AI in the French Language Classroom

As we approach another school year, the increasing use of AI has undoubtedly sparked thoughts and questions in our minds as second language teachers. In the past, Google Translate posed challenges as we worried that our students turned to it for quick solutions. Now, with the broader impact of AI, we have something new to think about. How can we effectively address the potential “threat” AI poses?

So, as we prepare to head back to school soon, let’s explore some AI-related strategies, including six valuable tips for effectively integrating AI in the second language classroom.

What is AI?

What is AI?

While it is all around us, you may not have taken a chance to explore it and you may be wondering, what exactly is AI?

AI is short for Artificial Intelligence. A simple Google Search yields the following definition:

“Ai is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.”

The most well-known example of AI today is ChatGPT.

Now that we know what AI is, let’s dive into those tips.

Here are your 6 tips for effectively integrating AI in your classroom:

Embrace AI's Potential

Tip # 1: Embrace AI’s Potential

Embrace AI’s potential, even if it may require you to shift your mindset towards AI’s presence in education. Know that AI is here to stay. Instead of looking for strategies on how to police the use of AI, think about how AI can benefit you and your students. How can you encourage your students to use AI responsibly to enhance the learning process while ensuring they are still learning?

Don’t Hide AI under the Rug

Tip # 2: Don’t Hide AI under the Rug

Whether or not you’ve tried AI, your students most likely have. Don’t make discussing AI taboo in the language classroom. Talk about it. Pretending that it doesn’t exist won’t make it go away. Acknowledge that students might already be familiar with AI and foster open conversations about its role and impact on language learning.

Set Clear Guidelines

Tip # 3: Set Clear Guidelines

Clearly communicate your expectations regarding AI usage to support language learning. Ensure students understand how AI can complement their efforts and how they should responsibly integrate it into their studies. Use this time to also discuss other great tools which are at their disposal and which will support them in the language learning process (such as WordReference).

Foster a Culture of High Expectations

Tip # 4: Foster a Culture of High Expectations

From the first day of class, show your students that you believe in them and have high expectations of them. Let them set high expectations for themselves, as well. If students believe in themselves, and know that they can succeed, chances are a lot higher that they will not turn to AI for support.

Design Authentic and Engaging Assessments

Tip # 5: Design Authentic and Engaging Assessments

The assessments which you assign to your students should be authentic (read realistic and relevant to their lives) and thereby engaging. When students feel connected to the tasks and see their relevance, their motivation to seek AI assistance will diminish. Students will be more motivated to engage in language practice independently.

Chunk the Tasks

Tip # 6: Chunk the Tasks

Design tasks in a way that allows students to tackle them step-by-step. Divide speaking, reading, and writing tasks into manageable chunks, providing sufficient time for completion. Encourage collaboration and peer support during task completion to foster a sense of teamwork and reduce the feeling of overwhelm which a new task can bring. By doing so, students are less likely to resort to AI to hastily finish their work.

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Free AI Activities for the French Language Classroom

I hope you have found these AI-related strategies and tips helpful as you prepare to enter the new school year.

What other tips would you add?