A British high school student was involved in a recent Channel 4 series as they filmed at his school, Thornhill, and says that his stutter, which he has struggled with for years, quickly became a focus of the producers. Because Musharaf “Mushy” Asghar was gearing up to take his GSCEs–and 20% of the final grade depended on an oral exam–he says he was pretty stressed.
But when English teacher Mr. Burton became involved, he used a little trick to help Mushy get through the speaking part without a trace of a stutter: listening to music on headphones as he was speaking.
“The poem we were working on was called The Moment and it really was a moment I will remember for ever,” Mushy said in a piece he wrote for The Guardian. “I didn’t really like the song Mr. Burton put on (it was Ben Howard, and I don’t really like guitary kind of music), but if I had to listen to all of his songs back to back for ever and could speak like that, I would do it!”
Of course, Burton didn’t come up with the idea on his own; it was a trick used by Lionel Logue to help King George VI overcome his stammer in order to give a speech that was broadcast on the radio, and was made popular in the film “The King’s Speech”.
“I thought Mr Burton was a genius until he lent me The King’s Speech afterwards, and then I realised he just copied that other man!” Mushy wrote.
Mushy says he hopes that his experience being televised will help others who have the same affliction, and is proud to have been a part of it.
“I was excited, if nervous, about the whole thing going out. But I’m really happy and proud to be on telly as I hope it gives other people with a stammer the confidence to have a go at public speaking. My speech is getting better every week. Everyone at college gives me time, but I’m getting quicker anyway so they don’t miss their bus while they are listening to me. I still won’t be applying for any call-centre jobs yet though,” he wrote.
You can see video of Mushy in action here.
Image: screenshot via Channel 4