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Failing French

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I’m currently in pre ib and I’m doing relatively well in most of my classes. Currently I have a C in French 2 although it isn’t failing I have not been improving at all and this score will only go down. I’ve studied my arse off and tried attention in class but I can’t retain the material. Also the teacher doesn’t speak any English in class only French, which is probably the right way to teach foriegn langague but I can’t understand. Anyways I think I’m pretty boned and I’m pretty sure there’s no way to get the diploma without foreign language. So... any suggestions on what I should do. I could leave the program but I don’t really want to. Am I wasting my time? 

P.S. Any tips for French is much apperciated 

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When you "begin" (loosely speaking) to learn a language, start with vocabulary and basic tenses. There are several websites online that show you technique to memorize about 500 vocab words (or just a list of words to know), and if you are not a beginner you probably know more. Important are the prepositions, pronouns (eg ce qui, lequel etc) and some common verbs. The adjectives and adverbs are often derivatives of these and/or incredibly similar to english. It's strongly recommended that you read french material at your level. Basically if you are just starting to read in french, any kid (say 3rd grader)'s fiction book should do. It's confusing because the things you learn in class might not be the most natural or efficient or even useful way to learn a language. So you have to dedicate effort outside of the curriculum if you really want to do the IB.

Later as you become more aware of sentence structures. You can keep a notebook of interesting sentence structure you see in your reading and begin to regularly write few sentences daily in French. If you write a 3-5 sentences a day, over course of a year and before you enter IB you would have written equivalent length of 20 or more 400 word essays. 

Listening is not tested in IB (or not heavily tested, as you do need to understand your teacher in the IB orals) so it's ok if you are not need to be strong in that aspect, but in French class you should try to speak to others in French just to reiterate the sentence structure and vocab you have been developing. It is somewhat ironic that in French class you get most exposure to the least important component in IB exam, but ideally that reinforces other aspects of learning a language.

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I'll give some practical tips:

  • start listening to Coffee Break French, choosing an to start an episode that's at or slightly below your level. It's fun, and you'll learn tons.
  • You're in Pre-IB; relax; getting a C may seem like the end of Universe as you know it and but I promise: 1. it will not matter in the long run–French is useless anyways (haha jk I'm currently learning French and love it; it's not uselesss) 2. you have lots of time to work on your French.
  • Coffee Break French, seriously I can't recommend enough. It's free and available on whatever your preferred medium for podcasts is.
  • Anytime you don't understand in class, ask the teacher to repeat it. It may seem embarrassing but I promise it's not. If you want it, other kids want to ask the same thing. The teacher should then make sure that the whole class understands. Sometimes even forcing language teachers forget that they can't talk a lie a minute.
  • If you're really eager you can try HelloTalk but that's a bonus. 

(just a comment from me: If it's French II, you're teacher should not be teaching grammar in French. That's stupid if he/she only teaches grammatical points in French.)

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Not much more to add, but remember that the IB have changed the syllabus - listening exams are now part of the new paper 2(reading comprehension), starting May 2020. For me, what I like to do (I take spanish B) is to write all the interesting vocab words I hear down in the back of my notebook. All of them - especially the ones I know. Later, I write them into quizlet - with a definition in the target language + translation.This helps retain and remember vocab - repetition helps to make it easier to use. There's no point attempting to learn difficult new vocab if you aren't comfortable with what you already know. :)) Also, talk to your teacher! Usually, teachers are more than willing to help with tutorials etc. We have a couple of students that couldn't understand a word at the beginning of the year, and now they're much more confident. Good luck!

 

 

(Also, if worst comes to worst, does your school offer ab initio classes? We have french students that transferred to an ab initio other language in the autumn of ib1)

 

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