Teachers are constantly looking for tools to streamline their teaching and enhance the learning experience. Large Language Models (LLMs) present a promising avenue for ESL/EFL educators, offering an automated yet customizable approach to crafting worksheets. This guide will walk you through how to efficiently harness the capabilities of LLMs, ensuring you create meaningful and tailored materials for your students.
Note: Most of this article was written with the help of AI, it is an article about AI after all. 😉
Using LLMs: Essential Tips for ESL/EFL Educators
Before diving into the world of LLMs for educational content, there are certain things every educator should keep in mind. This section provides a quick overview of essential tips to ensure a smooth experience.
- Review Everything: LLMs are powerful, but not perfect. Always inspect outputs against your objectives.
- Expect Imperfections: Even top-tier LLMs can slip up. Stay vigilant for any inaccuracies.
- Iterate as Needed: Not satisfied with the initial output? Adjust your prompt and try again until it fits.
- Choose Wisely: As of October 3, 2023, GPT-4 is leading, but it’s paid. Claude 2 offers a solid free option, while Bing Chat results can vary.
Simple Prompt Template for Creating Worksheets:
For those new to LLMs or in a rush, a simple template can be a lifesaver. Here’s a concise framework to start generating effective educational content quickly.
I am an ESL teacher creating a [worksheet/quiz] for my students to practice [skill area]. Please generate a [type of worksheet] for [proficiency level] [age group] students.
The [worksheet/quiz] should have [number] [type of questions/tasks].
Please focus the content on [specific vocabulary, grammar, themes, etc. if applicable].
Make sure the worksheet is:
- Appropriate for the proficiency level and age group
- Clearly organized and easy to understand
- Engaging and motivating for students
- Focused on the key aspects of [skill area]
- [Provide any other specific guidelines or examples as needed.]
AI Prompt for Creating Worksheets Checklist:
Crafting a well-structured prompt is crucial to get the best out of an LLM. This checklist will make sure you don’t miss anything and maybe give you some ideas for extra information you could put in your prompt.
- Role and purpose: Give the LLM a job title and let the LLM know roughly what they will be working on to help guide them. EXAMPLES:
- You are a teacher creating materials for an English conversation class. The materials will help students practice conversational skills.
- You are a curriculum developer designing a unit on reading comprehension. The materials will include reading passages and comprehension questions.
- You are a teacher preparing a lesson plan on irregular verbs. The materials will provide practice with conjugating and using irregular verbs.
- You are an ESL instructor putting together a vocabulary quiz. The quiz will assess students’ knowledge of vocabulary words and definitions.
- You are a tutor creating a grammar worksheet. The worksheet will provide practice identifying parts of speech and grammatical structures.
- Task: Let the LLM know what specific task you want it to do. EXAMPLES:
- Create a 10 question multiple choice vocabulary quiz on food vocabulary.
- Generate a fill-in-the-blank reading comprehension worksheet using the provided news article. Include 5 blanks.
- Design a matching exercise with 10 pairs of irregular past tense and past participle verbs.
- Write 8 sentence completion questions practicing the use of prepositions.
- Develop a 15 item true/false grammar quiz on present perfect and past simple.
- Compose a 10 question present simple yes/no question formation exercise.
- Produce a 5 item dialogue completion task using modal verbs for requests.
- Construct a listening comprehension worksheet with 5 ordering questions for the given audio.
- Formulate 10 open-ended short answer questions for the reading passage.
- Devise a mixed general grammar exercise with 10 items covering tenses, pronouns, prepositions, and articles.
- Requirements: Let the LLM know what requirements you might have for the worksheet. EXAMPLES:
- Student Level
- Questions should be appropriate for a pre-intermediate B1 level.
- Ensure a moderate challenge for upper intermediate C1 students.
- Make the reading passage accessible for beginner A1 learners.
- Student Age
- The material should be suitable for young learners around 8 years old.
- This material is for teenagers from 12-15 years old.
- The learners are adults from 25 to 50 years old.
- Include the following vocabulary words:
- Use my students’ names in the story. Here are their names:
- Base the questions off this text delimited by triple quotation marks. “””text”””
- Use a formal academic tone.
- Write the worksheet in the style of a medieval proclamation.
- The worksheet should use extremely casual language.
- Generate 10 fill-in-the-blank questions on the present continuous.
- Compose 5 short answer reading comprehension questions.
- Construct a 20 item multiple choice grammar quiz.
- Time Limit
- Students should complete the matching task in under 3 minutes.
