In high school, I loathed French. Every minute of it was agony, from grade 8 to 12. My perennial C-pluses in the class reflected my attitude. I wasn’t keen on the teachers, but I doubt it was their fault. According to educator Shannon Bourbonnais, the curriculum was probably to blame:
Students learn lists of nouns, such as “sports” or “clothes,” and then they learn rules like when to use the past perfect versus imperfect. But that’s not the way we speak. People communicate in sentences, and verbs are central to language. People communicate with statements like “I want,” “I can” or “I have to.” But because “want,” “can” and “must” are irregular verbs in French, they are usually not taught in the first few years of standard French programs.
Bourbonnais references an alternative method of learning which sounds like it would have worked a lot more effectively for me. It might have helped if, when I was in school, we’d started in grade two instead of grade 8.