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  1. #1
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    Default Advice for one on one tutoring

    Hi Everyone,

    I am posting here because i am at a loss as to how i can help improve my girlfriends english, she is Chinese and has been studying english for quite some time (pretty much her entire school life). She does have an excellent grasp of the language however there are quite a few things i have picked up on.

    She has an excellent vocabulary obtained by spending hours reading a dictionary :P so i've never thought this was an issue for her.

    Her reading/listening skills appear to be quite good. Most of the time she can keep up with me even if i am speaking at natural speed. However i feel she often misunderstands the meaning of the entire sentence or phrase etc.., its almost as if she looks at the sentence picks out keywords and then assumes the rest. She also seems to have trouble with understanding my expression ( not sure how to describe this sorry), ie hard for her to know if what i've said is in a joking context, angry, upset, happy etc.. any emotion put into what i say seems to get lost in translation and leads to really big misunderstandings. An example of this is when we may have been talking for a while (30 minutes or so) and i begin to get the impression she misunderstood something i initially said, when i ask her i quickly discover she did indeed misunderstand what i said at first and we have since been having a really confusing conversation.

    Her writing skills are average but im not sure if this is just because she is a bit lazy/relaxed when shes talking to me. She tends to use really simple sentences and basic grammar and whenever she attempts slightly larger sentences they seem to get a bit messed up with things like wrong word order, wrong word (things like do/does etc..), sometimes the sentences are correct but not at all natural and it's really hard for me to explain to her why she shouldnt even use that particular sentence. so from what i can tell she really needs a lot of work on her own written/spoken grammar and sentence patterns.

    Her spoken english is getting pretty good, she has some issues like running out of breath when she speaks or fully announcing each word as if it is its own sentence rather than fluently speaking the sentence with links between words to round out the sound. This part im not overly worried about as i think it will just require me and her to spend more time constantly speaking.

    So basically her biggest problem is using really simple grammar, wrong (but correct) unnatural sounding sentences, incorrect use of words, tense seems to cause some issues too.

    Anyway i am in no way shape or form a Teacher. I have tried many ways to help her but most of the time i fail because i have absolutely no idea what i am doing. I think i put her off wanting to learn because im using bad methods to try and help eg: over correction, boring her by making her repeat herself. Couple that with myself not being the most patient "Tutor" in the world and it's easy to understand why she might lose her motivation :S. The list goes on but i'd rather not fill up an entire page :P.

    So what i'm after is some advice from a few teachers and maybe other students on what the best approach would be for me to assist her in improving her english. Currently we don't get a lot of time to chat (about 1- 2 hours every night and longer on the weekends), she works a fair bit so is often tired and uninterested in studying. I was hoping maybe there are some methods that can be used subtly or a method that will appeal to her and make the whole process seem fun. I think these issues need to be addressed now because it seems we are developing some bad lazy habits and i really want to break us both out of this.

    If you need more info let me know, I really appreciate any help offered.

    Cheers :)

  2. #2
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Advice for one on one tutoring

    I suggest that you hire a female English tutor for her - and you just be her loving, encouraging boyfriend.

    That will also allow you some time to improve your own writing skills.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Advice for one on one tutoring

    Quote Originally Posted by susiedqq View Post
    I suggest that you hire a female English tutor for her - and you just be her loving, encouraging boyfriend.
    A good idea; However, I would like to assist her in some way given we speak nearly every night.

    Quote Originally Posted by susiedqq View Post
    That will also allow you some time to improve your own writing skills.
    Yes it would appear I'm suffering from some kind of degenerative writing disease. My apologies for that demonic wall of bad english :S
    Last edited by LordVyers; 25-Feb-2010 at 01:40.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Advice for one on one tutoring

    Thank you for taking the time to read all of that. I had a laugh at your suggestion at first as the big bang theory tv show came to mind - penny and Sheldon :p. I guess that is what I'm after and it would save me trying to explain grammar points that I really am not an expert on.

    Cheers

  5. #5
    mmasny is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Advice for one on one tutoring

    How's about her watching or listening to English programs on TV and radio? This one of the best ways of learning a new language, as you can encounter many different ways of speaking. It's important to have a wide variety of patterns. Talking to one or two persons only may end up with problems understading any other person. So it was in my case. I was always this kind of a dictionary reader and used to have big communication problems. After I started watching British and American shows I improved my language enormously. The main advantage of it is that it's interesting and funny. I don't have to compel myself to do that.
    These are my thoughts, good luck.
    Last edited by mmasny; 26-Feb-2010 at 00:57.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Advice for one on one tutoring

    Yeah, she's actually got a heap, and we have done that in the past. Seems to work well.

  7. #7
    mmasny is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Advice for one on one tutoring

    What does "get a heap" mean?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Advice for one on one tutoring

    Heap = large quantity of something, Got a heap = To have a large amount of something.

  9. #9
    mmasny is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Advice for one on one tutoring

    Ah, OK, I thought it was some kind of an idiom. Thanks.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Advice for one on one tutoring

    No worries :)

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