This particular problem is about my 11 year old sister whom I help with her English homework and studying from time to time. She contacts me during the week and I can tell you... tutoring over the phone or over Gmail chat is messy. Yesterday she was asking me all the time: "What does this word mean? How do you say this word in English?" I was a bit sick of it so I told her she has 3 different dictionaries and she's old and intelligent enough to look those word up.
"But, but .... "
"Look them up!"
A few hours later she called me because she didn't know what to do with her homewor. She had those weird words "present simple" written in her notebook and a list of some more weird words. "What is present simple??" It's a tense my dear. And those words are verbs. You have to use them in a sentence.
"PLAYS. What goes with plays? He, she ot it. You got that one right. What does this "she" play? Basketball. Ok. Now write that down." And then I heard her typing.
- "Are you typing your homework?
- "No, I'm checking it in a dictionary."
- "Amm.. first of all, dictionaries don't translate sentences and second of all .... don't you know what "she", "play" and "basketball" mean??"
- "Yeah but ... you said I have to look it up."
- "Not if you already understand it!!"
- "Oh... I thought that was a bit weird ... "
You see ... I have problems with tutoring. That's because I demand a bit of common sense! I think I should kidnap her and take her to a 3-weeks "I-can-think-with-my-own-head" camp! :)