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28 November 2012

Scene from "The Miracle Worker"

The "water" scene from The Miracle Worker is a great way to introduce the power of language.
 
My writing students are going to be writing literary autobiographies (autobiographies of their literary, written, reading, and spoken, experience), and I am going to show this video as an introduction to the theme of literacy and the power of language. There is also a nice quotation in our textbook from Helen Keller's biography The Day Language Came into My Life, which shows how powerful this moment was in her life:

"I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of [Annie's] fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness of something forgotten--a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of languaeg was revealed to me. I knoew then that "w-a-t-e-r" meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. The living world awakened my soul, gave light, hope, job, set it free... I left the well-house eager to learn. Everything had a name, and each name gave a birth to new thought. As we returned to the house, every object which I touched seemed to quiver with life. That was because I saw everything with the strange, new sight that had come to me" (p. 122-3).

I wonder if my students ever had this "realization" in English. Does anybody remember a feeling like this with learning another language? Did it ever just "hit" you and you "got" it?