Integrating Generative AI into English Lessons

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, embracing innovative technologies has become essential to engage and inspire young minds. One such tool is Generative AI (Generative Artificial Intelligence), a powerful force that can transform traditional English lessons into interactive experiences. In this blog post, I will explore how teachers can use Generative AI to boost creativity, teamwork, and vocabulary building in their classes.

Storytelling with AI Prompts

Students can embark on thrilling adventures sparked by AI-generated prompts. By using AI to kickstart storytelling sessions, teachers can ignite the imaginations of their students. Each prompt serves as a launching pad, prompting students to build on the story, by introducing characters and incorporating exciting events.

This not only enhances narrative skills but also fosters a love for storytelling.

Consider this AI prompt: In a bustling city made entirely of building blocks, two best friends, Benny the Bunny and Lila the Kitten, discover a magical paintbrush that brings their drawings to life. Think of the wonderful adventures that unfold as they paint their way through the cityscape.

In this activity, teachers can discuss various characters and possible events with students, encouraging them to think about what might happen next and prompting them to share their ideas. Students can express their thoughts on how Benny the Bunny and Lila the Kitten might look, as well as the special abilities each possesses. As teachers build on the story, they can guide students to share details about the places the characters paint, the challenges they face, and the magical surprises that unfold along the way.

One important point to consider is that using AI for creative writing does not affect all students the same way. While it helps with creativity overall, it may work better for some students than others. For example, it might help some students come up with more details in their writing, but it might not help others be more flexible in their ideas. Also, it might work differently for students who are already good writers compared to those who are still learning (Woo, David & Guo, Kai.,2023) It is therefore important that teachers guide students to use AI tools according to their individual needs, considering their writing abilities and preferences.

Collaborative Writing in a Shared Document

Teachers can introduce the concept of collaborative writing using shared documents, allowing students to contribute to a story in real-time, fostering teamwork and creativity. According to Woodrich and Fan (2017), Google Docs has proven to be a valuable resource for collaborative writing tasks in middle school classrooms. This collaborative aspect not only encourages communication skills but also ensures that each student’s voice is heard.

To kick off their collaborative writing session, students can generate the initial paragraphs of a story within their assigned group and shared document. They can use ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) to generate ideas for specific sections of their collaborative piece. For instance, when discussing environmentally friendly practices at home, students can ask ChatGPT for additional ideas to enhance their content. ChatGPT can also assist in improving spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. Students will take turns utilising the AI tool to enhance their writing collectively. It is important to note that the AI is a supportive tool meant to assist and refine, not to alter the unique creativity of each student in the collaborative writing process.

For narrative writing, students can further elevate their storytelling by using the AI tool to generate unexpected plot twists or introduce new characters.
For instance,
Students can write out the plot twist based on the suggestions or keep adjusting the prompts until they are satisfied with the direction of the story.
Collaborative writing helps students work together and support one another as a team, fostering constructive feedback, and a shared sense of achievement. The continuous exchange of ideas in this process sparks fresh creativity as contributors introduce new elements or plot twists. Additionally, collaborative writing adds enjoyment and social interaction to the otherwise solitary writing process, serving as a motivating factor as contributors share the excitement of creating a piece of writing together.


Visual Representation with AI Illustration Tools

With generative AI, students can take vocabulary building a step further by integrating AI illustration tools. They can visually represent words or phrases from their reading materials, creating a deeper connection between language and imagery. This approach caters to diverse learning styles and reinforces the understanding of vocabulary in a meaningful context.


Take a look at this.


‘In the car pool Mrs. Gibson let Becky have a seat by the window. Audrey and Elliott got seats by the window, too. I said I was being scrunched. I said I was being smushed.’


– ‘Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.’

Instead of solely explaining the meanings of the words ‘scrunched’ and ‘smushed,’ teachers can leverage an AI illustration generator to visually depict these concepts. Students, in turn, can utilise the app to create a suitable image by entering a descriptive prompt into the prompt field. This approach encourages students to use precise vocabulary and descriptive language in order to generate images that accurately convey their intended meanings.


For expository writing, teachers can start a meaningful discussion by using an AI-generated image to spark conversation. The image acts as a catalyst, encouraging students to consider different viewpoints and express their thoughts. Prompting dialogue around the image prepares the ground for a discursive essay, enhancing critical thinking and writing skills. This creative method not only engages students but also encourages analytical discussions, creating a foundation for a compelling essay-writing experience. The image below is AI-generated, and teachers can introduce the topic of how trash impacts the environment by displaying this image. They can prompt students to imagine living in this type of environment.

This image is generated by GenCraft.


Finding the Right Balance

To ensure the safe and effective use of Generative AI in English classes, teachers must remain vigilant for potential pitfalls.


Overdependence on AI-generated prompts can stop students from being creative and neglect their own critical thinking. Therefore, teachers need to find a good balance. They should help students see AI prompts as just starting points and inspiration. Students should have the freedom to add their own ideas and make the stories their own. This way, students can benefit from AI while still being creative in their storytelling.


When using AI-generated illustrations, teachers should exercise caution by reminding students to critically evaluate the accuracy and relevance of the generated images. While AI tools can be valuable for visual representation, there is a risk of misinterpretation or inaccuracies in the illustrations produced. Teachers also should encourage students to cross-reference the AI-generated images with reliable sources or real-life examples to ensure they align with the intended concepts or themes.


For instance, if students come across an AI-generated image depicting a beach cluttered with plastic bottles and waste, teachers should encourage them to consider whether the image accurately represents the environmental impact of trash. They can compare it to real-life photographs or videos of polluted beaches to assess its similarity. This comparison helps students ensure that the image effectively communicates the issue of trash harming the environment.


Embracing Generative AI in education, with tools like ChatGPT and AI illustrations, transforms English classes into exciting adventures. This tech duo, when employed purposefully and responsibly, enhances creativity, teamwork, and word learning in a fun way. As students and teachers dive into this journey, the future of education becomes a blend of imagination and smart tech, making each lesson truly inspiring.

Contributed by:
Juzailah Amin, DAS Curriculum Developer & Lead Educational Therapist, RETA Fellow