Ever feel like you’re on a never-ending quest for engaging and effective writing prompts for your ESL/EFL classroom? Good news! Large language models are your new knights in shining armor. Read on to discover how to craft perfect prompts and elevate your teaching game.
Just a note, most of this text and the images are AI generated. It is an article about using AI after all!
Things to Keep in Mind: The Nitty-Gritty Details
Before you dive into the prompt pool, there are a few cautionary tales to heed. Just like a wizard’s potion, getting the results you want requires a dash of care, a pinch of caution, and a sprinkle of adaptability.
- Always Check the Output: Remember, language models are cool but not foolproof. Double-check the output to ensure it aligns with your goals and guidelines.
- Accuracy Isn’t Guaranteed: Even the smartest of LLMs can make mistakes. Language models may sometimes produce information that’s less than accurate, so keep those teacher eyes peeled!
- Customize to Your Heart’s Content: Didn’t get the prompt of your dreams on the first try? No worries! Feel free to adapt the output or even request multiple versions until you find ‘The One.’
- Pick the Right Tool: As of the time of writing, October 3, 2023, GPT-4 is the best out there. But you need to pay. Claude 2 is also a great choice and currently has a generous free tier. Bing Chat is also an option, but you can get some mixed results.
The Prompt Template for ESL/EFL Writing Prompts
Wondering how to frame your requests for those oh-so-helpful writing prompts? Look no further! Our sample prompt template is your one-way ticket to getting exactly what you and your students need.
I’m an <ESL/EFL teacher> looking for a <type of writing> prompt for my <age group> students. They’re at a <language proficiency level>, and we’re focusing on <educational goals>. Could you create a prompt about <topic constraints> that’s approximately <length> words long? The tone should be <tone & style>, and it will be assessed based on <assessment criteria>.
The Indispensable Checklist: Every Detail Counts!
You know that feeling when you’re packing for a trip and you’re afraid you’re forgetting something? Say goodbye to that feeling in prompt crafting! Our checklist ensures that you cover all the essential components for a tailor-made writing task.
Clear task for the LLM: Aim for crystal-clear instructions. The more explicit you are about what you’re looking for, the easier it’ll be for the model to serve up what you need.
Type of Writing: Specify if you want a narrative, argumentative, descriptive, or another type of writing prompt. It sets the stage for everything else.
Age Group: The age of your students helps tailor the complexity and appropriateness of the prompt. For example, young kids might prefer topics related to their immediate world, while older students can tackle abstract concepts.
Language Proficiency: Mention whether your students are at a beginner, intermediate, or advanced level in English. This will help calibrate the language difficulty and vocabulary in the prompts.
Educational Goals: Are we honing sentence structure, practicing verb tenses, or expanding vocabulary? Knowing the “why” behind the writing task helps an LLM hit the bullseye.
Topic Constraints: Whether you’re sticking to curriculum guidelines or exploring specific subjects like climate change or literature, outlining the scope focuses the creative energy.
Length: If you have time or word count constraints, spill ’em. It’s easier to fit the genie back in the bottle if you start with the right-sized bottle.
Tone & Style: Describing the desired tone (formal, informal, humorous, etc.) or writing style (first-person, persuasive, etc.) helps set the mood and direction of the prompts.
Grammar Focus: If your class is tackling, say, the future tense or mastering conjunctions, include that as a focal point. It’s like getting two lessons for the price of one!
Assessment Criteria: If these writing tasks will be graded or critiqued based on specific guidelines, those deets can help create prompts that are easier to assess.
Prompt Examples to Help You Get the Perfect Writing Prompt
Theory is great, but examples bring concepts to life! From primary school kids to corporate adults, here are practical examples to inspire you as you craft writing prompts suited to your students’ needs and goals.
Example 1: I’m an ESL teacher looking for a narrative writing prompt for my 2nd-grade class. They’re at a beginner English level, and the focus is on simple sentences. Can you craft a prompt about friendship that’s roughly 50 words long?
Example 2: I teach EFL to advanced high school students and we’re examining the impact of social media. Could you provide an argumentative writing prompt that’s around 100 words? The tone should be formal, and it will be graded based on standard criteria for argumentative essays.
Example 3: I’m instructing an intermediate adult ESL class with an emphasis on descriptive language. Can you create a prompt related to describing a personal experience? Keep it around 75 words and maintain an informal, conversational tone.
Example 4: For my 6th-grade ESL classroom, we’re focusing on past tense verbs. I’d appreciate a narrative writing prompt about a historical event. Aim for about 50-60 words. Students will be graded on their use of past tense.
Example 5: I have an ESL class of college students at an intermediate level, and we’re tying in lessons from their business courses. Can you generate a persuasive writing prompt centered on business ethics, around 100 words long? Assessment will include how well they incorporate business terminology.
Example 6: I’m an EFL teacher seeking a creative writing prompt for teens at an intermediate level. We’re focusing on vocabulary building. Could you draft a prompt related to travel, keeping it around 80 words?
Example 7: Teaching an advanced ESL adult class here, and our theme is current events. I’d like an expository writing prompt that’s roughly 100 words. Grading will be based on how well they analyze the topic.
Example 8: For my beginner ESL kiddos in 4th grade, we’re exploring family dynamics. Could you create a simple descriptive writing prompt of about 40 words?
Example 9: I’ve got a mixed-age EFL class with varying proficiency levels. Can you offer a general writing prompt that caters to a broad audience? Make it around 60 words, and it should be related to personal growth.
Example 10: In my ESL class for seniors, we’re looking at life stories. Can you generate a narrative prompt that encourages them to delve into their past? Aim for 70 words, please.
Example 11: I teach business English to ESL adults at an intermediate level. Could you craft a report-writing prompt about corporate responsibility? It should be about 100 words and will be assessed on clarity and coherence.
Example 12: My ESL students are young adults at a beginner level. We’re focusing on daily routines. I’d love a prompt that encourages them to write about a typical day, keeping it around 50 words.