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  • Children working together outdoors picking up litter
    • Language teaching
    • Young learners

    How to teach students to be global citizens

    By Jeanne Perrett
    Reading time: 4.5 minutes

    As teachers, we all want our students to work toward making the world a better place. Through focusing on global citizenship, this drive to change the world is something we can help foster every day in the classroom. In this post, we’ll explore how.

    What are global citizens?

     A global citizen is someone who knows that they are part of a worldwide community. They understand that there are people who have completely different lifestyles, appearances, cultures and routines but with whom we share common values and responsibilities. Global citizenship encourages tolerance and understanding, and learning about it helps children become open-minded adults.  

    In a primary English classroom, helping students become aware of themselves as citizens of the world will introduce them to a global way of thinking. We can do this while also helping them become familiar with, and proficient in, English.  

    How can we introduce the concept?

    Before students put themselves in a global context, they should get to know themselves as individuals. But they should also get to know themselves as people who are part of their immediate communities.  

    In the classroom, this can be done by encouraging students to think about something personal, such as their likes and dislikes. We can then encourage students to look a little further: What kinds of homes do they see in their communities? What makes a house a home to them? What about people working in their communities — what important jobs do they do, and how do they make an impact? 

    For language teachers, the idea is to combine vocabulary and grammar structures with a slowly widening view of our world. Simply by introducing the concept that we are part of a worldwide community can take the children out of their own experiences and help them start to consider others.

    Tips and activities

    Social media makes it possible for teachers to contact each other across borders and to collaborate between their schools. Something simple, like organizing a class video call for students after lunchtime and encouraging students in different countries to discuss what they ate in English, can help learners become more globally aware. 

  • A teacher stood at the front of the class talking to her class
    • The Global Scale of English
    • Language teaching

    English for employability: Why teaching general English is not enough

    By Ehsan Gorji
    Reading time: 4 minutes

    Many English language learners are studying English with the aim of getting down to the nitty-gritty of the language they need for their profession. Whether the learner is an engineer, a lawyer, a nanny, a nurse, a police officer, a cook, or a salesperson, simply teaching general English or even English for specific purposes is not enough. We need to improve our learners’ skills for employability.

    The four maxims of conversation

    In his article Logic and Conversation, Paul Grice, a philosopher of language, proposes that every conversation is based on four maxims: quantity, quality, relation and manner. He believes that if these maxims combine successfully, then the best conversation will take place and the right message will be delivered to the right person at the right time.

    The four maxims take on a deeper significance when it comes to the workplace, where things are often more formal and more urgent. Many human resources (HR) managers have spent hours fine-tuning workplace conversations simply because a job candidate or employee has not been adequately educated to the level of English language that a job role demands. This, coupled with the fact that many companies across the globe are adopting English as their official corporate language, has resulted in a new requirement in the world of business: mastery of the English language.

    It would not be satisfactory for an employee to be turned down for a job vacancy, to be disqualified after a while; or fail to fulfil his or her assigned tasks, because their English language profile either does not correlate with what the job fully expects or does not possess even the essential must-have can-dos of the job role.

    How the GSE Job Profiles can help

    The Job Profiles within the Global Scale of English (GSE) Teacher Toolkit can help target those ‘must-have can-dos’ related to various job roles. The ‘Choose Learner’ drop-down menu offers the opportunity to view GSE Learning Objectives for four learner types: in this case, select ‘Professional Learners’. You can then click on the ‘Choose Job Role’ button to narrow down the objectives specific for a particular job role – for example, ‘Office and Administrative Support’ and then ‘Hotel, Motel and Resort Desk Clerks’.

    Then, I can choose the GSE/CEFR range I want to apply to my results. In this example, I would like to know what English language skills a hotel desk clerk is expected to master for B1-B1+/GSE: 43-58.

