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Student with stammer gives stunning speech using technique from 'The King's Speech' movie

'If you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything,' said Mushy.

Student with stammer gives stunning speech using technique from 'The King's Speech' movie
Cover Image Source: YouTube | Channel 4

Great teachers and mentors can transform the lives of their students in many ways. In 2013, a teacher transformed the life of a student named Musharaf Asghar, a.k.a. Mushy. Then a 16-year-old, Mushy was a student at Thornbill Community Academy in Yorkshire. He had his oral test coming up which he needed to pass with a C grade to get admission to the college. But his stammer made it next to impossible for him to pass this test. That’s when his teacher Matthew Burton jumped in and employed an out-of-the-box speech therapy technique to aid him. In the end, when Mushy delivered his last school speech, the audience was swimming in floods of tears, reported The Guardian.


At this time, Mushy was preparing for his General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exams. He was particularly worried about clearing his English oral exam, which had a 20 percent share in his overall grades. Seeing him struggle so much, Burton asked him to practice speaking while listening to music, the same speech method used by Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush) with King George VI (Colin Firth) in the 2010 Academy Award-winning movie “The King’s Speech.”


He handed Mushy his iPhone and a pair of headphones, asking him to read aloud from the poem “The Moment” by Margaret Atwood, which he picked at random. After days of training this way, Mushy got his C. At the end of his school session, he was invited to deliver a thank-you speech, which was recorded for the Channel 4 documentary series, "Educating Yorkshire."

Image Source: Jonny Mitchell (C), Matthew Burton (L), Michael Steer (2ndL) and Musharaf Asghar (2ndR) pose with their Best Documentary Series award for 'Educating Yorkshire' during National Television Awards 2014 in England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
Image Source: (L-R) Matthew Burton, Michael Steer, Jonny Mitchell, and Musharaf Asghar pose with their Best Documentary Series award for 'Educating Yorkshire' during the National Television Awards 2014. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

The episode shows Mushy standing at the podium, dressed in a green sweater with white headphones clipped around his head, as he delivers his speech and his fellow students and teachers listen teary-eyed. Although he stuttered in places, most of the speech was fairly smooth.

His speech attracted tremendous attention from social media, even prominent personalities. Ed Balls, a British politician who himself experienced stammering, wrote on X, "Stammer no obstacle," referring to Mushy. Comedian Jack Whitehall called Mushy a "hero" whereas British magician Dynamo tweeted a note saying, "Well done bro!"


Sometime after the documentary, Mushy told The Guardian, "I thought Mr. Burton was a genius until he lent me ‘The King's Speech' afterward, and then I realized he just copied that other man!" He revealed that stammering had been a problem for him ever since he could remember, probably since when he was five years old. This led to him experiencing a lot of bullying during his school days, he recalled.

His parents supported his decision to participate in Educating Yorkshire, but his mom was worried. "She said to me, 'Sometimes you can't even get your words out in front of us! How are you going to manage on TV?'" But he proved that he could indeed do it. He said he hoped “it gives other people with a stammer the confidence to have a go at public speaking."



At 17 years old, Mushy was studying for a science B.Tech at a university in Huddersfield. "I want to be a teacher eventually," he said, "Mr. Burton, Mr. Mitchell, Mrs. Crowther, Mrs. Marsden, Mrs. Lee; they've all helped me so much. They listened to me when I needed them. They gave me help when I needed it. They helped me overcome my speaking problem. They're amazing." His dream came true. In 2022, at 25, he graduated from Huddersfield University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, per BBC.


On his 27th birthday in 2023, he shared an update on X with his followers, sharing how time had passed and how he was always grateful to his teachers who had shaped him into who he is today.


Mushy is one of those people whose journey of success is laid bare in front of the entire world to get inspired and empowered in their own lives. Currently, Mushy is a keynote motivational speaker around the Kirklees area. He delivers talks on mental health, leadership, management, bullying, and inspiring advice for youth. “If you really put your mind to it, you really can achieve anything,” he said, speaking to The Mirror.

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A post shared by Musharaf Iqbal Asghar (@mushyasghar)


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