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SCOLAR launches English in the Air project
29 January 2003

 

The Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) today (29 January) launched a pilot project, English in the Air, to promote the teaching and learning of English through television programmes among secondary school teachers and students.

Based on two teenage English television programmes titled "Road Scholars" and "Lizzie McGuire" to be broadcast on TVB Pearl from February to August, the pilot project involves the development of teaching and learning materials and organisation of team-based competitions for students.

To allow teachers, students and parents to make use of the project materials wherever and whenever they find most convenient, the Hong Kong Education City (HKEdCity) has been commissioned to design a special website (http://www.hkedcity.net/english/tv) to house the materials and provide information on a variety of activities developed for the project on the Internet.

Speaking at a press conference to launch the pilot project, SCOLAR Chairman Mr Michael Tien said that according to a survey conducted by SCOLAR last year, television was still the most popular mass medium among students.

"We believe that television can be better employed as a resource for learning English," he said.

"English in the Air aims at promoting the active use of television as a learning tool.  We would like to demonstrate to students and teachers that, through the development of teaching and learning materials and activities, English could be learned in a light-hearted way through television programmes," Mr Tien said.

"Through creative competitions, we also hope to motivate students to use English outside their classroom and exercise their creativity," he added.

SCOLAR has commissioned Assistant Professor in the English Department of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Dr Terence Lo, to develop teaching and learning materials and activities for the project.

Dr Lo has designed pre-viewing and post-viewing tasks to help teachers, students and parents to capitalise on the language and cultural contents of the programmes.  He has also developed different video production and radio-drama script-writing competitions for the "Road Scholars" and "Lizzie McGuire" programmes respectively.  These competitions encourage students to create their own videos or radio dramas based on the themes of individual episodes of the programmes and offer attractive prizes.  Grand prize for the "Road Scholars" competition will be a study trip to an exotic place outside Hong Kong.

Project materials and specific instructions for the creative competitions will be available on the project website (http://www.hkedcity.net/english/tv).  The first programme "Road Scholars" will be broadcast every Wednesday at 6:50 p.m. to 7:20 p.m. on TVB Pearl starting from 5 February while the second programme "Lizzie McGuire" will follow, from 2 April to 20 August.

SCOLAR was established in 1996 to advise the Government on language education issues in general and on the use of the Language Fund.  The Language Fund was set up in 1994 to support projects and activities aimed at enhancing the Chinese (including Putonghua) and English proficiency of Hong Kong people.