Teaching a People-First Language Approach

Last updated November 3, 2020

Teaching a People-First Language Approach

Last updated November 3, 2020

Prepare students for writing that is more appropriate, accurate, and accessible to all readers.


Quantitative researchers and analysts commonly focus their writing exclusively on data accuracy without taking the importance of language into account. This focus on data – rather than on the people who are represented by the data – can result in material that is accurate from a methodological standpoint, but not appropriate or accessible to non-technical audiences who may consume them.

Join us for a two-hour workshop with David Chrisinger, Director of the Harris Writing Program at the University of Chicago. You will learn how implementing a mandatory People-First Language Workshop for all incoming students and integrating the people-first concept into writing assignments across the school has helped students strengthen their ability to communicate their work to readers both inside and outside of the field. You will leave this “train-the-trainer” style workshop with an understanding of the people-first writing approach, along with strategies that you can use to integrate its core principles into your own curriculum.

Who should attend?

This workshop is designed for professionals who work within Centers for Teaching and Learning, Academic Writing Centers, and faculty members who work to improve the external writing and communication skills of students in quantitative research-focused disciplines.


December 15, 2020

1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern

During this workshop our expert, David Chrisinger, will help prepare you to teach a people-first approach to writing. Along the way, you will:

Explore the Reasoning Behind the Method

We will walk through an overview of the concept of people-first language and its importance within the realm of public policy and other quantitative-focused disciplines.

Learn the Three A’s of Using People-First Language in Academic Writing

When teaching students about the importance of positioning humans at the root of their analyses, you should emphasize three criteria:

  • Appropriateness
  • Accuracy
  • Accessibility

Practice with Writing Samples

You will have the opportunity to practice reviewing writing samples and providing feedback to make them better align with the people-first approach.

Gain Strategies to Teach this Concept to Students

Whether you’re interested in developing a people-first workshop at your institution or want to learn creative ways to integrate the idea into student writing assignments, this workshop will teach you and your students about the power of language in writing.