Lessons from the Movie ‘Front of Class’ (Part One)
The protagonist in this movie is Brad and he has Tourette syndrome. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Tourette syndrome is defined as, “… a condition of the nervous system. TS causes people to have “tics”. Tics are sudden twitches, movements, or sounds that people do repeatedly. People who have tics cannot stop their body from doing these things. For example, a person might keep blinking over and over.” The movie, kicks off, with Brad riding a bicycle to school. He gets to school and is bullied by some boys, he attempts to retaliate but for the intervention of his teacher. While he is being dragged by his teacher, his ‘tics’ become more frequent because he is agitated and his teacher warned him to stop. He made an attempt to explain that he has no control over the sounds but this fell deaf ears.
Further into the movie, during one of Brad’s class’ activities, his Tourette kicks in and his classmates all laugh at him, while his teacher, thinks he is making an attempt to be the clown of the class. Upon a subsequent “tourettic” episode in this class, the teacher calls Brad out to apologize to the entire class for disturbing and to promise never to make the silly noises again. Unfortunatly, Brad’s “tic” went off again as he got to his seat which led to him being reported and eventually, he had to change his schools.
In Brad’s new school, the Headmaster alters how Brad is perceived by his school mates. Although, the headmaster was firm by scolding Brad, having a conversation with Brad and asking salient questions enabled the Headmaster acquire knowledge about the nature of Brad’s condition, and as such, he was able to help Brad’s public perception in school. In order to achieve this, the Headmaster had to invite Brad for the school’s orchestra even though Brad was concerned that his condition may be a sabotage to the event. On the fateful day, the headmaster calls Brad to the stage and asked him the following questions;
- Why do you make those sounds?
- How can we help you?
Based on the foregoing, I will be sharing one of my key lessons from the movie. The first has to be, the power of asking questions. I firmly believe that asking the right questions can change the trajectory of anyone’s life. Juxtaposing these two scenarios, from above, buttresses this point even further. From these scenes, it is glaring how both situations were handled differently and this translated to different outcomes. It brings to mind the concept of the tools used in critical thinking, particularly, automatic processing, also known as pattern matching and conscious processing.
In automatic processing, our brains are quick to make a jump from the situations/problems before us to a solution without really analysing the situation. Because this is not a voluntary activity, our brain, tends to link some similar events in our past to the present situation in order to make sense of the situation/ problem. The danger with this is that we can make hasty conclusions which can be detrimental. In the case of Brad, in the first instance, we see that this pattern of thinking may have come to play greatly in how his teacher perceived him, which translated to how his other classmates treated him as well. As such, as humans, we ought to be circumspect in our approach to issues which may daily beset us.
Finally, it behooves on us, in our interactions with people to always ask questions, the right questions. Asking the right questions can equip us with the right information which may be helpful to those around us.