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.