The AI opportunity to transform foreign language learning

Culture should be the core content of for foreign language teaching, but “unfortunately linguistic competence has instead always been the primary focus”

Yong Zhao (Melbourne Graduate School of Education) makes the case in a new paper for Uni Melbourne’s AsiaLink. The problem is, even after ten years study, “very few students can truly achieve native or near native speaker proficiency,” the reasons why are not enough hours learning, few opportunities for immersion and a focus on passing tests.

So, why bother continuing with courses, given machine translation is now better at translation than most human foreign language learners?

Because, foreign language courses for the majority of students should be about, “global competences” the “knowledge, skills, attitudes and values,” – about “human interdependence and interconnectedness.” Foreign language courses are the place to include competences because curriculars are already crowded with “too many required courses.”