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By Phil Bartle, PhD

8. Seek Practical Communication – Do Not Strive For Perfection:

The two main practical purposes of writing are (1) recording and (2) reporting. Both those can be done verbally, but you can demonstrate how participants can be more accurate and easy when using the written word. See the module on monitoring. There are advantages to written recording and reporting.

If you and your participants make a field trip to the fish market and write down the names of different kinds of fish and the prices for each, you are making a record. A month later, if you look again at fish prices, you have an accurate record of the prices as they were the first time. It is more reliable than memory. If you take the booklet or poster listing the names of fish and their prices, and forward that to someone who was not with the group on the field trip, then you are making a written report.

Likewise, it is more reliable than memory. That reliability is a practical and useful result of writing and reading.

That is why that field trip would be more relevant to a fishing community, if it collects fish names and prices, than if the community members were cattle herders. To be practical, you must first (and best if it were done as a group task with the participants) make an assessment of what topics are most relevant to the lives of the participants.

They will be more likely to see the value of learning how to write and read, and they will be more likely to retain what they learn.

Notes on all of the above (long document)

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