water present these methods to HCJB's Community Development department.
The reality that 2/3 of the world’s adults don’t, OR WON’T LEARN FROM READING, has challenged one of MAF-LT’s clients to move their leadership training materials from 6th grade to 2nd grade level. A common mistake made by literates when simplifying training for these “Oral Learners” is the temptation to “dumb down” the material. After all, what can they teach if they are limited to a 2nd grade vocabulary?
But the adults they are working with are not second graders. Many are intelligent men and women who may be perceptive believers. As Oral Learners they just don’t have the ability (or desire) to use written material. They don’t divide life into abstract categories like “love” or “forgiveness.” Neither did Jesus. He told memorable stories, like the Prodigal Son!
Since an Oral Learner’s capacity for learning is limited largely to memory, the challenge is to make important lessons more memorable. Here are some ideas:
Sierra Leone revealed something when our Air France flight from Paris stopped first in Conakry, Guinea. Three-quarters of the passengers got off the plane - including the crew who would overnight there before returning to France. A rested crew took over, flew an additional 40 minutes south to drop us off in Freetown, Sierra Leone, then headed north for home.