Will AI destroy languages? What are Australian teachers thinking?

In this post:

  • The New South Wales Community Languages Teachers Conference was held at the University of Melbourne.
  • Teachers said that AI will be a detrimental factor in deciding the ways of teaching in the future.
  • Prof. Lo Bianco warned that, due to AI, people are not interested in learning a second language.

The annual conference of teachers of community languages was held at Sydney University in South Wales, where hundreds of teachers gathered, and it was discussed how AI (artificial intelligence) is going to be a key factor in deciding how they will teach their language in the coming years.

It was said that those who are in favor of AI want to put the culture aside to separate it from language teaching and make the language only a way of talking rather than a full form of communication, which often involves culturally influenced emotions and historical perspective.

Rage against the machine

The annual conference of teachers of community languages was organized by the NSW Federation of Community Language Schools, and the keynote speaker was a retired professor of language and literacy education, Joseph Lo Bianco, who worked at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. He commended the AI’s role in the classroom, but he also said that it would have very harmful outcomes.

The title of his address also hinted at his thoughts, which were “Rage against the Machine.” While applauding AI, he said,

“AI allows more flexibility in a classroom to deal specifically with different kids in a different way, according to their progress, their interest, and their capability.”

Source: Greekherald.

He also talked about the general concerns that people have about AI’s influence on teaching, particularly language teaching, as well as its effects on language itself and how the technology is used. He said that the internationalization of languages is under process and that it is only for saving money and has no other good reason. Prof. Bianco said,

“There are specific cultures that are particular to languages. So, you can see the beginnings of what is going on here—the separation of culture from language and parcelling off of language teaching to English, which will be done through English-translated books.”

Source: Greekherald.
Source: Statista.

People are not learning a second language due to AI

The professor also said that fewer teachers will be engaged if this vision is implemented. He also mentioned that there is already unease about this situation as some academic experts think that the remaining language teaching departments of universities will be eliminated by AI.

Bianco also pointed out another devastating effect that AI may bring: that people may stop learning second languages, and he said that Australians are already losing interest in learning other languages. The professor was hinting at the laid-back feeling that AI induces in people’s minds due to the ease that AI apps provide, as he said the language numbers are also declining.

He said that the real danger is in people’s approach to interpreting that language is only for transferring very basic information to others, which is the biggest challenge, while the technology itself is quite rich with its support for language learning.

Lucia Johns, the president of the federation, also endorsed Bianco’s thoughts and said that the points he raised are critical and must be responded to with swift action. 

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