ChatGPT + Class Discussion: Let’s Augment the Smart with the Sentient | Liza Garonzik | 6 Min Read

January 25, 2023

ChatGPT calls on Humanities teachers to dig even deeper into what is already our core purpose—celebrating humanity … even in a tech-centric world. ChatGPT challenges us to get more intentional about why and how our classrooms teach and celebrate the skills humans have that ChatGPT lacks. 

Put more succinctly, ChatGPT is smart but not sentient—let our classrooms be the places where students learn the difference.

How? Through live, in-person conversation.

Today’s discussion dilemma

How do tools like ChatGPT impact class discussion? 

My answer

Tools like ChatGPT make in-class learning—like class discussion—more important than ever because it’s an opportunity for teachers to witness and assess students’ communication—including analytical and relational—skills. In many ways, ChatGPT is simply forcing a new emphasis on that which is a uniquely human skill: the ability to use conversation to explore ideas and build relationships.

The challenge? The increasing pressure on the class discussion as a key assessment opportunity calls for a far more systematic approach to teaching, practicing, and assessing in-person communication skills than currently exists in most schools.

The knee-jerk response

But discussion is more art than science! In my classroom, discussion is about relationship building—and I don’t want to pollute…

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Liza Garonzik

Liza Garonzik is the Founder of R.E.A.L. Discussion, a program that trains faculty to (re)teach Gen-Z students the discussion skills they need for success in learning — and real life. Her work is informed by an interdisciplinary research base and experience as a student, teacher, administrator, and trustee in diverse independent schools. Get in touch at [email protected] — there's little she loves more than a great conversation!