“Transformation — How I Developed My Communication Skills and Why I Wanted To,” Huibing Yang (2014) — Inquiry 4

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNJ8okXAOVo

All the story began two years ago. When I first came to United States, I experienced a series of culture shock, homesick and communication problems in this strange country. Reality made me bow my arrogant head. I learned that keeping a humble mind could let me learn more merits from others. Although the transformation was tough, I was so lucky to receive help from countless kind people. I wrote this experience in inquiry one as my most successful failure. But my language was not vivid or accurate enough to express the struggle I had been through and the effective training my host sister had given me. When I received the inquiry four project, I saw it as a chance to vent the emotion, which I couldn’t express by language, through a visual media, the video, giving audiences a direct feeling of my thoughts.

The purpose of my video was to show the audiences how I improved my communication skills and why I wanted to make those changes. Since I decided to remediate inquiry one, my video won’t be divided with specific arguments such as pros and cons in inquiry three. One of the main focus was to pick the sections I wanted to film. Among all the failures I wrote in inquiry one, I picked my failure of communication because I have made the most impressive progress in this part. The comparison of my communication skills from two years ago and now was big. The contrast would form a dramatic effect in the video.

The context of the video was shown as a “What I think I am” meme. As a using of pathos, I chose typical pictures to express my images and situations in different peoples’ mind. For ‘what society think I am’, I used the picture of Han, who is a new Korean immigrant in TV show Two Broke Girls. In that show, Han is the boss of a restaurant, but he is always ridiculed by his employees for his Korean accent and his tiny body. I picked Obama as ‘what my parents think I am’ because my parents expected me to be an excellent speaker. In their opinion, Obama is the most successful speaker in America because he made himself the president by making persuasive speech. My teacher saw me as a kid that always eager to answer the questions in the class. In Harry Potter, little Hermione was always willing to go to school and to answer the questions in her class. She is also considered as smart as president Dumbledore. so I picked her as an example of a good student. I loved The Big bang theory when I first came to America. I was always amused by Sheldon’s nerdy behavior. But unfortunately, I became the realistic Sheldon in my friends’ view. They thought me as a nerd who enjoyed being alone and did my eccentric research in my own space. I thought I could be a genius person like Albert Einstein. There would be nothing I didn’t know or nothing I couldn’t do, therefore I could enjoy the admiration from others. The last picture ‘what I really am’ came from The Big bang Theory too. This picture was describing Leonard, who is also a nerdy character in the show but always want to be popular and communicate with normal people. Leonard shaved his belly and wrote ‘go sports’ to cheer his first football game with his girlfriend Penny. I did plenty of stupid things like Leonard in reality. I wanted to communicate with people but I didn’t do it right. So my behavior was incomprehensible. That was the awkward situation I really in by that time. Through this memo, the audiences observed the contrast between my thought and peoples’ thought. The memo was used as an introduction of what I was. It explained the reason I wanted to change was I want to express myself and communicate with people but my poor English wouldn’t let me to. Then I chose three typical problems I had in communication to show the audience how I was struggling with them. As a usage of ethos, I used the movie clips and video clips from the internet instead of filming myself because the well-known people in the movie clips would be more persuasive and credible to the audience than me. For example, I used several scenes from the official movie clips of The King’s Speech, a British historical drama. The King George VI was known as a stammer patient. When he was making the speech, he felt awkward and bashful. That was exactly what I felt when I was speaking English with an accent. People might not know how awkward it was for me to speak English with accent, but they all understood how humiliated it was for a stammer King to make a speech.

Awareness of audience was one of my focus too. When I was illustrating my argument, I wanted to provide a light and relaxed feeling to my audience. So I used the video clip of Joe Wong, a Chinese who is famous for his funny talk show, to show my ignorance of American culture. The clip of “Sheldon’s misunderstanding of sarcasm” was a typical usage of ethos to show how weak my communication skill was in an exaggerated way.

The video was arranged in the logos of what I was intrigued to change; what problems I had; the conflicts I had with my host sister and how we understood each other; what kind of help I got from my host sister; what I am now after overcoming the problems and finishing my transformation. In order to keep the affordance of the entire video, I added slides with my main arguments or keywords in front of each short clips. So that the audiences would see my argument and receive my message, then watch my video clip as an further explanation or an example. so that my audience could understand my former arguments better. I also added subtitle for some clips so that the audience could understand the conversation in video better. Sometime the video clips doesn’t have a clear audio. The subtitle I added in help the audience to get the meaning of the clips better.

For the conflict I had with my host sister, I used Joe Wong’s speech to quote one sentence she told me when we were arguing. Then I used the clip from the King’s speech to express my strong desire of expressing my thoughts and voice. These usage of pathos showed how my host sister and I changed from having conflicts to understanding each other. In the part of getting help from my host sister, I listed out three resolution that matching my previous problems. I used the clips from The King’s Speech again to show the specific training exercise I had done. The clips from the museum and the slang song were just a reflection of the key words. Caring about the kairos, I cut these two clips short to prevent audience got bored with them.

At the end I used memo again to show my development after transformation. As a usage of pathos, I added my own picture on it to make it more credible and more connective to myself. Society now see me as a person that familiar with American history and policy. My parents didn’t dream about making an English speaker but expect me to be brave to speak out my own thoughts. Just like secretary general Ban Ki-moon of the United Nation, He might not speak fluent English without accent, but he is still willing to express his thoughts in front of publics. My teachers were glad to see me graduated from the high school. My friends saw me as a great friend now. The picture I choice showed me and my friends in my birthday party. I thought I partied too much since I came to university. It is not good to be over popular. What I really do is my am doing well in everything. The picture I choice of Paul Ryan is holding up his thumb obviously.

The constraints I met in remediating this project were the limitation of expressing information. In inquiry one, besides the communication failure, I had the other failures. But they could not be all shown in one video. It made the video simple because my transformation would not only be in the communication aspect but also in my mental aspect. The video and picture media could only show the visual difference of me but not the mental difference of me. The other constraint is the limitation of time, if I could have more time to make a record of my narrative, I could use it express my development in mental aspect because I could explain what changed in my thought after the transformation. Above all, the video came up well enough to express my idea. The content is ranged in a clear logical structure for audiences to follow. The length of the video is not too long to bore the audiences. The rhetorical skills I used here made this video persuasive and impressing.