  • A woman teaching in front of a laptop with a noteboard behind her
    • Language teaching
    • The Global Scale of English

    Implications for educators on fostering student success

    By Belgin Elmas
    Reading time: 5 minutes

    Pearson’s recent report, “How English empowers your tomorrow,” carries significant implications for educators. It underlines that increased English proficiency correlates with improved economic and social outcomes. Educational institutions play a crucial role in preparing students for professional success, employing various pedagogical approaches and teaching methods to meet the diverse needs of learners across universities, colleges and schools. However, the main unfortunate result of the report for educators is the argument that learners are leaving formal education without the essential skills required to achieve these better outcomes.

    Furthermore, as stated in the report, many of them are not lucky enough to be adequately equipped for the demands of their professional roles as they continue their careers. This emphasizes educators’ underlying responsibility to critically evaluate their teaching and assessment methods to ensure their students are effectively prepared for real-world challenges, especially as they transition into higher education where the stakes for academic and professional success are significantly elevated.

    The data of the report comes from five countries, and while Turkey is not one of them, many of the findings are still relevant to the English language education system in Turkey. Given the significant investment of time and effort, with foreign language education starting in the second grade for the majority of students in the Ministry of National Education schools, better outcomes would be expected in mastering the global language.

    Numerous reasons contributing to this failure could be listed but I would put the perception of how language is defined, taught and assessed within the education system in first place. English language classes are generally approached as “subjects to be taught” at schools, and rather than focusing on finding ways of improving learners’ skills in the foreign language, the curriculum includes “topics to be covered” with a heavy focus on grammar and vocabulary.

    This, of course, extends to assessment practices, and the cycle continues primarily with teaching and assessing grammar and vocabulary proficiency. Participants in Pearson’s report claim the heavy emphasis on teaching grammar and vocabulary, and not having enough opportunities to practice the language both inside and outside the classroom, as the three primary factors contributing to their lack of communication skills. If this was asked to Turkish learners, it’s highly likely that we would get the exact same three top reasons. The implication for educators here is very explicit: we must first revisit the definition of what “knowing a language is” and align our definition with our teaching and assessment methodology. What use is knowing a language without being able to communicate with it?

    New opportunities needed for practice

    Another clear implication for learners’ lack of opportunities to use the target language both in and outside the classroom is evident; teachers must refrain from dominating classroom discourse and instead create opportunities for learners to actively engage with the language. Recognizing common learning barriers in this context is crucial, as these barriers can significantly hinder students' ability to practice language skills effectively in corporate settings, professional development, and adult learning environments. Especially in a foreign language context, like in Turkey, this would gain even more importance for the students who lack opportunities to practice their target language in their daily lives.

    Understanding different learning styles is essential in this process, as it allows teachers to design engagement strategies that accommodate visual, kinaesthetic, or auditory learning preferences, thus addressing the limitations and specific needs of individual learners. Teachers, who are reported to dominate 80% of class time with their own talk, have the primary responsibility for this issue. These teachers, which refers to the majority, should monitor themselves to ensure they are creating opportunities for active participation and language practice for their students.

    Encouraging the learning process as an everyday habit

    Students seem to need guidance for practicing the language not only inside but also outside the classroom to improve their proficiency, where external factors such as limited access to resources and environmental distractions can significantly hinder their ability to learn. Integrating technology into education and guiding students to continue their learning beyond classroom settings would undoubtedly be valuable advice. Language learning apps and especially social media can empower students to engage with the language in creative and meaningful ways, addressing extrinsic barriers by providing access to resources and support that overcome the lack of support from teachers or peers and environmental distractions.

    Being able to function in a foreign language, such as negotiating, giving opinions, and making suggestions, were indicated as areas where the gap exists between what is needed and what students possess in language skills. Such a result would again require a shift towards more communicative and task-based language teaching approaches, giving opportunities for students to exercise these skills not only in professional but also in academic and social contexts.

    Raising awareness among students about the benefits of language proficiency can be suggested as another implication that will also inspire them. Aligning educational curricula with real-life needs and raising awareness of both students and teachers about the rationale behind it is crucial for helping students set their own goals more accurately while their teachers guide them with realistic expectations.

