Overview: Students (in small groups) pick any article from BBC Pidgin (a digital platform in English-based Pidgin for West and Central Africa) and translate it to be most appealing to their target audience. That can be whatever it means at that time in the quarter—e.g., a voice in the conversation (PWR 1) or oral delivery from written text (PWR 2). Then as we discuss students’ work, we also discuss their inevitable giggles while selecting articles, the bias that demonstrates, and how while we can discuss how to appeal to audiences, we as audiences also need to do better as listeners, especially when the ignorance is, in fact, ours.
Activity title: BBC Pidgin
Author: Kathleen Tarr, J.D.
Course: PWR 1 & PWR 2
Activity length and schedule: This activity is adaptable to any time in the quarter (and particular students) depending upon the particular goals at that time. The length can also be adjusted, between half an hour and 1 hour typically.
- Improve skills in selecting sources.
- Improve ability to translate ideas for different audiences.
- Increase self-awareness of one’s own cultural biases.
- Become a more attentive, respectful, and humble audience member.
- Have students form small groups of three or four.
- Instruct them to together select one article from the BBC Pidgin website: https://www.bbc.com/pidgin
- Instruct them to together translate the article as appropriate for the relevant time in the quarter—e.g., into an organization and phrasing that is appealing to students’ target audience.
- As the activity gets under way, document the reactions of students as they select articles (giggles, etc.).
- Have each group report back to the class as a whole and discuss.
- Summarize the activity for students (regarding relevant learning outcomes for the timing of the quarter) and introduce the concept of bias in the way audiences react to “other” language and cultural expression, even when they are not the intended target. Without naming specific students, share reactions that confirm bias against the language of the BBC Pidgin articles, necessarily separate from the ideas behind them. Instructors can then introduce the idea of audience responsibility, pathos’s power over logos, why appealing to your audience’s values and language is so important, and/or a number of other topics that can be introduced again as the quarter progresses.