For the past ten years I’ve been preaching that the very first thing you should teach (and done in the kids’ native language) is “dekiru dekiru dekiru” – You can do it! I’ve been ridiculed and criticised for it. “We should be teaching grammar and vocab, not this nonsense”, “I’m not wasting time on that in my classes”, “I’ve got more important things to teach.”

At workshops I’ve been saying we should prize every single kid in class. There’s no such thing as a “bad student”. You never know that the shy little kid in the back might just be the one to go on and visit the moon or cure cancer or become the president. The reaction has often been “I’m not paid for that”, “these kids will achieve nothing”, “my kids are just farmers”, “stop giving students false hope”.

Today proves that there’s no such thing as “false hope”.

“I can do it” is the first thing that everyone should learn. It’s just as valid for a child in a class or now the most powerful man in the world.

And if they don’t get there the first time, you just use the second rule: “losing, means try again.”

These aren’t things that waste time in class, these are the fundamental cores of education, of every class, of every lesson that we learn. That whatever we set out to do, believe in 100% and try without stopping are the the things that any of us can achieve.

I’m so happy that today, maybe for the first time in history, that this has been proved beyond all shadow of doubt.

Genki English Rule Number 1 : I can do it!

Richard Graham

I'm on a mission to make education Genkiβ€”fun, exciting, and full of life! Genki English has now been researched by Harvard University and licensed by the British Council around the world. The results have been magical! Now I'm here to help you teach amazing lessons, with all the materials prepared for you, and to double your teaching income so you can sustainably help many more students in the future!

12 Responses to “You can do it”

  1. Rosebud

    Definitely the way to go.

    Convince the kids and they’ll convince you.

  2. Carol

    I find it interesting that some of the most successful people have been told by a teacher along the line, that they will never succeed.

    One person is Les Wexner, founder and CEO of the Limited (Victoria’s Secret is just one store among a whole bunch now of other clothing stores owned by him). As an Alumni of Ohio State, he gave the graduation speech for my graduation ceremony. He talked about how a professor at OSU had told him he would fail and never amount to anything. He was there to prove them wrong. His speech was based on “you can do it” against all odds and how you have to have faith in yourself. So I think the “I can do it” attitude, is right on! I think Mr. Wexner would agree!

  3. Yumiko

    My students have found it great to see that Presidant Obama has been saying a phrase which they have learned in the lesson and is familiar to them; I can do it! We can do it!

    I hope classroom teachers learn it too, not only as a phrase but as a spirit.

  4. Yumiko

    Richard, is it OK to translate your blog and put it on mine?

    (Maybe I should have asked this by email?)

  5. julian

    I’ve been doing ‘can’ with a few classes recently, and was also amused and pleased that several kids kept shouting out ‘We can do it!’

    That phrase seems to have really caught their imagination. I’m really pleased because it all helps make English ‘real’ to them, as we were discussing the other day at the forum.

    Perhaps you can get President Obama to sing the song in this year’s Celebrity karaoke special in April, Richard!

  6. richard

    It’s really great to see the kids picking this up from the TV, and we couldn’t have asked for a better “real English” phrase for them to notice!

    @Yumiko: As long as there’s a link back to the original article I’m quite happy for anyone to translate my blog entries for their site. Actually as long as the link is there I’m fine with anyone using the English version as well!

  7. Yumiko

    Richard, I haven’t noticed you put the name of the competition winner of last month yet. Or do I just miss it because there are so many articles sisnce the beginning of this year??

  8. Liza

    I was first introduced to the childrens programme Bob the Builder in the German language, not in the original English language. Bob’s catch phrase is “KΓΆnnen wir es schaffen? Ja, wir kΓΆnnen es.” I translated this into “Can we do it? Yes we can!” and have been teaching and eliciting this phrase and response for some years now.

  9. Erika

    Great post! really inspiring! Thanks

  10. richard

    @Yumiko: Ooo yes! I completely forget with everything happening over New Year. I’ll announce the Dec & Jan ones together next month!

  11. Yumiko

    Richard, everyone here knows you are γ€Œι ­γŒγΆγ£ι£›γΆγ»γ©εΏ™γ—γ„γ€‚(You have been so busy that your head must have been blown off, if literally translated.)」
    We care about your health, not the CDs.
    I just wanted to help you…

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