    Understanding motivational learning barriers

    "I didn’t feel as if I was making progress" was one of the barriers participants indicated was stopping them from achieving greater proficiency, highlighting an emotional learning barrier that stems from internal challenges such as peer pressure and resistance to change. This gives another implication for assisting students to recognize and appreciate how much they have achieved in their learning process and how much more there is to achieve. Additionally, motivational barriers play a significant role, as they reflect the obstacles that arise from losing curiosity and desire for learning, leading to students missing classes or refusing to take courses. The Global Scale of English (GSE) is definitely a valuable tool to track learner progress by providing a concrete framework and by improving their confidence, thereby helping to overcome both emotional and motivational barriers.

    In conclusion, while the list of implications for educators might be enhanced, the most significant suggestion lies in reconsidering our perception of language learning and proficiency. This shift in perspective will have a great impact on all aspects of language education, particularly teaching and assessment methodologies. Embracing this new understanding of language teaching will not only enhance the effectiveness of language education but also better prepare learners for real-world language use and interaction and better life conditions.

  • A teacher stoof over computers that students are sat at
    • Language teaching

    Boosting your learners' English language speaking skills

    By Pearson Languages
    Reading time: 4 minutes

    Teaching a language goes beyond imparting the rules of grammar and vocabulary. It's about unlocking the confidence in students to use that language in real-life conversations. Confidence in speaking is the bridge that connects classroom learning with the world outside.

    In the era where digital solutions can complement traditional teaching methods, Mondly by Pearson can play a pivotal role in boosting learners' speaking confidence.

    Why is it important to build students confidence?

    Before we explore Mondly by Pearson's strengths, it's crucial to understand why speaking confidence matters. Communication is the heart of language, and confident speakers are more likely to use their language skills actively. They're more open to participating in conversations, which reinforces their learning and fosters better retention of the new language used.

    Research has shown that 52% of English Learners leave their formal education without confidence in their speaking skills. Mondly by Pearson is your ultimate solution in tackling this challenge head-on, with 500+ minutes of English-speaking practice to build your learners' skills and confidence.

    What causes a lack of confidence in speaking English?

    There are a multitude of factors that contribute to a lack of confidence in speaking the English language well or any language for that matter. Some English learners feel self-conscious when their accent doesn't match what they perceive as the standard or desired accent.

    Additionally, a lack of practice opportunities or speaking practice, especially in a supportive and constructive environment, can hinder students from becoming comfortable and fluent speakers. Understanding these challenges is the first step in overcoming them, allowing educators to tailor their teaching strategies to address these specific concerns and build a more inclusive and encouraging learning atmosphere.

    What is Mondly by Pearson?

    Mondly by Pearson is an English language learning application aligned to the Global Scale of English. With Pearson pedagogy at its core, Mondly by Pearson offers over 500 minutes of speaking practice. Immersive AI-powered conversations, advanced speech recognition and engaging role plays, accelerate learning and build confidence.

  • A teacher sat at a table with a laptop and whiteboard behind her
    • Language teaching
    • Language learning

    Championing language learning and teaching – introducing Learners' Voice

    By Adita Putrianti
    Reading time: 4 minutes

    In today's world, where global communication is not just a luxury but a necessity, having a strong grasp of language learning is essential for expanding horizons. As an educator, being part of a supportive community can enhance your teaching experience and improve results. That's where Learners' Voice comes in – not only as a platform but also as a lively community where learners and educators come together to innovate and excel in the field of language mastery.

    Understanding the complexities of language acquisition and changes in teaching methodologies is crucial for success in the education industry. Joining Learners' Voice can be a significant step forward. This post will guide you through this program, how to join, and how becoming part of the Learners' Voice community can enrich your language learning and teaching experience.

    What is Learners' Voice?

    Learners' Voice is more than just an online community – it's a movement to foster collective knowledge sharing and growth in language learning and teaching. Imagine a digital space that brings together language enthusiasts from diverse backgrounds – students, teachers, language professionals and academics – all united by their passion for mastering and imparting linguistic skills. Participation in Learners' Voice isn't just about passive engagement; it's an active alliance towards the progressive development of language educational practices.

    Participants – who can join?

