Adult educators could amplify their voice in the media by improving their writing skills. / Photo: Witzel/Wikimedia Commons

Adult educators’ media skills need a boost

An online guide on writing about adult education topics has been published. The free manual aims to help in practice-sharing, project dissemination and media PR. 


-Without communication skills, much work done in the adult education sector risks going to waste, argues journalist Michael Voss, information officer of the Danish Adult Education Association (DAEA).

Hence, being able to communicate one’s work to colleagues and media is an essential skill for adult educators. To answer this need, a group of journalists headed by Voss has produced an online communication guide, Writing for Europe, for adult educators.

The concise guide focuses on journalistic writing conventions adapted to the European adult education sector. The guide aims to help educators, advocates and other education stakeholders to write better press releases, project dissemination pieces and media articles about their field of work.

– Ultimately, we must be able to beat the drum about the benefits of adult education also to ensure funding. Adult education is chronically underrepresented in general media in Europe, Voss argues.

– We cannot just blame the mass media for that. There is a fierce competition for the attention of readers and users of other media. We must be much better at telling all the good stories of adult education in a way that catches, and keeps, the attention of the readers.

Example: Results more important than project itself

Funding for adult education trickles increasingly from European projects which always include dissemination duties. The results of any given project should reach as wide a number of end-users as possible. This is where many adult education professionals -possibly unexperienced in communications – come face to face with a writing task.

But how to write about a project for an adult education magazine or for a press release? According to Voss, this is exactly where the guide might help. It has a subchapter dedicated to project dissemination.

It is crucial to know one’s target group when writing, the subchapter stresses. Focus should be on what new the project has achieved.

– The results are almost always more relevant than the project itself. Never copy paste a project report to pass off as an article!

Read the Writing for Europe -guide here on the website of the DAEA.

The Writing for Europe guide was produced by the editorial board of the adult education media InfoNet, a predecessor of Elm Magazine. It is the last output of the InfoNet project, funded through the European Commission’s old Grundtvig programme. The guide first appeared as a print version in November 2015. Michael Voss, interviewed in this article, is currently an editor of Elm Magazine.
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