why so much skew towards translating french into english and not the opposite?
I often find that there is only one or two phrases in each section to be translated from english to french and a majority of exercises where a french phrase must be translated to english. Maybe this is an issue to me because my level of comprehension of written french is much better than my level of all else, yet I find the way I learn not just the meaning but memorize the spelling, correct verb forms , adding of -s, etc is when i actually have to write a sentence in french. Also those format questions are the ones I most often get wrong, so it would make sense to be prompted to practice similar exercises more.
There should be a way to target a certain skill - listening, comprehension, writing by increasing the number of questions in a certain format. Maybe as part of "strenghten skills" function
Duolingo uses a very good teaching method for beginners and for people, who want to brush up their school knowledge.
In the course "French for English speakers" you are learning the grammar and the pronunciation. You will mostly translate from French to English and the user interface is in English.
In the "reverse tree", the course "English for French speakers", you will mostly translate from English to French. The user interface is in French, and you can start to read (and write) in the French discussion forums.
(Switch off the sound and microphone!)
In the "laddering trees" you can do "Foreign language 2" from "Foreign language 1" and reverse. If you are learning two ore more foreign languages.
These courses are my favourites.
Duo did a lot of testing and found that translating more into your native language results in better learning and better retention. Once you've completed the French course you can do as adder3 suggests and learn English for French speakers. You'll translate into French more, and all the sentence discussions will be in French also.