    We're seeking passionate individuals who are ready to contribute to and learn from a global community dedicated to language learning. Participants include:

    • Language learners: From novices to seasoned language polyglots, anyone striving to enhance their language competencies can find a supportive environment.
    • Educators: Teachers of languages at various levels, ranging from primary to tertiary education, as well as private language institutions, are encouraged to participate.
    • Parents: Those keen on supporting their children's language education and understanding the latest pedagogical trends.
    • Corporate employees: Individuals using languages in a professional setting who would like to expand their communication skills and contribute to language education research.
    • Language test takers: Participants at various stages of language proficiency evaluations, including preparation, test takers and educators, involved in the testing ecosystem.

    What Learners' Voice members do

    Members are invited to engage in diverse activities:

    1. Research collaboration: Work in unison with experts and peers on language research projects.
    2. Discussion forums and webinars: Foster engaging conversations and enhance your understanding of language learning trends.

    Joining Learners' Voice isn't limited to the virtual realm; it's a tangible commitment to advancing your language learning or teaching abilities. Here's how the program can become an integral part of your linguistic journey.

    The Learners' Voice experience – what's in it for you?

    A community that listens

    Join Learners' Voice and ensure your thoughts on language learning and teaching aren't just registered but given the platform they deserve. It's a community that values each unique perspective as a brick in the foundation of innovative language education.

    Professional and personal enrichment

    Participating in Learners' Voice exposes you to a range of resources and interactions that can significantly enrich your language learning and teaching experience. From sharing best practices to receiving and providing support, the community is a huge pool of opportunities for growth.

    Ongoing support, monthly draws and Incentives

    Beyond the exchange of knowledge, Learners' Voice offers tangible rewards for your active involvement. From monthly draws to recognition for contributions, the program ensures that your efforts are appreciated and your aspirations to excel in language learning and teaching are duly recognized.

    How to take that first step and join Learners' Voice

    Joining Learners' Voice is simple and rewarding, with just a few clicks standing between you and a robust platform for growth in language education.

    Start by accessing the community

    Visit our portal or scan the QR codes provided to access the 'Join Learners' Voice' link. The process is quick and you'll be welcomed into a world of like-minded peers passionate about languages. Learners can sign up here and Educators can sign up here

    Spread the word

    Once you're part of the community, share your experiences and encourage your colleagues, friends and social networks to join. The more voices we have, the richer the dialogue and the stronger our collective learning experience.

    Stay engaged

    Active participation is key to making the most of your Learners' Voice membership. Whether you contribute to ongoing research or share your insights on forums, every interaction is an opportunity to learn and grow.

    Your voice matters

    In conclusion, Learners' Voice is an innovative platform that puts the power of learning and teaching back into the hands of the community. For those dedicated to the mastery of languages, this isn't just a community – it's an indispensable tool that can enhance your skill set, broaden your educational horizons, and even offer the chance to shape the future of language education.

    Join us and be part of a rich, dynamic community that values your voice and awards your commitment to language education. 

  • Students in uniform sat at tables in a classroom with a teacher at the front talking to them all.
    • Language teaching

    Bridging the gap: How to equip English learners with workplace-ready language skills

    By Pearson Languages
    Reading time: 5 minutes

    Educators worldwide are faced with a vital challenge: closing the language education gap between traditional schooling and the practical language requirements of the modern workplace. With English established as the language of international business and in light of our ground-breaking new research, the need for education to address this disparity has never been more critical.

    In this blog post, we'll explore why teaching English through a lens of real-world application is necessary, what our research shows about the current gap in language education, and some ideas for how English teachers can integrate employability-focused lessons into their own English teaching curriculum.

  • A teacher helping students at a table. The GSE ambassador logo is to the left of them.
    • The Global Scale of English
    • Language teaching

    Empowering future educators: Integrating the GSE into pre-service teacher training

    By Belgin Elmas
    Reading time: 6 minutes

    When we used to go somewhere by car, my son, who was just three years old, would repeatedly ask me, "How far do we need to go?" every five minutes. He was curious to know where we were and how close we were to our destination. Even though the answer was just a number, it would satisfy him and relieve his curiosity.

