Many of our students didn’t have the greatest experience in school — or at least in their school’s language classes. While these classes were often mandatory (having to get through a certain amount of Spanish in high school is a common example), oftentimes the classes were less about fluency and more about following a certain textbook or passing a certain test.
Grammar was often presented as a chore, and not as the core structure of the language. Vocabulary was there to be drilled, not to enhance self-expression. Students were constrained to certain topics, and, given that they were taking at least half a dozen other classes at the same time, exploring the language outside of those constraints was virtually impossible.