ChatGPT will change education forever. That’s a good thing

ChatGPT will change education forever. For one group of students, that’s not a bad thing.
As an educational therapist working with kids with learning disabilities, a group long marginalized for not being able to write essays, I’ve been dismayed by the response to ChatGPT in education circles.
Dismayed, but not surprised.
Preventing cheating has emerged as educators’ main concern surrounding the new technology. If a teacher can’t trust that students wrote their own essays, the argument goes, how can they possibly grade their work?
The week after ChatGPT’s launch, Stephen Marche wrote in the Atlantic that descriptive, structured writing remains the cornerstone of teaching and evaluation. And yet while the essay may be the centerpiece of our system of education, nearly every student I work with struggles with some aspect of writing an essay.
Writing is one of the most complex tasks expected of the human brain, the only thing we hold in higher esteem than standardized test scores. But consider the neurotypical process by which we teach students to produce a compelling descriptive essay. It requires advanced language skills, background knowledge, planning and organizational skills, the ability to infer, see and create nuance, and use details and figurative language. Kids with language disorders struggle with one aspect of this process, and kids with Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or who are on the Autism spectrum with another. And essential cultural context is absent for many first-generation immigrants and English language learners.
In other words, the essay as a centerpiece is an educational ideal that is ableist in the extreme.

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