- The true/false exercise should take no more than 5 minutes.
- Design the dialogue so it can be practiced in pairs in 7-10 minutes.
- Use multiple choice, matching, and sentence completion.
- Include open-ended, true/false, and fill-in-the-blank.
- Design with ordering, short answer, and dialogue questions.
- Provide an answer key with explanations for comprehension.
- Give a detailed answer key with scoring guidance.
- Include a simple answer key with correct responses.
- A food and cooking theme should be used throughout.
- Focus on hobbies and free time activities.
- Ensure the worksheet is related to the environment and nature.
- Student Level
- Context & Examples: Give the LLM more information and examples to get a more specific or personalized result. EXAMPLES:
- The students are native Spanish speakers new to English.
- This is a remedial English class for students struggling with reading comprehension.
- The majority of students are from Korea.
- Sample quiz question: Which word means hungry? A) sad B) tired C) thirsty D) hungry
- Sample reading question: What did the man order at the restaurant? The man ordered _____ at the restaurant.
- The worksheet should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.
- Use only common verbs in present and past simple tenses.
- Do not use slang or idioms, focus on standard English.
- Extra information
- Include these topics that students are interested in…
- We are close to Halloween.
- Include some references to a cat named Snuffles.
- (OPTIONAL) Reiterate Important Requirements: Tell the LLM “ensure that…” or “be certain that…”. This is to reiterate and emphasize the most important requirements or to get the LLM to do something that it isn’t doing. EXAMPLES:
- The vocabulary used is appropriate for B1 level learners.
- All grammar structures are accurate and correctly formed.
- The information in the reading passage is factually correct.
- Instructions are provided at the top explaining what students need to do.
- The workbook pages have clear section headings and question numbering.
- Answer spaces are clearly labeled for students to write or select responses.
- The questions are about the main ideas and details of the reading.
- The vocabulary focuses on words students learned this unit.
- The grammar practiced is present perfect, the current lesson.
- Questions cover comprehension, word meaning, and reflection.
- The checklist covers 10 different essay criteria.
- The quiz assesses grammar, vocabulary, listening, and reading.
- Questions progress from vocabulary matching to sentence completion.
- Dialogue practice starts with repetition and goes to role play.
- Passages go from easier descriptive to harder expository texts.
- A scoring rubric is provided for the writing task.
- The quiz has an answer key with explanation of answers.
- Students are prompted to self-assess their speaking skills.
- The vocabulary task involves categorizing and drawing.
- The reading includes personalized questions about experience.
- The listening incorporates a stimulating story with voices.
A more elaborate template[Role & Purpose] You are <give the LLM a role e.g., an ESL/EFL teacher, an ESL/EF curriculum developer creating a worksheet.> You are making a worksheet that will <State the type or types of practice you want the students to do. (e.g., practice the present continuous, preview vocabulary related to volcanoes, etc.)>. [Question/Task] <Clearly state the complete question or task here (e.g., I would like a worksheet with 10 fill in the blank questions and 10 multiple choice questions focusing on the present perfect.)> [Requirements] Please adhere to the following guidelines:
a. [Level] <Specify the proficiency level of your students, e.g., beginner, intermediate, advanced, A1, C2, etc.>
b. [Age Group] <Indicate the age group of your students, e.g., children, teenagers, adults>
c. [Format] <Specify the desired format, e.g., multiple choice, fill in the blank, matching, etc.>
d. [Length] <Indicate the desired number of questions or tasks>
e. [Tone] <Specify the tone, e.g., formal, informal, etc.>
f. [Content] <Specify any additional specific desired content, e.g., student names, theme, vocabulary words / focus, grammar points, etc.>[Context & Examples] To help you craft your prompt, consider the following information:
a. [Background] <Provide any relevant background information, e.g., British or American English, the textbook or curriculum you are using, etc.>
b. [Examples] <Include examples of questions or tasks if desired or applicable>
c. [Constraints] <Mention any constraints or limitations, e.g., time, resources, etc.>[Evaluation Criteria] Your generated worksheet should meet the following criteria:
a. [Appropriateness] <e.g., Ensure the content is suitable for the specified proficiency level and age group.>
b. [Clarity] <e.g., Organize the worksheet in a logical and easy-to-understand manner.>
c. [Completeness] e.g., Cover all essential aspects of the specified skill area.
d. [Engagement] e.g., Create interesting and engaging tasks that will motivate students to learn.
