Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:38

Just believing in yourself can be half the battle

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Arigato. The Japanese use this word to say “thank you.”


It was one of the words my students taught me this summer. Along with some limited vocabulary in their language, my pupils also taught me about their culture.
It was my job to prepare them to live in Canada for one year.
In August, I taught English to a group of 32 Japanese teenagers. It was my responsibility to make sure they became more competent speaking English. I also had to teach them about Canadian culture.
They arrived knowing some English, but they needed to know more. They will live with host families until June and complete a year of high school in our country.
I was supposed to have one month to prepare the group of 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds for life in Canada. However, the employees at a few overseas Canadian embassies went on strike. The embassy workers didn’t process my students’ visas on time and half the group arrived with only two weeks remaining in our program.
Two weeks isn’t enough time to teach many language skills. Due to the strike, I had to change my approach. Because I no longer had enough time to teach them very much, I wanted to boost their confidence and make sure they believed in the abilities they already possessed.
To achieve my goal, I never diminished them or their efforts. I focused on what they did well and what they already knew. I encouraged them to see their mistakes as chances to learn and improve rather than errors to feel bad about. They needed to feel sure they could handle living in an English environment for one year.
At the end of the program, I noticed the students spoke louder in English compared to when they arrived. Their body language changed as well.
Instead of the shy, nervous way they stood when speaking English, they were more upright and relaxed. Their transformation meant they had a belief in their abilities.
When someone believes in your abilities, you begin to believe in them, too. That is why it’s important to surround yourself with people who offer praise instead of criticism and negativity. Between hearing, “Yes, I think you can,” and “No, you don’t have what it takes,” which would you rather believe?  
One other important consideration is to patrol what you say to yourself. Be on the look out for false statements that put you down. Focus on your qualities.
In the words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
(Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing. For more information about his speaking engagements, please call 306-661-8975 or visit his website www.canoetoneworleans.com.)

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.