Child-Robot Interactions for Second Language Tutoring to Preschool Children

Paul Vogt*, Mirjam de Haas, Chiara de Jong, Peta Baxter, Emiel Krahmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


In this digital age social robots will increasingly be used for educational purposes, such as second language tutoring. In this perspective article, we propose a number of design features to develop a child-friendly social robot that can effectively support children in second language learning, and we discuss some technical challenges for developing these. The features we propose include choices to develop the robot such that it can act as a peer to motivate the child during second language learning and build trust at the same time, while still being more knowledgeable than the child and scaffolding that knowledge in adult-like manner. We also believe that the first impressions children have about robots are crucial for them to build trust and common ground, which would support child-robot interactions in the long term. We therefore propose a strategy to introduce the robot in a safe way to toddlers. Other features relate to the ability to adapt to individual children's language proficiency, respond contingently, both temporally and semantically, establish joint attention, use meaningful gestures, provide effective feedback and monitor children's learning progress. Technical challenges we observe include automatic speech recognition (ASR) for children, reliable object recognition to facilitate semantic contingency and establishing joint attention, and developing human-like gestures with a robot that does not have the same morphology humans have. We briefly discuss an experiment in which we investigate how children respond to different forms of feedback the robot can give.
Original languageEnglish
Article number73
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2017

Research programs



Dive into the research topics of 'Child-Robot Interactions for Second Language Tutoring to Preschool Children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this