This would make any teacher go ballistic and hurl a string of unkind words at the child who stands mortified not quite understanding why his valiant attempt at forming words meets such rage!
The truth is that in most cases both are right: the teacher is unaware of the problem of the child,and the child is incapable of doing better.
Most adults are not aware of learning disabilities and akin them to incompetence, sloth and even impudence. And children who are learning impaired slowly withdraw and lose all self confidence! They become failures and can rarely achieve what they are capable of. The plight of such kids was beautifully evoked in tare zameen par and I decided that all pwhy teaching staff see the movie in the hope that they would be able to understand the extent of harm that a word often said with good intentions could have on the child under their care.
I must confess that it has been an uphill task to try and get this across to my great team who often thought that I was clueless about teaching. I cannot blame them as they themselves are products of a harsh school system and even harsher home environment where verbal and physical abuse is the order of the day.
Many of the children who come to project why may not have learning disabilities but do have difficulties because of their social background, the inability of their parents to teach them and above all because of the callousness of their insensitive school teachers who have often already bruised their faltering self confidence. And yet each one had incredible potential waiting to be tapped.
So the entire staff was sent to see the film with the tacit understanding that this was not to be fun time but learning time and that there would be a brainstorming session after that. So we sat down the next day to exchange our thoughts and feelings about what we had all seen. I set the ball rolling by simply asking what they thought the film was about. As expected one of he younger teachers started by giving a summary of the film viewed from the outside. I stopped her half way and simply asked: How do you think each one of you fitted within the story?
There was a long silence some puzzled faces and then one teacher softly said: we should not use harsh words; another: every child has great potential and yet another: I saw myself in the film as this was happened to me.
These three simple comments had said it all and I realised with some satisfaction I must confess that I had finally been able to convey what I had been trying to for a long long time.