Tomorrow’s English assessment: It’s still about the people

SINGAPORE, Oct. 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Technology such as generative AI is shaking up the English teaching and learning sector, but it cannot replace the social and emotional aspect of teaching English, according to an expert from Cambridge. Dr Evelina Galaczi from Cambridge University Press & Assessment recently said that AI can enhance the learning experience, but teachers will continue to play a very crucial role in the future.  

‘We’re seeing more AI tools such as ChatGPT in classrooms, Virtual Reality letting us learn in distant worlds and computer games taking learning to the next level,’ commented Galaczi. She continued: ‘While these are all fantastic innovations and we’re really embracing them in Cambridge, we’re not going to rush in and cut corners to suit the technology. This means that teachers will continue to play a really crucial role in the English language classroom.’  

Dr Galaczi recently presented Cambridge’s seven key principles for successfully integrating AI into the English language classroom. One of these principles is to ensure that the quality and scope of language assessments and learning resources are maintained. A big part of achieving this is to use technology to enhance education, but not to let it determine the educational approach. She also stressed the importance of more teacher training to get AI ready. She commented:  

‘Teaching and learning are all about people, and AI can’t replace the social and emotional aspect of learning. Of course, it can enhance the experience, but teachers will continue to play a very crucial role. However, teaching practices may change, and this will require teacher training and familiarisation with digital approaches. It will certainly require becoming ‘AI ready’ and understanding how our Human and Artificial Intelligence can best work together’.  

Galaczi said there are a number of things that teachers can do now to enhance learning experiences through AI. This includes developing classroom activities that make use of tools such as Chat GPT. She suggested teachers ask their students to correct or rewrite an AI powered response on a particular topic. She also said students can use Chat GPT to improve an essay they’ve written and then ask the students to critique the changes made.  

Galaczi said: ‘The rise of technology makes this an exciting time to be involved in English language education, but we’ll still need to hold the ‘hand’ of technology for a smooth journey, as we evolve into the digital age. I recently read a wonderful analogy that sums this up nicely from a policy report prepared by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. It describes a technology-enhanced future as more like an electric bike and less like robot vacuums. I think this is a fantastic way to highlight the fact that the AI amplifies the human achievement and reduces the burden, without fully replacing the human involvement in learning, teaching and assessment’. 

Find out more in a blog written by Evelina Galaczi: