參加《英該點講》演出的體會

為什麼我會參加《英該點講》演出?有什麼體會?

首先,英語語音學是我其中一個專業範圍,在中大MA ELT 課程曾經任教的一科正是Phonetics and Phonology for English Language Teachers ,故此語常會邀請我拍攝時,而我又覺得會是有趣的經驗,於是便一口答應了。

拍攝這系列,和兩年多前拍「鏗鏘集」,是很不同的經驗;拍「鏗鏘集」,沒有劇本,不需演戲,做回自己便可以了。但參加拍攝《英該點講》,才知道原來拍劇是那麼「大陣象」。大家在ViuTV 看見每集三分鐘好像很簡單,但原來背後的crew是二十人以上 ;每集拍了半天至大半天,還未計前期準備和後期製作。

至於個人的體會有:
(1) 生平第一次有女士和我化妝。
(2) 生平第一次有女士和我打點服裝。
(3) Roll 機時不算緊張,可能已習慣不同場合的presentation。
(4) 導演希望我們說話自然,所以不用tele-prompter 。
(5) 由於我有頗多的獨白,我唯有乖乖地花點時間背熟對白。
(6) 每集只有三分鐘,導演對說話的速度要求很嚴格,我們不能加插其他字詞;而導演經常因為我說話不夠快速,而要求重拍。
(7) 每次roll 機時,起碼有八對眼睛盯着我,幸而我也很快便習慣了。
(8) 每一個片段,都要拍長距離、中距離、和近距離,再加上不同角度 ,到最後出現在電視機上的,是先前拍攝的二十分之一也沒有。
(8) 每次拍不同角度和距離,工作人員都要重新擺放灯光、攝影機,又要重新測試收音,檢查道具位置,這些工夫都是很費時的,這亦是為什麼對演員來說,大部分時間花在等。
(9) 整隊拍攝人員,由監製到導演到攝影師到灯光師,都是完美主義者,少少瑕疵也不接受。
(10) 整隊crew很專業,很合拍,和很有默契;導演稍有表示,各崗位的人員立即配合,令我看到team work 的重要。
(11) 整隊crew 比我想像中純樸,沒有我想像中電視台工作人員的習氣,其他的演員也很friendly 和cheerful。
(12) 吃飯不定時,到真正吃飯了,便齊齊吃工作人員買回來的飯盒。
(13) 拍攝不定時,有一天早上八時便要到元朗加洲花園報到。
(14) 難忘的一幕,是拍攝人員知道我來自大學,但不知道我會否很「論盡」,偏偏我的戲份多是獨白,為了讓其他演員可以先走,會留到每天的後期才拍,於是如果我不停NG ,所有人都要延遲收工。所以首天拍攝時他們有點擔心,但是實際拍攝時,我沒有頻頻NG ,到導演表示全部收貨時,全場人竟然同時鼓掌起來!

總括來說,這是一次很有趣的經驗,亦令我明白拍一套劇集,或一齣電影,是如何巨大的工程。

http://www.language-education.com/chi/properEnglishpronunciation.asp

Summary of 《英該點講》(Proper English Pronunciation) Episodes

In this TV serial programme project launched by SCOLAR (Standing Committee on Language Education and Research) of the Hong Kong Government, I was the ‘proper pronunciation ambassador’. The TV programme was produced by, and aired on, ViuTV (June 29 – Aug 17, 2017),  The TV programme aimed to draw the attention of the general public in Hong Kong to certain tricky issues in the pronunciation of English. 

Summary of 《英該點講(Proper English Pronunciation) Episodes

Episode 1: Pronunciation of Past tense marker

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LehnhSJRgb8

Episode 2: word stress (e.g., triangle, rectangle)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ct2g2q9E4o&feature=youtu.be

Episode 3: Silent letters (e.g. Beckham; shepherd)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWWmVy3w8HA

Episode 4: /ei/ and /u:/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDoKxZO8ffo&feature=youtu.be

Episode 5: /i/ vs /i:/ and schwa in unstressed syllables

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KttqUjGd1-E

Episode 6: wrongly inserted sounds (eg., ‘guidiance’ for ‘guidance’)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8EspoqzFNs

Episode 7: ‘th’ sounds in English

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUC77_3rpUo

Episode 8: Pronunciation of special place names

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF3dPx1mjf0

 

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Webpage on SCOLAR website: http://www.language-education.com/chi/properEnglishpronunciation.asp

 

If e-Learning works, it’s because of the teacher.

What is “e-Learning” in teachers’ minds?

16 years ago: Using PPT to present a lesson.
8 years ago: Playing a Youtube video during a lesson.
Today: ?????

A former student has a friend who claimed to be doing e-Learning. She later found out that to her friend, e-Learning meant using the electronic version of the textbook during a lesson.

Another former student has told me that some of the teachers she knows think that doing e-Learning means playing a Kahoot game towards the end of a lesson.