    For language learners, it is important to maintain a high level of curiosity about progress and the distance needed to cover in their language learning journey. This can help identify areas for improvement and help them stay motivated. For teachers, it is also important to have a tool that can assist their students in visualizing their language learning goals more concretely. The Global Scale of English (GSE) is a valuable resource for this purpose. It not only indicates learners' current proficiency levels but also provides learning outcomes to help them progress in their abilities. The scale ranges from 10 to 90 and offers a personalized pathway for improvement in each individual skill based on global research. By using the GSE, both learners and teachers can work together to achieve language learning success.

    I believe the GSE is one of the most valuable resources a language teacher needs in teaching English; the learning outcomes provide clear guidance on what to teach, tailored to the specific needs of learner groups. With five options designed for pre-primary, young, general adult, professional and academic English learner groups, the GSE offers educators clear paths to customize their teaching strategies effectively. It also assists teachers in motivating their students by showing their progress regularly, which provides precious support throughout their learning journey.

    I also believe that the sooner we introduce teachers to this valuable tool in their teaching careers, the better equipped they will be to help their learners. With this belief in mind, we integrated the GSE into our pre-service teacher education program, making it the cornerstone for lesson planning and assessment. This blog aims to explain our implementation process at TED University's Education Faculty English Language Teaching Department, hoping to provide a model for other programs interested in adopting a similar approach.  

    Implementing the GSE

    Our implementation process started with conducting in-service training sessions for the faculty members, many of whom were also unfamiliar with the GSE. To ensure comprehensive understanding, we organized meetings with the teacher trainers responsible for teaching the methodology courses. These sessions consisted of in-depth discussions on the nature of the GSE, its significance in language teaching and practical guidance on integrating it into the curriculum we were following.

    As the second step, we designed a lesson plan to be used for the first methodology course our pre-service teacher trainees would undertake for the same objective we had for in-service teacher training sessions. In this initial lesson, we started by discussing the aims of CEFR and GSE, highlighting their differences.

    Then, we facilitated discussions on how GSE helps to monitor the progress of learners, what the main features are that the GSE has been built upon, and most importantly, we focused on increasing our future teachers' consciousness on how learning objectives can help a teacher. The lesson proceeded with an introduction to the GSE Toolkit, clarifying its categories, contained skills, and the target language learners it caters to. After providing diverse samples across various skills and outcomes, we demonstrated how our pre-service teachers can find learning objectives within the scale and how they can use them. 

    The lesson then transitioned into practical exercises designed to familiarize the teachers with the toolkit. Through guided instructions, such as selecting a target group, a skill, and a proficiency range, we prompted them to engage in activities aimed at perceiving the usefulness of the toolkit. We then asked them to report on some chosen parameters, such as the selected range, the number of objectives identified, and the potential text materials applicable to the chosen skill (e.g., reading comprehension). We followed a similar process for the other skills. 

    The second part of the lesson illustrated how different teaching materials were mapped with the GSE framework, utilizing sample coursebooks like Speakout, Roadmap and Startup. The lesson concluded with getting reflections from the pre-service teachers on their perceptions of the GSE. We gathered their insights on its usefulness, including its impact on curriculum design, teaching methodologies, and skill assessment practices.

    After being introduced to the GSE, we asked our pre-service teachers to integrate it into all their teaching-related courses. They now plan their lessons based on the learning outcomes provided in the toolkit, benefitting from the additional resources it offers to enhance their instructional practices. Teaching Skills, Teaching English to Young Learners, and Material Development can be given as samples of the courses the GSE was integrated into; there is no need to mention that all teaching practicum-related courses are in the integration part as well.

    The benefits 

    What did we gain by integrating the GSE into our pre-service teacher education program? Quite a few significant benefits, actually. Firstly, it standardized the language and terminology used throughout the department; when we refer to terms like 'learning outcomes', 'proficiency of language learners' or 'learner progress', everyone understands the set of terms uniformly across our department. No need to mention that our pre-service teachers gained the privilege of being introduced to a widely recognized toolkit in the field. While their peers may not yet be familiar with the GSE, our students gain early exposure to this valuable resource. Incorporating the GSE into our program also has allowed our pre-service teachers access to a range of valuable resources.

