Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Akeelah and the Bee (2006) ****-

I recently watched the film Akeelah and the Bee (2006) in which an 11 year old girl from the inner city is coerced into participating in a spelling bee. The situation in the movie is a little different than what Rose is talking about, but not entirely. (She does poorly at school in general, but hardly begins as what one would call a struggling or "basic" speller.) The movie says a lot about recognizing potential in unlikely students, the failure of public school systems to cultivate natural precociousness, and the need for students to feel entitled to their place in the classroom. At one point her spelling coach requires her to read the following quote aloud: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” (This is an excerpt from "A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles" by Marianne Williamson). Basic writers need to understand that just because they have to work a little harder to get their ideas onto paper, the fact that they struggle does not give them the right to give up, and that moreover, what they have to say is worth the time to put on paper.

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