It’s actually not easy to define e-learning today, as the field is developing so fast, and there is such a wide range of things you can do under the umbrella term of e-Learning. Also, it’s difficult to judge whether a teacher is doing e-learning because there is no, and there shouldn’t be, a rigid threshold for implementing e-Learning, such as 30% of the curriculum, or 25% of lesson time.

This is because e-Learning is only the means – a tool which has the capacity for (a) making teaching and learning more effective, and (b) opening up possibilities of new learning activities which would otherwise be impossible in a traditional classroom.

But e-Learning is only the means – the end is good teaching. Hence, if the e-Learning teacher judges that a particular lesson design will work even better without technology, then he or she should not do e-Learning just for its own sake.

But one thing that worries me is the quickly widening gap between teachers who are fanatics of e-Learning (who keep exploring and experimenting), and those who have a phobia about technology.

To the latter group of teachers, I can assure them that technology is the last thing they need to worry about when they embark on their e-Learning attempts. The applications and the technology have become so user-friendly and simple-to-use today that all they need is a bit of initial familiarization with the technical aspects.

The real challenge is still the pedagogy. What is your teaching objective? What do you want your students to learn, or achieve? What initial teaching ideas do you have in mind?

It is then you turn to the technology for support. Which application may help you achieve your teaching objective most efficiently and effectively? How do you design your e-learning activity that will reap the biggest benefit given your teaching objective?

That is why in e-Learning PD events, my maxim for the teachers is always: “If e-Learning works, it’s not because of the technology. It’s because of the teacher.”

Why are we putting ourselves in this scenario?

Recently, I asked a former student whether she was leading a happy life. I knew it would not be an easy question to answer. And indeed, she did have to do some soul-searching before she could come up with a response, which was multi-faceted. Then, I found myself saying to her: “If you’re not distinctly unhappy, you’re already quite OK in present-day society, which is full of stress, hostility, and(workplace) politics.”

But why do we have to put up with this not-distinctly-unhappy-is-already-not-bad scenario? If being happy is one major purpose of life, and a fundamental human need, why can’t we work together to build a happier world? Why do we have to keep up our hostility, prejudice, and hatred? What don’t we step back, and contemplate what exactly we are presently toiling for?

 

傾城之戀

昨天探訪舊學生Monica現時任教的學校,在圖書館赫然看見一叠新購入,張愛玲的傾城之戀,雀躍之餘又覺得不可置信,不得不問Monica: 今天還會有中學生看張愛玲的小說嗎?

那個年代,我和很多年青人一樣,要看通俗的會看亦舒永遠的玫瑰與家明,要表示自己是文藝青年,則看張愛玲的半生緣和傾城之戀;老實說,那個年紀並不完全領畧張愛玲故事主角的情懷,但是為了表示自己有文化……

所以如果今天的中學生喜歡看傾城之戀,也是好事啊。

What should kids be doing in the summer?

Yesterday, one of the former students who came to the reunion lunch brought along her 9-year-old-son, Chester. His mum didn’t buy any supplementary workbooks from the Book Fair for him. She didn’t sign him up for any additional summer short courses. When I asked Chester whether he was feeling bored, his answer was a resounding NO. Why was that so?

He has several storybooks from the Book Fair to read. He is writing and creating his own storybooks. He has his Lego blocks to play with. He produces mini videos of his Lego characters in action. He turns to his musical instruments when he is in the right mood. He plays chess with others, and when no one is around to play chess with him, he takes on both opposing sides simultaneously. He experiments with science building blocks bought from the Science Museum. He takes a nap when he feels sleepy. And I’m sure his mum will also organise gatherings for him to play with other kids.

And he snubs mechanical supplementary workbooks, finding them meaningless.

Summer is a good time to let kids express their creativity, to arouse their curiosity in things around them, to allow them to find their own elements (Sir Ken Robinson), to develop their interest in reading, or, to simply let them play. We can put them through 5 additional summer courses, or subject them to 20 supplementary workbooks. But there is a heavy price to pay.

Would you rather be a man or a woman?

The other day, while discussing the many difficulties that a woman needs to face during her journey of life, I concluded: “I have never wanted to be a woman.”

But a former student, Andrea, proclaimed, “I have never wanted to be a man.”

I met up with Andrea and Clairine, another former student, today, and over lunch, I asked them the very question, “What’s so good about being a woman in today’s society?”

Interestingly, Clairine sided with Andrea, and they started to enumerate the advantages of being a woman, and the disadvantages of being a man, in present-day society.

Listening intently, I came to realise the huge difference between our perceptions of the life that members of the opposite sex are experiencing. For example, they see men’s financial responsibility for the family as a great burden, while I don’t see it as a source of stress. I see a woman’s major chapters of life as sources of worry, but they didn’t experience them as worrisome.

Perhaps we can only fully understand the joys and sorrows of the opposite sex by living our life a second time, in a different gender role. But for me the problem is: If I could live my life a second time, I would still want to be a man!