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The Canguro manifesto of language learning

A student can only have success when they know what they want to learn, and they are treated as individuals, with varying levels of ability and interest. Workbooks, standardised testing, and high-stakes exams destroy success for this reason.

There is no room for false promises or magic techniques in the learning process. The science is clear about what works and what doesn’t, and students and teachers should be informed about the truths of language acquisition.

You need patience because it will take 30 years. Mistakes are learning. Being a native speaker is not the goal. Never apologise for your English. You don’t need perfect English to have good communication. These are all essential parts of a successful student mindset.

You can’t measure success with exams, or vocabulary size, or worksheets. You can only measure success by how much the student can succeed at doing what they want to do, in English.

Language and culture are deeply integrated, and unless students understand and respect the culture of the place where they will be using the language, they will never be successful communicators.

Learning a language will not always be fun, but it should mostly be fun. The main job of the teacher is to stimulate curiosity in the student. Everyone in the process should remember that there is nothing more magical than learning the ability to send messages through time and space, using language.

Education changes lives

The Canguro community knows the power of education and has raised more than $28,000 to build a school in Laos with the charity Pencils of Promise. You can help by making a donation from as little as $1.