Example Paragraph Prompts Using the Guide:
If you prefer to just write paragraphs and using the guide to help you with what information to put in that works really well too. If the structured approach doesn’t suit your style paragraphs and natural language can be a great choice.
Vocabulary Quiz on Environment and Nature:
“You are a teacher preparing a vocabulary quiz for a class of teenagers aged 12-15. Create a 10-question multiple choice vocabulary quiz focusing on words related to the environment and nature. The questions should be appropriate for an upper intermediate C1 level. Ensure a formal academic tone and provide an answer key with explanations for comprehension. Example: ‘Which of the following is NOT a renewable energy source? A) Wind B) Solar C) Coal D) Hydroelectric.'”
Grammar Worksheet for Spanish Speakers:
“You are a tutor creating a grammar worksheet on the present perfect tense. Design a worksheet that provides practice using and identifying the present perfect, especially for native Spanish speakers new to English. Ensure questions are appropriate for a pre-intermediate B1 level. It should be suitable for young learners around 8 years old. Make sure the worksheet is no longer than 15 minutes in duration and provide an answer key with detailed explanations. For context: use examples with common activities they might do in school.”
Reading Comprehension on Food and Cooking:
“You are a curriculum developer designing a unit on reading comprehension. Generate a fill-in-the-blank reading comprehension worksheet using a text about a chef preparing a complex dish. The worksheet is meant for adults aged 25 to 50 and should have a food and cooking theme throughout. The material should take no more than 15 minutes to complete and be appropriate for beginner A1 learners. Use casual language and provide a sample reading question like: ‘The chef used __ to give the dish a spicy kick.'”
Listening Comprehension for Halloween:
“You are an ESL instructor putting together a listening comprehension worksheet. Since Halloween is approaching, construct a listening comprehension worksheet based on an audio of a spooky story. It should have 5 ordering questions for the given audio and be suitable for teenagers from 12-15 years old. The questions should test the main ideas and details of the listening passage. Make sure to provide spaces for students to write or select their responses. Here is the transcript of the audio:”
Grammar and Vocabulary Exercise for Korean Students:
“You are a teacher creating materials for an English conversation class in Korea. Devise a mixed general grammar exercise with 10 items covering tenses, pronouns, prepositions, and articles. Integrate topics of interest to Korean students, such as popular K-pop artists or Korean historical events. Ensure the material is related to cultural exchange and is appropriate for a pre-intermediate B1 level. Provide clear instructions at the top and a simple answer key with correct responses.”
Vocabulary Worksheet on Hobbies and Free Time:
“You are an ESL instructor creating a worksheet for a group of adult learners between the ages of 25 to 50. Develop a matching exercise using 10 pairs of vocabulary words related to hobbies and free-time activities. Ensure the material employs a casual tone and is relevant to the learners’ current unit. Provide an example: ‘Which activity uses a racket? A) Swimming B) Badminton.'”
Reading Comprehension for Young Spanish Speakers:
“You’re a curriculum developer focused on reading comprehension for young learners around 8 years old who are native Spanish speakers. Design a fill-in-the-blank worksheet centered around a story of a cat named Snuffles going on an adventure. The material should highlight a balance between challenge and accessibility for beginner A1 learners. For context: ‘Snuffles climbed the _________ tree.'”
Dialogue Practice for Adult Korean Learners:
“You’re an ESL instructor working predominantly with adult learners from Korea. Produce a dialogue completion task that uses modal verbs for making polite requests. The dialogue should involve a scenario in a restaurant, ensuring cultural relevancy. Design it so students can practice in pairs, aiming for a 7-10 minute activity duration. Sample starter: ‘________ you please pass me the menu?'”
Writing Task with a Medieval Twist:
“As a creative curriculum developer, you’re introducing medieval history to level C2 teenagers from 12-15 years old. Craft a writing task where students need to write a short story, but with the catch that it should be in the style of a medieval proclamation. It should have a clear scoring rubric provided, ensuring elements of vocabulary, grammar, and historical accuracy are rewarded.”
Mixed Exercise for Adult Learners:
“You’re a teacher aiming to create a comprehensive English worksheet for adults aged 25 to 50. Formulate a mixed exercise that covers various grammar topics like tenses, pronouns, prepositions, and articles but also integrates vocabulary on food and cooking. Ensure a formal academic tone and design questions to cover comprehension, word meaning, and reflection. An example might be: ‘Identify the tense used in the following sentence: ‘She has been cooking for three hours.”