How to learn French verbs quickly (and happily) – Just French It

by learn a language journalist
When I started learning French, verbs were a difficult topic for me.
Mostly because, being a native, I relied on my extensive experience of spoken French to determine what tense and ending I should use.
I did not even think about it. It was just… the way it had always been. Which, you can imagine, was difficult to share with my students.
So I dived deep into the mechanics of French tenses, learned about my own language’s conjugation. Tenses, modes, groups, endings, and everything that could help me design a structure. Then, my plan was to simply share the structure. 
1st group, verbs in ER.
Passé composé = auxiliary and the past participle.
It was seriously strict. 
But I had my structure, and with a lot of repetition, my students were downloading it into their heads. 
Where my plan fell short is when it came to using this structure to understand French, especially spoken French, and using the structure when speaking.
I could see my students painfully struggling to:
Remember the structures
Applying them to the right verbs
Applying them in the right contexts
The result was often a mess.
I don’t mind messy. It’s a superb stepping stone, especially to find elements to improve. But this was not a joyful mess.
This was a discouraging mess. One that was costing me motivated students. Who, when lost in the jungle of conjugation, ran to the nearest emergency exit, and quit French all together. I could not allow this to happen.
Because it would mean restricting learning French to the few extremely courageous, and intensely academically-inclined students.
So, what do you do when you are looking for a solution? You define the problem.

This content was originally published here.

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