Movie sends out positive message

Rani Mukerji’s new Bollywood movie Hichki has taught many lessons to education systems all over the world. It is based on Brad Cohen’s memoir Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had.

Mukerji plays Naina Mathur, is born with a speech defect/impediment of Tourette syndrome, which made her unacceptable by many schools and rejected from many teacher’s job. Irrespective of her mood be it happy, nervous and serious she had a defect of making involuntary chuck-chuck sound or hiccups and some movements.

She aspires to be a teacher and does not lose hope despite facing many rejections. Therefore, her strong determination to never be discouraged from her passion to be a teacher made a difference in the lives of many students.

Born to be a teacher

Mukerji believes she is “born to be a teacher” as after several criticisms from the world around her ie family, society and educational institutions.

But one of her teachers accepted Mukerji as normal and appreciated her. As a result, she displayed a strong willpower to be a teacher.

Despite being a trained and qualified teacher, Mukerji still faced rejection from many schools because of her speech defect. Finally, she got a teaching job in an elite school.

This was a challenge in itself, to teach 14 most notorious underprivileged students coming from lower-income group/slums who had gotten the opportunity, under the right to an education, to be educated in a class of elite students.

Mukerji, in an interview, said: “Each of us has a weakness that pulls us back. It could be a disability or any condition but if we just look at it as simply a hiccup, we can emerge as a winner. It won’t come in the way of achieving our dreams.”

Hichki is built on this positive premise. With her unconventional teaching pedagogies and positive outlook, she proved her abilities to be a teacher to the principal, fellow teachers and win the trust of 14 disinterested, rebellious students.

Mukerji with her sheer determination made a change in these unruly students’ attitude towards life by teaching them to believe in themselves and use their positive energy towards progress.

She says “there is not bad students only bad teachers” to her conservative senior fellow teacher who believed those students are worthless and must be expelled from the school.

Message for

education system

The flick stresses the relations between students and teachers. It also has the message of equality of educational opportunity to every section of society to help a student to succeed in life through the power of education.

It shows that true education is not simply teaching subjects in the classroom but the real knowledge comes when one treats every child with the respect they deserve.

Every child’s action has a reason behind it, that need not be punished every time, but one has to discern the root cause of the problem of student’s behaviour to resolve their problem.

It is the circumstance, environment and other problems that make the students behave negatively. This can be rectified by collective efforts of all stakeholders i.e. teachers and parents, by recognising the true potential of students. Everyone should pursue their passion without fear. Marks are not everything but the positive attitude towards life can make them better human beings. Every child is special which should not be judged only on evaluation through grades and marks but their positive traits need to be identified and promoted.

There is a dialogue in the movie which has a very strong message.

When a child makes an error, we cut marks for the same. What about when teachers make a mistake? What about those?

The message there is that it is always good to be first a better human then become a teacher of substance to inspire others. Teacher then reforms students and channels their positive energy to give them confidence in themselves to succeed with flying colours.

Conclusion

There is a beautiful message, in the movie, for the education system — to live one’s life and recognise one’s hidden talent to achieve success in life.

There will be problems when one is working hard to achieve his or her dreams but this should never be the reason to stop trying to make one’s dreams come true.

A successful teacher is the one who accepts and understands every student’s potential and channels that towards achieving the student’s passion.

* Sakul Kundra is an assistant professor in history at the Fiji National University’s College of Humanities and Education in Lautoka. Bhawna Kundra is a French and business management teacher and Acting co-ordinator at International School Nadi. The views expressed are theirs and not of this newspaper or their respective employers. For comments or suggestions, email. dr.sakulkundra@gmail.com

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