    In addition to the GSE Toolkit, resources such as Text Analyzer or instructional materials aligned with the GSE help our future teachers plan and deliver language instruction more effectively. As a result, our pre-service teachers enter the field with a deeper understanding of language assessment, proficiency levels, and learner needs.

    Next steps

    What's next? There's still much to accomplish and a considerable journey ahead of us. Currently, our primary focus is on making our initiatives more public, aiming to share our experiences with other pre-service teacher education programs considering integrating the GSE into their curriculum. In addition, introducing the GSE to in-service teacher programs in Turkey and globally could also be valuable for enhancing language teaching practices and the professional development of language teachers worldwide.

    Publishing articles, presenting at conferences, hosting workshops, or developing online resources might be some of the sources for sharing our practices. Increasing the awareness of policymakers, school administrators, and language teachers on the GSE and highlighting the benefits of using a standardized granular framework like the GSE can encourage broader adoption and implementation across educational settings. Collaboration opportunities with other institutions and stakeholders in language education will help all of us to reach our destination more quickly and efficiently. Finally, research on the impact of the GSE in language education is required to refine our approaches.

    As a result, we are very pleased with the integration of the GSE into our teacher education program, as it has paved the way for significant advances. While recognizing there's still a considerable journey ahead, we also celebrate the progress we've made thus far and are curious about the other possible opportunities that lie ahead.

  • Children sat outdoors reading a book together
    • Language teaching
    • Teaching trends and techniques

    Why should you use storytelling to teach English?

    By Richard Cleeve
    Reading time: 5 minutes

    Stories can make us laugh, cry or tremble with fear. They can teach us valuable life lessons and transport us to other worlds. They've been around since the beginning of language itself, but can they actually help us learn a language?

    Stories are one of the most useful tools when teaching children English. Not only do they help with listening and reading skills, but they can also support speaking and writing skills by providing context, language and structure. 

    Very young learners may already be familiar with stories – they may hear them in daycare, school or at home with their parents. Therefore, incorporating these into their language classes may help them to feel more comfortable in their surroundings. And if children feel comfortable, they are more likely to be receptive to learning. 

    Storytelling usually happens as part of a group in the classroom. This means that it becomes a bonding activity for children where they can communicate and subconsciously pick up the key language. While having fun listening and interacting with the story, they soak up information without even realizing they’re learning.

    So, what storytelling activities can we use with young learners? Let’s find out. 

    Practical activities for storytelling with young learners

    Often, we think of storytelling simply as reading a book aloud to children. Yet, there are other activities you can do. These include:

    1. Choral repetition

    To get young children interacting with the story, first read out a sentence alone. Then, have the children repeat the line with you as a group. Repeat as many times as necessary, until the children feel confident with the language. 

    2. Individual repetition

    If your learners are happy to, ask them individually to repeat the sentence after you. Make sure each one has a turn and praise them for being brave and trying to use the language. 

    3. Play acting

    An activity that works well with children is to act out the story’s characters. For example, there may be animals, fairies, monsters or other exciting characters that they can each act. 

    Ask them to make the noises of the animals, the wind, or the scenery to create an atmosphere while you read. This gets them interacting with the story and the rest of the group, which will help their communication and listening comprehension skills. 

    4. Use puppets or dolls

    Young learners react particularly well to visual aids and realia. Why not use puppets or dolls to act out the characters, or even ask students to have a go with them? They will engage more with the story and the language.  

    5. Dive into the pictures

    Children’s story books are usually quite visual with illustrations and pictures. Make the most of these while telling the story. Try asking students questions about the images to get them using the vocabulary. 

    You could ask them, “what can you see?”, “what’s he wearing?” or “can you find an apple?”. This is another great way to reinforce the vocabulary they’re learning in class. 

