I enjoyed this past issue of the International Orality Network (ION) Newsletter. I honed in on J.O. Terry’s article about Learning Leaders. He wrote that they are generally “a peer among the listeners or people group. They may not be literate, or if literate, often are only marginally literate. It is best if learning leaders are taught or trained in the same manner they will in turn use in teaching others.” I thought about Paul’s admonition in II Timothy 2:2 and tried to imagine how we profile students that will become effective replicators of the material, behaviors, and attitudes that we’re modeling.
In fact, speaking of modeling, he added, “Modeling is very important in training. All needed teaching information must be in the lesson. Since a learning leader may be nonliterate, the lesson must be memorable for the learning leader if it must be learned orally. Simple lesson guides rich in participation activities (if culturally appropriate) are helpful. Singing is often a good way to facilitate learning and memory, though this is a cultural preference. Because the learning leader usually does not have knowledge beyond the lesson resource, question and answer activity may not be possible except for a catechism type review. In extreme cases of learning leader nonliteracy a picture illustrating the Bible story may be used to trigger recall and give focus to the lesson.” I admitted to myself that I hadn’t ever thought very deeply about how these type learners would teach others. It would be worth exploring. In that vein, Terry continued, “The learning leader must reinforce listener learning by leader repetition as needed and encouraging listener recitation. The learning leader as a peer will know intuitively how to relate to listeners with proper teaching etiquette that includes how to encourage participation among listeners and how if needed to handle incorrect responses. The use of linked or sequential lessons can reduce learning leader stress without having to introduce unrelated or unlinked new lessons. Periodic reviews by a competent teacher as well as occasional visits to a teaching venue can help to keep the Bible Storying on track and effective.”
In all of this, I realized that storying (and its methodology) was stimulating my thinking about broader discipling processes. All of which makes me wish I could go farther in my training as a storyteller — because I have a hunch that storytelling would teach me more than a bunch of stories. :-) Your thoughts? Are you able to resonate with my conclusions?