Chats with GPT Make Language Learning Fun with No Oddity!
In the words of David Warlick, “We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.”
However, the perspective of using technology to empower pedagogical practices in the academic set up has somewhat witnessed a revolution like never before since the supposed AI lord ChatGPT saw the light of day. As the name suggests, it is a generative pre-trained transformer, which, interestingly is a language model developed by Open AI and has completely taken the natural language processing world by storm.
What is fascinating is the realisation how ChatGPT has proven to be immensely helpful as one of the most powerful and solicitous teaching-learning tools in the English Language classroom. From writing prompts to elicit relevant information to having students draft essays, stories or creative pieces for generating ideas and structure to providing feedback on the writing style, grammar and coherence, ChatGPT makes it all possible with one click.
Not just for regular teaching, teachers of English may also want to explore ChatGPT for differentiated learning in their classrooms. Generating responses for essay-type questions may be furthered for peer correction where students may be guided to work in collaboration to evaluate each other’s assignments and provide constructive feedback by way of generating advanced ways of language constructions.
Here are a few examples of prompts that teachers of English Language may give to ChatGPT to make language learning a fun and even more engaging experience than what it was in the past:
- Create a conversation between two friends discussing their summer vacation plans – the text should be 150 words long and aimed for middle school learners studying English.
- Generate a descriptive paragraph about a city that you like the most– the text should be 70 – 90 words long and aimed for intermediate-level learners studying English.
- Explain the difference between ‘lay’ and ‘lie using real-life examples.
- Create an engaging warm-up activity for an online group lesson – 10 students learning English – advanced level.
- Write a persuasive 200-word essay on the importance of banning plastic from everyday life and create 5 comprehension questions for intermediate students”
- Correct the grammar errors in the following sentence: ‘Me and my frends is going to the mall’ Explain why it is an error with the grammatical rules.
- Write a bad letter of complaint to a company about a poor service experience – the text should be 250 words long and aimed for secondary school learners studying English.
It is such an excellent tool when it comes to building the essential language skills of writing and speaking. All you need to do is key in the appropriate prompt and lo, you have a pre-trained generative response being displayed on your screen. Not just this, it also offers explanations to grammar rules and solecisms, vocabulary usage and sentence structures and syntax. Teachers of English would want to explore this further, especially in terms of planning debates and discussions and encourage active learning by way of organising Socratic seminars allowing room for arguing different perspectives and share thoughts on literary themes or contemporary issues.
Language learning and acquisition has undergone a sea-change in the 2020s. Today’s learners tend to learn better when there is tech-integration in most forms. In the early years and right till the upper secondary levels, students may be trained to use ChatGPT for collaborative storytelling initiatives that would encourage creativity, adaptability and shared sense of working together. Moreover, as they grow up, this could serve as an important tool to engage in in-depth researches by way of brainstorming ideas, refining research questions and organising their thoughts.
- Vocabulary and Grammar: Use ChatGPT to introduce new vocabulary words and explain their meanings in context. Students can ask questions about grammar rules and sentence structures, and ChatGPT can provide explanations and examples.
- Translation Assistance: For ESL (English as a Second Language) students, ChatGPT can be a helpful tool for translating sentences or texts from their native language to English and vice versa.
- Reading Comprehension: Present students with English texts and let them interact with ChatGPT to ask questions about the content, clarify difficult passages, or summarize the main ideas.
- Cultural Knowledge: ChatGPT can be used to introduce students to English-speaking cultures, idioms, and common expressions, fostering cross-cultural understanding.
- Debates and Discussions: Engage students in debates or discussions on various topics. ChatGPT can serve as a neutral moderator, providing information and keeping discussions focused.
- Creative Writing and Storytelling: Have students collaborate with ChatGPT to create interactive stories or dialogues, encouraging imaginative thinking and storytelling skills.
- Pronunciation Practice: ChatGPT can help students practice pronunciation by reading out sentences or words, and students can imitate the correct pronunciation.
- Exam Preparation: Use ChatGPT to simulate exam scenarios, where students can answer questions and receive feedback, preparing them for language proficiency tests.
However, it is critical to guide students in using ChatGPT effectively and responsibly. While it might be a good idea to encourage them to use it as a tool to enhance their learning process, it is necessary to train them and make them realise that they may not want to compromise on their own thinking and creativity. ChatGPT is an AI language model and might not always provide accurate or contextually appropriate responses. Teachers should actively supervise and guide students’ interactions with the AI to ensure a productive and safe learning environment.
Barcelona, TEFL. “Can ChatGPT Be an Effective Tool for English Language Teachers?” TEFL Barcelona – TEFL Spain, 21 Jan. 2023, teflbarcelona.net/can-chatgpt-be-an-effective-tool-for-english-language-teachers/. Accessed 9 Aug. 2023.