Thinking Like Oral Learners

Selected Quotes from Making Disciples of Oral Learners, a Lausanne Occasional Paper:

Literate People Read, But Also Think in Literate Ways
“When literacy persists in a culture for generations, it begins to change the way people think, act and communicate – so much so that the members of that literate society may not even realize how their communication styles are different from those of the majority of the world who are oral communicators. These members of a literate society then tend to communicate the gospel in the literate style that speaks to them.” (1)

Communicating with Oral Learners Requires More than Merely Using Audio
“…But oral learners find it difficult to follow literate-styled presentations, even if they are made orally. It is not enough to take materials created for literates and simply read them onto a recorded format. Making something audible does not necessarily make it an “oral” style of communication. Not everything on a CD or audiotape is “oral.” Some of it is clearly literate in its style even though it is spoken or audible. The same thing is true of other media products created for literate audiences. They may have literate stylistic features that confuse oral learners.” (1)

Oral Strategies Are Needed to Communicate with Post-Literate Users of Electronic Media
“Oral strategies are also necessary in reaching people whose orality is tied to
electronic media. They may be able to read well, but get most of the important information in their lives through stories and music coming through radio, television, film, Internet and other electronic means. We need oral strategies focused on this segment of the world population, too.” (2)

Something is Out of Sync Here
“An estimated 90% of the world’s Christian workers work among oral peoples using literate communication styles.” (3)

“Ironically, an estimated 90% of the world’s Christian workers presenting the gospel use highly literate communication styles. They use the printed page or expositional, analytical and logical presentations of God’s word. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for oral learners to hear and understand the message and communicate it to others. As the ones bringing the message, it is our responsibility to communicate our message in their terms.” (4)

All of the quotes on this page are from MAKING DISCIPLES OF ORAL LEARNERS Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 54 Produced by the Issue Group on this topic at the 2004 Forum for World Evangelization hosted by the Lausanne Com-mittee for World Evangelization In Pattaya, Thailand, September 29 to October 5, 2004.
http://www.lausanne.org/docs/2004forum/LOP54_IG25.pdf

Page numbers are: (1) Page 12 (2) Page 8 (3) Page 9 (4) Page 11

Sub-headings are added.

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