ChatGPT for Language Teaching and Learning

 Kohnke, L ., Benjamin  Moorhouse, L. & Di Zou, D. (2023) ChatGPT for Language Teaching and Learning. RELC Journal OnlineFirst, April 3, 2023.

 This short article provides a useful introductory technology review and discussion of the possible affordances and the challenges of the AI chatbot ChatGPT for language teaching and learning. The article outlines some of the possible affordances of Chat GPT, for instructors and students. For example, ChatGPT can be used to identify word meanings in context, explain language mistakes, generate texts, e.g., emails and stories etc., develop quizzes and provide dictionary definitions.  

There are several ongoing debates about the use of ChatGPT in education generally.  Educators have questioned the ethical use of ChatGPT including the possibility of cheating, and how it may affect assessment. Since it does not supply sources or citations, there are concerns about the accuracy of ChatGPT responses which may mislead students. There are also questions about cultural bias, since most of the texts in the database are English; this may be of particular concern in language education as students from diverse cultural backgrounds may not be aware that this tool is not culturally neutral.

The authors argue that the effective use of ChatGPT will require the development of specific digital competencies in three broad categories. Instructors will need Technological Proficiency, including understanding the features of ChatGPT and how it works; Pedagogical Compatibility, that is consideration of how this tool could be used to enhance language teaching and learning, planning for implementation, and providing guidance for students to use the tool for independent learning. Social Awareness includes critical awareness of the challenges of ChatGPT and supporting students to understand the challenges and the risks and ethical issues inherent in the use of the tool.

The article concludes with a list of suggestions of how students can use ChatGPT to improve their English language learning.

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The Affordances and Contradictions of AI-Generated Text for Second Language Writers

Warschauer, M., et al. (2023). The Affordances and Contradictions of AI-Generated Text for Second Language Writers SSRN.

This timely report looks at how to approach the affordances of AI-writing tools like ChatGPT in second language classrooms, while maintaining the importance of learners first developing writing skills without these tools. The authors encourage ongoing critical discussion about AI-generated text to ensure that educators learn how to manage it in their educational context, rather than simply banning it. They make the point that learners will most likely be expected to be able to use AI-generated text in employment situations and will be at a disadvantage if they have no experience with the tools or think of them as “cheating tools” or shortcuts.

The authors propose a five-part framework to help learners find their way with ChatGPT. It includes these components: understand, access, prompt, corroborate and incorporate. They provide a list of prompt types and examples of each one. They describe and explain the reasons for each of the other components of the framework. The report also presents a sample list of the functions of ChatGPT to explain some of its uses.

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