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Celebrate Mother Language Day

HomenewsCultureRumi in the Language Classroom Vol 6: Learner Differences

Rumi in the Language Classroom Vol 6: Learner Differences

Rumi in the Language Classroom Series Vol 6

See Vol 1 here
See Vol 2 here
See Vol 3 here
See Vol 4 here
See Vol 5 here

In this sixth volume, we will explore another story by Rumi in “Masnavi-e-Manavi” called “the Duckling in the Hen’s House.” This is the story of a duck egg which was sent to a hen’s nest by chance. The duckling was ignored since he was completely different. This continued until the hen wanted to warn her chickens about water and the danger of being drowned in case of falling into the lake. At this moment, the different chicken, which in fact was a duckling, dove into the water and swam.

This story can illuminate individual differences in language classrooms. The world’s history is full of stories of geniuses who were neglected in schools or dropped out, among whom Albert Einstein, Mary Curry, Steve Jobs can be named.

Gardner’s (2011) multiple intelligences is a very related concept here. He defines various intelligences by which people are born. It is important at teachers to not only to accept these differences in but also to welcome them. The world is beautiful with these differences, and the world of ELT is as well.

To me, the chicken coop is a metaphor for an ELT classroom in which the hen is the teacher, chickens are normal learners, and the duckling is a student with special abilities or even needs. So, the teachers need to accept the students as they are and respect their differences. This is the only way to make sure all the talents are taken into consideration.

The implication of this story for language teachers is that we need to consider different learners in our lesson plans and design activities to meet different learners’ styles and needs. Having done this, we can make sure that the learners, even with special needs, can benefit from our classrooms.


Gardner, H. E. (2011). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. Hachette Uk.

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