I recently began tutoring a middle-aged, adult female from Ethiopia. She has been in the U.S. for 10 years, and speaks, reads, and writes quite well. However, not surprisingly, she still struggles with some details. She really wants to improve her English, and I think we are having a little bit of communication difficulty.
The issue may very well be due to my own incompetence, but what I perceive she keeps telling me is that she wants me to figure out what her problem is and help her work on it. But when I identified that she often misuses the present progressive tense where she should use simple present and gave her some worksheets to practice that, she did not feel like it would help her. She also tells me that she understands tenses very well, but often gets confused when writing essays, where a variety of different tenses are required.
I feel like the majority of her mistakes are one-offs, not things with a set rule that she can memorize, other than frequent errors in verb tenses.
She writes out answers to essay questions, and also writes full reflective essays after reading a book, and she wants me to correct them, which I am happy to do. I think that this process is the best way for her to improve, but she seems to want me to recommend more.
It may be just that she wants a silver bullet and there is not one, or it may be that I should just assert that X is what you should do to improve, but I'm not comfortable asserting any one particular thing.
My current plan is to find essays online, blank out most of the verbs and have her figure out what tense they should be in. She seemed to think that may help her, but I still sense she wants something more from me.
I'm hoping you veterans have some better ideas. Please help.
Thank you in advance.