i can never think of a title first
I agree with Maggie (next entry) that the Myers article didn't have any clear point or solutions for us. Not that she was wrong. She actually pointed out a few things I've been learning about in my linguistics classes. She points out on page 231 (lower right) how those who study foreign language learners have realized that learners get a lot more out of moments when they are spontaneously attempting to communicate meaning. The idea is that there are two separate sections of the brain whre the second language is; one is what they have learned in class like the rules and vocab lists and they don't have access to this when trying to communicate meaning quickly, the other area is what they have acquired, they call it interlanguage, this is what comes out when they just talk without trying to be correct. what does that mean for us? Myers says in her next paragraph that instead of "carving up" their (NNS) text and performing an "autopsy" (nice image in the brain-yuck), we should give them more. this simple act of sitting there and talking to them helps them. She talks about this on the bottom of 224 when she mentions spontaneous production and Interlanguage. Those that study second language learners are looking at this primarily.
Another linguistic idea she brings in is on page 225 when she mentions that language features are learned in certain orders and someone may not be ready for some particular feature. Its like trying to take trig before algebra, maybe not that extreme! But then i ask myself, what does this mean for us as tutors? I think we need to realize that we are not responsible for where this student is at in there language learning and pointing out a ton of errors won't help. I sometimes just take a few things, or sentences that really stand out as confusing and start working on those. A always appreciate how difficult it is for them and tell them that, what a difficult task they are attempting (school in a second, or third etc language.
I always encourage them to read a lot, just like Yi said. Then they can go at their own pace and see how words, grammar and punctuation work.