AI and English language teaching: Affordances and challenges

Crompton, H., Edmett, A., Ichaporia, N., & Burke, D. (2024). AI and English language teaching: Affordances and challenges. British Journal of Educational Technology, 00, 1–27.

This article provides a systematic literature review focused on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is currently being used in English Language teaching and learning. Based on this review the article also provides an analysis and discussion of affordances of AI, and identifies potential  limitations and challenges presented by AI in English language teaching and learning. The authors outline themes and issues requiring future research to support  the effective use of AI for English language teaching and learning at all learning levels.

The literature review demonstrated that AI is currently more likely to be used to support the learning in relation to speaking (primarily pronunciation) and writing  (primarily vocabulary and grammar) skills. The literature review indicated that AI is used less  in relation to reading,  and the authors posit that this may be due to the considerable  affordances of natural language processing which are  more pertinent in the areas of speaking and writing. The review also uncovered the potential of AI- powered tools including chatbots, on platforms such as Duolingo, Memrise and Mondly, to support learners in self-regulation, to become more autonomous learners, and to reduce anxiety, and increase confidence  in speaking English.

Based on their analysis of the literature the authors conclude that although there is solid evidence of promising affordances of AI, further research is required to better understand the implications of the use of AI in English language instruction. They contend that there is a  clear gap in the research in relation to challenges and limitations of AI, and identified the following areas for future research: technology breakdowns, concerns relating to personal cyber security, variable quality of AI-powered tools, and a potential over-standardisation of language.

Finally ,the authors point to the critical importance of enabling and supporting English language instructors to understand AI, how to evaluate AI-powered tools, and how to make effective use of these tools for language teaching and learning.

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