Maria Chinkina


Automatic Input Enrichment for Selecting Reading Material: An Online Study with English Teachers
Maria Chinkina | Ankita Oswal | Detmar Meurers
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications

Input material at the appropriate level is crucial for language acquisition. Automating the search for such material can systematically and efficiently support teachers in their pedagogical practice. This is the goal of the computational linguistic task of automatic input enrichment (Chinkina & Meurers, 2016): It analyzes and re-ranks a collection of texts in order to prioritize those containing target linguistic forms. In the online study described in the paper, we collected 240 responses from English teachers in order to investigate whether they preferred automatic input enrichment over web search when selecting reading material for class. Participants demonstrated a general preference for the material provided by an automatic input enrichment system. It was also rated significantly higher than the texts retrieved by a standard web search engine with regard to the representation of linguistic forms and equivalent with regard to the relevance of the content to the topic. We discuss the implications of the results for language teaching and consider the potential strands of future research.


Question Generation for Language Learning: From ensuring texts are read to supporting learning
Maria Chinkina | Detmar Meurers
Proceedings of the 12th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications

In Foreign Language Teaching and Learning (FLTL), questions are systematically used to assess the learner’s understanding of a text. Computational linguistic approaches have been developed to generate such questions automatically given a text (e.g., Heilman, 2011). In this paper, we want to broaden the perspective on the different functions questions can play in FLTL and discuss how automatic question generation can support the different uses. Complementing the focus on meaning and comprehension, we want to highlight the fact that questions can also be used to make learners notice form aspects of the linguistic system and their interpretation. Automatically generating questions that target linguistic forms and grammatical categories in a text in essence supports incidental focus-on-form (Loewen, 2005) in a meaning-focused reading task. We discuss two types of questions serving this purpose, how they can be generated automatically; and we report on a crowd-sourcing evaluation comparing automatically generated to manually written questions targeting particle verbs, a challenging linguistic form for learners of English.


Linguistically Aware Information Retrieval: Providing Input Enrichment for Second Language Learners
Maria Chinkina | Detmar Meurers
Proceedings of the 11th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications

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Online Information Retrieval for Language Learning
Maria Chinkina | Madeeswaran Kannan | Detmar Meurers
Proceedings of ACL-2016 System Demonstrations