Animated short documentary Teach Me lets children with special educational needs (SEN) express their thoughts on learning and teaching. 

Teach Me is a documentary by Practical Filmmaking student Anna Cottrill. The animated short gives a voice to school children with special educational needs, allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings on the way they learn and the problems they come across with standard methods of teaching.

Cottrill has dyspraxia, which affects physical coordination, and has been recently diagnosed with ADHD. “I made Teach Me because I wanted to raise awareness to the emotional and human side of SEN in the UK’s mainstream schools, in the hope that by having the children speak for themselves, conversations about how to adjust teaching to accommodate kids with SEN could be approached with empathy for their lived experience”, she said.

“If I could have one place this film could be screened it would just be in classrooms, in front of teachers.”

Take a look at the seven-minute film below. It’s full of heartbreaking stories of children who are labelled as ‘problems’ or an ‘inconvenience’ because of their educational needs.

As children with SEN make up 14.9% of the student population, we can only hope that outdated approaches to teaching will adapt to be more inclusive. Films like this make a big difference. Although this started as a university project for Cottrill, it’s turned out to be much bigger – it won Best Animated Documentary at the Story? International Student Film Festival and will get an honourable mention at the Ealing Film Festival.

Good for her, we say. Let’s hope she goes on to make many more films that make a difference.

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