I'm helping a middle-aged, college-educated woman from mainland China improve her English. This is a hard-working, well-educated, highly-self-motivated student. She has lived in the USA for many years.
My student's reading skills are around that of the average native English speaker. Her listening skills are fine. Her speaking is perfectly comprehensible.
The biggest challenge has to do with grammar. Anyone who has helped a Chinese speaker improve their English has surely encountered these difficulties.
- My student regularly leaves off articles like a/an/the.
- My student often fails to properly conjugate verbs. She can conjugate verbs correctly if she thinks about it but usually does not. The challenge here is breaking a long-established bad habit.
This student talks to people all the time in English, but they don't correct her. She regularly reads adult-level English nonfiction books. She's actively studying from several TOEFL preparation guides.
What are the most effective exercises and homework for helping an advanced-level student fix these errors in speaking? I'm a native English speaker. I can speak/read Mandarin.