July 16, 2024

Flipping through my students’ essays is like hearing stories from beginners to seasoned poets – or possibly bots. In some papers, I try to understand the student’s message amid the grammatical chaos. Conversely, there are papers that, at first glance, seem to have perfect composition with flawless grammar. However, I suspect that these pieces may not be entirely the learner’s work but rather the product of artificial intelligence (AI).
As an educator, I recognize that AI tools like Grammarly and ChatGPT from OpenAI can help with spelling, grammar, and queries, but over-reliance on predictive and generative texting can strike students’ spelling abilities and blot their creative writing skills and critical thinking.
When I task my students to write essays, I want them to develop critical thinking by teaching them to research, build arguments, discuss topics, develop theses, and explore different angles. If students rely on AI tools to write, their development and motivation to learn fades as writing is much easier with just a prompt.
Moreover, they lose the skill of expressing their thoughts in their own words. I can sense that a text is AI-generated when the composition is perfect but lacks personal expression and creativity. It feels algorithmic, and is less of oneself, which is not the purpose of communication.
Interestingly, reading my students’ compositions with grammatical errors seems more like a conversation with a human than a robotic AI-generated one. These imperfect essays, despite their flaws, show genuine effort and personal voice, qualities that are often lost in AI-generated texts. Yet, with our established rubrics, these compositions often receive low scores due to their inability to convey meaning clearly.
We don’t want our students to be like opera performers who seem to sing beautifully, only to be revealed as merely lip-syncing. Genuine learning and creativity come from making mistakes, getting corrected and guided, and not relying on AI.
While AI is here to stay, educators need to recognize the opportunities it brings without letting students rely on it too heavily. It also requires attention from educational authorities and policymakers. I appeal to those in authority, the Department of Education, to establish guidelines and policies to ensure that our learners do not become overly reliant on them. It’s time to reimagine our teaching setting, making sure that our learners’ futures are not artificially generated but built on genuine learning.