Back to top

Language in a Community Education Workshop

The two main problems concerning language in a community workshop situation are what language to use and the level of the language.

Choice of language – Part of your planning for the workshop, should include the language you are going to use and whether you need translation. Translation could be in full, in other words, point by point, or it could be a summary after a whole section.

Level of language – The success or failure of a community workshop can rest on the level of language used. When planning the workshop it is important to identify your workshop audience and what level of language you should aim for. These are some basic guidelines:

  • Structure your input – have a clear introduction, a list of main points, and a summary or conclusion at the end. Structure your sentences and keep sentences short and simple.
  • Don’t use difficult words – For example, jargon (difficult words that are usually only clear to a certain group of people), abbreviations (words that are shortened), legal words, foreign words, difficult expressions, and so on.
  • Never be impatient or make people feel that they don’t know anything.

Written materials should be easy for the audience to read and understand. These are some of the ways to make written materials easier to read:

  • Use short, clear sentences and avoid long paragraphs
  • Use point-form, numbering and subheadings
  • Use pictures, maps, diagrams, charts – have summaries of main points and even use pictures and charts as a way of summarising
  • Use questions and answers
  • Use a typeface and print that is easy to read