Teacher uses 'The King's Speech' techniques to help student with stammer

Mike Krumboltz

The world can be a cynical place. This story might restore a bit of your faith in humanity and its capacity for kindness and creativity.

A teacher in the U.K. used the speech therapy techniques documented in the Academy Award-winning film "The King's Speech" to help a student struggling with a persistent stammer.

The feel-good educational exchange was recorded for a documentary series called "Educating Yorkshire."

Musharaf Asghar, a 16-year-old preparing for his General Certificate of Secondary Education exams, is justifiably worried about the oral portion of the English final, which will account for 20 percent of his grade. He wrote in the Guardian that stammering has been "a problem for me since I can remember, and I think I was about five years old when people started noticing it was a bit different to a normal stammer that goes away as people get older." He said it led to bullying at various points throughout his childhood.

With the exam approaching, his English teacher, Mr. Burton, decides to help his student by having Asghar practice speaking while listening to music, the same method used by Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush) with King George VI (Colin Firth) in the 2010 hit film.

In the documentary's finale, Asghar gives a speech in front of many of his fellow students, while listening to music on his headphones. Asghar struggles a bit in places, but it's fair to say that on the whole, his greatly improved speaking brings down the house.

Speaking to the Guardian after the documentary aired, Asghar said, "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!"

Now a college student, Asghar told the Guardian he's happy he was profiled on the documentary. He said he "hope[s] it gives other people with a stammer the confidence to have a go at public speaking."