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The "sting" of truth

Posted by Connie Seale , in Orality, Asia 02 January 2021 · 0 views

As written by an IW to Asia
Oral strategies come in a variety of shapes, including parables. Jesus used parables to effectively teach about the kingdom of God, as well as to challenge people about their sin or false patterns of thinking. While I have used Bible stories in teaching about different subjects in my classes, one time I decided to make up a parable of my own. I had graded a book interaction assignment and two students had flat out copied and pasted from the book. It was pretty evident that others had not read through the whole book, only the beginning, and there was some copy and pasting in some of those assignments as well. I was disappointed on several levels. Not only were they being dishonest, they were also missing out on a wonderful book about how to help children and teenagers follow Jesus rather than a religion. I felt a bit like I had failed as a teacher.


Instead of giving my usual you-need-to-be-honest-and-I-am-so-disappointed speech, I decided to make up a parable. So, I told a story of a person who owned a handicraft business who asked his manager to give instructions about a project they were supposed to do. There were guidelines to cover expectations in general, but also specific guidelines for specific projects. The manager did her best to explain the guidelines for the projects. Finally came the day for the manager to inspect the projects. Some were reasonably well-made and the manager could tell they had put effort into it. Others were not so well made and did not adhere to the guidelines. Still others were “perfect”, but the manager could tell that the product was actually something they had bought from another business and presented as if it were theirs. The manager was disappointed and felt like she had failed. When she reported to the owner, the owner said that ultimately the workers did not respect him.


I stopped the story at that point and asked students for their reactions to the story. I then told them that I had told this story in relation to the work they did on the book interactions. It seemed to hit home. I then handed the papers back. I am not sure exactly what they thought of it, but I think it had more of a “sting” than if I had just given them the “speech.” Although I created this story, it is grounded in the Story. Telling a parable can “by-pass” the tendency of hearers to tune out and help them be more in tune glorifying God in every area of their lives, even writing a book report.

I am encouraged to see you realize teaching is more than looking for errors, omissions or wrong choices of multiple-choice.  Thanks for your post. 

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An oral learner is:


Someone whose most effective communication and learning format, style, or method is in accordance with oral formats, as contrasted to literate formats.
Someone who prefers to learn or process information by oral rather than written means. (These are literate people whose preferred communication style is oral rather than literate, even though they can read.)
Someone who cannot read or write (this represents about 5% of the world's population).

Did you know?


There are an estimated 4.35 billion people who are oral learners. This includes 3 billion adults, 900 million very young children, and 450 million children between the ages of eight and fifteen; all of these have basic or below basic literacy skills. They are oral learners because of their limited literacy skills.
The vast majority of missions work has been done for a literate audience. Unfortunately the vast majority of the true audience is therefore not able to connect with the Gospel.
Oral cultures are very relational - they share their lives with one another.
Most oral cultures will communicate with one another in narratives, dialogues and dramas, proverbs, songs, chants, and poetry. When asked what he thought about a new village school headmaster, a Central African replied "Let's watch how he dances".

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