I recently came across this lovely short film called ”Mical”. It’s based on the true story of dyslexia experts Pat and Mike Jones, and it does a wonderful job documenting their “pits and peaches” as we say around here.
In these past 10 years at Sterne, I have heard this same story from countless prospective families: their children feel ashamed, frustrated, even enraged, when they don’t learn in the same way or at the same pace as their peers; their teachers became their enemies instead of steady and reliable allies; their parents struggle to understand them or their needs, and often that anxiety and worry reaches multiple boiling points at school and at home. I wish this story weren’t so common, but I do know that Sterne’s reading and writing intervention methods--some of which are actually highlighted in this film!--can help students break through learning challenges. Our teachers, whose attitudes and skills are reflected beautifully through the eyes of Pat Jones in this film, can change students’ lives and sense of self worth.
Please take some time to view this short, award winning film at home. I’ve included a few family discussion questions below to help frame what could be an important conversation around the dinner table tonight.
1. What’s Michael’s experience in school like? Can you relate to this, and if so, how?
2. Michael’s father, Peter, says that he’s “slow”. Is this true? What indications do we have throughout the film that Michael is, in fact, intelligent?
3. Is Michael naturally “violent” or “out of control” as the Principal suggests?
4. How do Michael’s mom and dad respond, early in the film, to his challenges? How does this change?
5. Why is Michael’s mother able to teach him how to read when others schools have failed him?
6. Parents: Can you relate to any of the feelings that Pat and Peter express throughout the film? What has changed? What has stayed the same?