    Use these activities individually or incorporate a mix into your lessons. Either way, storytelling will help your learners with more than just developing their English language skills. 

    Storytelling with adult language learners

    While we often think of storytelling as a pastime for children, it can also be a useful language learning activity for adults. 

    Stories are part of our daily lives, from news to social media to books and movies. Therefore, they can be extremely beneficial tools for English language learning. 

    Yet, the way we approach storytelling as a class activity for adults differs to that of young learners. While we typically read fairy tales to young children, we can bring in a much wider range of content for adults, such as:

    • News stories – There may be a current news story that learners are interested in. Ask them to bring in an article to retell in class.  
    • Traditional folk stories – Ask learners what traditional folk tales or ghost stories they were told as children growing up in their hometowns. This can be really interesting for both language and cultural awareness.  
    • Personal life stories – Our lives are a series of short stories that can make for very interesting reading. You can either ask students to share stories in class orally or have them write up a “chapter” from their lives to tell the class. It could be something funny that happened to them or an anecdote from their childhood, for example. 
    • Movie plots – Ask students what their favorite movies are and have them either tell the group the summary of the plot or write it up to share at the end of the lesson.
    • Advertisements – There are some fantastic advertisements which tell mini stories in under three minutes. Have students choose one, show it to the class and discuss it as a group. 

    Storytelling can be a wonderful language learning tool for both children and adults. If you’re looking for a new way to engage, inspire and motivate your learners, why not try it in your next class? 

  • A teacher stood by two young students looking at a computer monitor
    • Language teaching
    • Technology and the future

    The potential of AI in English language teaching

    By Pearson Languages
    Reading time: 6 minutes

    The integration of Artificial Intelligence systems (AI) into English language teaching represents a significant shift in educational methodologies. This emerging technology offers English teachers a myriad of opportunities to enhance their teaching strategies, making the learning process more engaging, personalized and effective. In this blog post, we will explore practical tips on how AI can aid English language teaching and empower both educators and learners.

    One noteworthy reference highlighting AI's impact on education is the report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 'Digital Education Outlook 2023'.  This comprehensive study outlines how AI technologies, assists administrative and assessment aspects of teaching but also revolutionizes the way students learn. AI tools are paving the way for a more adaptable and learner-centric approach in English language teaching by offering bespoke, adaptive learning pathways and instant feedback.

    How is AI currently being used in schools?

    Currently, schools are just beginning to harness the power of AI to enhance English language learning in several innovative ways. One notable application of educational technology is the use of intelligent tutoring systems, which provide students with personalized feedback and learning paths tailored to their individual needs and proficiency levels.

    Additionally, AI-driven language learning apps and platforms have become increasingly popular, offering interactive and immersive learning experiences through natural language processing and machine learning technologies.

    These platforms can simulate conversation practice, offer pronunciation correction, and even adapt the content in real-time to challenge students appropriately.

    Furthermore, AI is also being used for administrative tasks, such as grading and assessing students' work, allowing teachers more time to focus on curriculum development and one-on-one student interaction. This integration of AI into English language teaching is enhancing the efficiency of learning processes and actively contributing to a more engaging and dynamic educational environment.

    How AI can enhance English language teaching

    Personalization at scale

    AI systems can analyze individual student learning styles and preferences, allowing for personalized lesson plans that cater to the unique needs of every student. By customizing content, pacing and learning activities, AI ensures that students remain engaged and receive targeted support, significantly improving learning outcomes.

    Interactive learning experiences

    AI-powered applications, educational games and tools can create immersive and interactive language learning experiences. From chatbots that simulate conversation, to platforms that offer real-time feedback on pronunciation, these tools can help students to practice speaking and listening skills in a controlled and safe environment outside the traditional classroom setting.

    Autonomous learning support

    With the assistance of AI, students can self-study more effectively. AI tutoring systems can provide instant feedback on written work, ensuring learners can progress even when a teacher isn't immediately available to teach. These systems offer consistent, unbiased support, which is invaluable for building students' confidence.

