May 2, 2023
What does it mean for humans to write?
Let’s start with this assumption: At the very least, if ChatGPT can write essays, then we probably shouldn’t be assigning them and furthermore assessing them in a formal learning environment.
Since the release of ChatGPT 3.5, there have been rumblings about moving on from essay writing in schools. Just to be clear, abandoning essay writing in the age of AI isn’t the future of learning. That’s future learning designed by fear of technology. What is the positive future of learning that embraces our digital world and AI’s role in this technological landscape? What is the generative future of learning that includes students learning how to communicate their ideas through writing? Teaching students how to slow down, pay attention, and make connections in a thoughtful writing process is a way to empower them. Essay writing, if structured well, can achieve what we humans invented literature to do.
According to Angus Fletcher in Wonderworks: Literary Invention and the Science of Stories, humans invented literature to tell stories, stir emotions (love, wonder, faith), and solve the problem of being human. For Fletcher, literature is a big tent that includes all stories,…