ORALITY SELF TEST
Thousands of people groups do not have access to a written translation of the Bible in their language and less than 2% of the people are Christians. When a written Bible translation does become available very few of the people can or will read it because they are oral learners. But the issue is much deeper than non-readers being unable or unwilling to read. The issue is that oral learners process information differently than literate learners. Oral learners are just as intelligent as readers and generally have better memories because they do not rely on writing to remember things. Self-test your personal level of orality.
What are the objects in this grouping?
Readers usually name them as a circle, square and triangle: all abstract conceptual ideas. Oral learners name these shapes by what they resemble: a plate, box, or piece of pie. They are more comfortable with tangible ideas. Which object does not belong in this grouping?
An oral learner will not include the hammer as part of the grouping because he does not have a “tools” category in his thinking. Although a saw and hatchet will “work” the logs, a hammer will not. You should be catching on by now. Try one more. Which object does not belong in this grouping?
That’s right – the cup! An oral learner knows a cup is not used to eat an orange!
Even in cultures considered to have high levels of literacy, major population segments continue to operate in a predominantly oral framework. Oral learners use proverbs, parables, history, songs, genealogies, dance, and other narrative forms to communicate their most important information. Oral learners do not look to the written word for learning, nor do they respond well to formal education. Instead, their life lessons are learned, and their worldviews are shaped by observation, participation, and verbal communication of culturally relevant stories. Oral learners simply do not look to the written word for learning and they cannot be reached with the gospel using expository preaching, written or audible Scripture, and evangelistic tracts. Instead, their life lessons are learned-- and their worldviews shaped-- by observation, participation, and verbal communication of culturally relevant stories.