    Enhanced assessment capabilities

    Assessment is a crucial part of the learning process. AI can take on the laborious task of grading and provide detailed insights into a student's performance. Teachers can then use this data to identify areas where students struggle and tailor future instruction to address these gaps.

    Expanding the creative horizons

    AI's applications extend into creative writing, offering students prompts and suggestions to overcome writer's block and develop storylines. This enhances creativity and motivation in students by providing them with a springboard for their writing skills.

    Utilizing ChatGPT in language teaching

    ChatGPT, an AI language model, can aid and save time on the way language lessons are conducted by creating a highly interactive and responsive environment for students. Teachers can harness this technology to simulate real-life conversations, enabling students to practice their language skills in a dynamic setting. Students can also be encouraged to use it to start first drafts and use their critical thinking.

    By inputting specific scenarios or topics, ChatGPT can generate dialogues that challenge and teach students how to use new vocabulary and grammar structures in context, bridging the gap between theoretical learning and practical application. Furthermore, its capacity to provide immediate feedback allows learners to correct their mistakes in real time, fostering a learning atmosphere that is both efficient and encouraging.

    The versatility of these kinds of AI chatbots means they can be tailored to suit learners at different proficiency levels, making them an invaluable tool for language teachers aiming to enhance engagement and facilitate deeper learning.

    Tips for teachers integrating AI in English lessons

    1. Start with a clear goal: define what you aim to achieve by incorporating AI into your lessons.
    2. Combine traditional and AI methods: use AI as a complement, not a substitute, for human interaction.
    3. Prioritize privacy and ethics: ensure any AI tools used are compliant with privacy laws and ethical standards.
    4. Stay updated: AI is a fast-evolving field. Attend professional development webinars and workshops to stay current.
    5. Foster a growth mindset: encourage students to view AI as a tool to aid their own effort and perseverance.
    6. Demystify technology: explain how AI works, alleviating any concerns or misapprehensions about its use.
    7. Experiment and iterate: not every AI application will suit your classroom – be prepared to try different tools and approaches.

    What about cheating and plagiarism with AI?

    The issue of cheating and plagiarism is a significant concern in our higher education institutions and is becoming more pronounced with the advent of AI technologies. However, AI itself can be a formidable ally in combating these challenges. AI-powered tools can analyze student submissions to detect plagiarism effectively, providing educators with robust mechanisms to ensure the integrity of academic work. Additionally, AI systems can be programmed to recognize students' unique writing styles, making it easier to identify discrepancies that suggest dishonesty.

    It's important for educators to discuss these topics openly with students, emphasizing the value of originality and the serious consequences of academic misconduct. By leveraging AI not just for educational enhancement but also as a means of maintaining academic standards, educators can foster a culture of honesty and integrity within the classroom.

    The AI webinar series for English teachers

    To fully unlock the potential of AI in the world of English language teaching, continuous learning is a must. We're excited to introduce an upcoming webinar series that will guide English teachers through the nuances of AI:

    Featured webinar series: Unlocking the potential of AI in English language learning

    From March 11 to March 15, 2024, join us for a series of engaging webinars designed for English teachers. Delve into various topics including generative AI, speaking practice, ethics and storytelling.

    Benefit from insights shared by experts like Ken Beatty, Kacper Łodzikowski, Magdalena Kania, Billie Jago and Ilya Gogin. Plus, earn a professional development certificate for your participation.

    Webinar sessions:

    • Artificial Intelligence: Shining Light in the Language Classroom – get an overview of AI in language learning and best practices for integration.
    • A Teachers' Guide to Safe and Ethical AI Usage for Learners – gain insights into safe and ethical AI integration in the classroom.
    • Practice English Speaking with AI – learn how to use AI to build learners' confidence in speaking.
    • AI and Storytelling – harness AI's power to inspire creativity and improve narrative skills.
    • Teaching in the Age of AI – prepare for the educational evolution with actionable tips.

    Join us as we explore the frontiers of AI in education and discuss how to prepare for the evolving educational landscape. It's time to equip yourself with the knowledge and tools required to thrive in an AI-influenced educational environment.