Academic Success, Study Skills, Uncategorized, Writing

Student Success and “The King’s Speech”: Imagine a Friend Listening To You as You Work

Last night, I was lucky enough to go to the screening of the People’s Choice Award Winner, “The King’s Speech,” at the Toronto International Film Festival.  The film played to a full house at the Ryerson Theatre.  One of the things I was struck by in this often quite moving story of a relationship between a stammering prince (Colin Firth) and his speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) was its pointing to the importance of a sympathetic audience.  This resonates for me perhaps because I so often see students struggling with their academic work because they have too strongly internalized an inner critic–a voice that tells them everything that might possibly be wrong with their work in progress–that isn’t balanced by what I have come to think of as an inner listener.  For students, as with the prince in “The King’s Speech,” the ability to conceive of, experience, and imagine a sympathetic audience can make all the difference in being able to overcome obstacles and get on with one’s work.

One of the lovely–and helpful–suggestions of the speech therapist to the king: Read the speech to me, as a friend.  I think there’s a lot in this suggestion for students.





I actually started doing this while studying for midterms, even before I read about it. I noticed how I would always talk myself out of doing things and although it sounds weird, I did what this article says and imagined someone (let’s call her lily) who I would “talk to” while I studied and got nearly 15 hours of studying done for my exams.

Basically, it works. The other solution is to get a real friends be with you (as long as they’re not distracting)


This is very helpful and true. My inner-critic is not as helpful in developing ideas as a friend would be.
When I write papers, and when I think about concepts in general, I don’t focus on the good things as much as the gaps and imperfections. I usually end up handing in a paper that I have almost no confidence in. Often (especially in essays for english classes) I get a mark that is way better than I felt I deserved!
For papers that don’t have an initial spark of an idea, though, it’s really hard to develop an idea that ends up being good enough.
Talking to people is helpful sometimes, but developing a self-sufficient way to be an ‘other person’ is necessary!

Thanks for writing 🙂


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