But one French sixth form college is pioneering the use of hypnosis to teach their students English.
A private agricultural college in the south west département of Landes has become the first in France to pioneer the technique – offering their 150 students a weekly 45 minute hypnosis session, during which the English vocabulary and grammar they have learned through the week is reinforced.
The course, which has been going since the start of the school year in September, is run in partnership with start-up firm Hypnoledge.
Student Emma told French newspaper Le Parisien: “I would never have imagined that I would one day learn with my eyes closed. I remember the expressions much better and my accent has clearly improved.”
Her classmate Ionne added: “Every time, it's like taking a trip inside me. I immediately visualise the situations.
“We can choose several themes, cooking trip, weather, cinema… and I feel like I am at the heart of all these scenes. It's amazing and I'm getting better in English.”
France has one of the worst records in western Europe for competency in English, well below countries like the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark.
The latest English proficiency ratings show that 57 percent of French people speak English to a moderate standard (compared with 38 percent of people in the UK who speak a second language while in the US it's nearer 20 percent).
But France is slowly climbing the rankings, overtaking both Italy and Spain.
One of the interesting effects of the hypnosis trial is that students felt it improved their accent – which many French people say is a barrier to speaking English as they feel self-conscious about their pronunciation.