Post by Tom Daccord
[INTRO: A recent national report by the Watson Foundation found that teachers are using ChatGPT more than students and are using it to create new lesson ideas. To help out all of our teacher friends, we are offering a series of posts focused on practical ways that you can use ChatGPT to assist with own lesson design! Each post will focus on a practical strategy for using ChatGPT and will include ideas for both elementary and secondary school teachers. Here is the seventh part of our series:]
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Why ChatGPT for Language Learning?
ChatGPT can provide personalized language instruction to students and can adapt to their individual needs, interests, and proficiency levels. So, students can leverage ChatGPT as a language practice partner.
How to use ChatGPT for Language Learning
For starters, ChatGPT can help increase student vocabulary by providing synonyms, explaining word meanings, and suggesting appropriate word choices in context. It can even create stories with vocabulary lists. Furthermore, students can engage in a conversation with ChatGPT to practice their writing and speaking skills, and receive feedback on their language usage. ChatGPT can also help with grammar and syntax by revising sentences and providing explanations for grammatical rules. In all, ChatGPT can provide explanations and feedback in multiple ways, adapting to different learning styles, and enabling differentiated instruction.
When constructing ChatGPT prompts, with students or on your own, you should think about what context might be necessary to include — ex. student’s age and language level — to ensure that the responses are appropriate for the level and abilities of your students.
Here are examples of how to leverage ChatGPT for language learning, organized into three categories:
- Vocabulary expansion and understanding
- Student Learning English
- Student: “I’m searching for a more refined synonym for ‘eccentric.’ Can you suggest a suitable alternative?”
- ChatGPT: “Certainly! A more sophisticated synonym for ‘eccentric’ is ‘quirky.’ It describes someone or something with unconventional and distinctive behavior or characteristics. For example, ‘Her sense of fashion is quirky, with mismatched patterns and vibrant colors that make her stand out in a crowd’.”
- Student Learning Spanish
- Student: “Can you provide a synonym for ‘lograr’ in Spanish that expresses a higher level of accomplishment?”
- ChatGPT: “Certainly! A more sophisticated synonym for ‘lograr’ is ‘conseguir,’ which means ‘to achieve’ or ‘to attain.’ For example, ‘Ella consiguió el primer puesto en la competencia.’ (She achieved/attained the first position in the competition.)”
- Story creation with vocabulary list
- Student: “Please write me a 700 word story in [INCLUDE LANGUAGE] at [INCLUDE LEVEL] about [CHOOSE A TOPIC]. At the end of the story please include a vocabulary list for all words at [INCLUDE LEVEL] and explain phonetically how to pronounce them.”
- For example: “Please write me a 700 word story completely in Spanish for a Level 3 student about animals in the wild. At the end of the story please include a vocabulary list for all words at level Spanish 3 and explain phonetically how to pronounce them.”
- Conversation practice
- Student: “I would like to engage in a conversation with you in Spanish. I am a 17 year-old who has studied Spanish for three years and am now taking a Spanish Level 4 course at my high school. I would like to discuss customs in Mexico. Please provide me with a different cultural example from Mexico in each response and provide me with a question to engage me in conversation.”
- Student: I would like to engage in a conversation with you in French. I am a 16 year-old who has studied French for 18 months and am now taking French II at my high school. I would like to practice reflexive verbs. So, ask me a question about my life at school or at home that will prompt me to use a common reflexive verb. (Do not answer the question you provide me.) After I have responded to your question, please correct any errors I make in my response.
- Grammar and Syntax
- Spanish Subjunctive:
- Student: “I’m unsure about the correct subjunctive form of the verb ‘tener’ in this sentence: Que tienes un buen cita. Can you help me?”
- Mandarin Chinese Measure Words
- Student: ”I’m confused about when to use measure words in Mandarin Chinese. Could you explain their usage and provide examples of how I would describe things in my house like furniture?”
Keep in mind that ChatGPT may not always respond exactly as you expect. However, with a bit of creativity and effective prompts, ChatGPT can be a useful and engaging tool for language learning with your students! If you would like to learn more about AI and ChatGPT in education alongside fellow educators please take a look at our brand new AI Cohort.
–by Tom Daccord, with help from ChatGPT