Quick-fire strategies: Does Chat-GPT Mean The End For Teachers?

Quick-fire strategies: Does Chat-GPT Mean The End For Teachers?

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With the advancements in AI technology, tools like chat GPT are revolutionising the way students learn and access information. But what does this mean for the role of teachers?

In this thought-provoking School Behaviour Secrets episode, we delve into the evolving world of education and ask the crucial question: Are teachers at risk of being replaced by artificial intelligence?

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Show notes / transcription

Simon Currigan  0:00  

As time moves on, and as these tools become more effective, it's going to be the teachers who are in it because they care about changing the world for kids and are good at forming those relationships that are going to be valued and have a key place in our education systems.

Hi there, Simon Currigan here, hope you're well. And welcome to another quick fire episode of school behaviour secrets. In the shorter Quick Fire episodes, which we published during the holidays, I share a technique or insight or strategy that can have an impact for the children that you work with all in 10 minutes or less. We'll be returning with standard school behaviour secrets episodes after the holiday at the start of September. And in today's episode, I want to explore what chat GTP and other generative AI's like it, mean for us, the humble teacher in the classroom? Are they going to put us out of a job? One question, one key question that we don't often think about is what is the purpose of the teacher our role in the room? And when I speak to teachers, they usually come up with a variation of either to make a difference in the world, or to impart knowledge about a topic that I love. And if you're firmly in the latter category, whatever age you teach, I've got some bad news for you. 

If you haven't come across chat GTP before, it's an astounding leap in technology, it's a chatbot that you can have a back and forth conversation with on the internet. And the amazing thing about chat GTP is that you can pretty much ask it anything. And it will talk back to you or complete tasks for you. So here's one example. That's worrying universities and exam boards right now you can go to chat GTP and say something like, write me a 750 word essay on the key themes in The Grapes of Wrath, paying special attention to the metaphors John Steinbeck employs in the latter half of the novel, and it will produce what appears to be an essay that's been written by a human on that exact topic. Universities as an example are now looking at using AI detection tools to see whether this kind of cheating can be detected. And to some extent it can, except for you can get around this by saying to chat GTP. And write that essay in a way that avoids AI detection tools. It's absolutely amazing. The breadth of what it can talk about is just stunning. That can write imaginative text, like stories and poems. It can tell you jokes, it has even past medical exams and legal exams. Although it does get things wrong. At the moment, this technology has taken massive leaps in the last couple of years alone. And it's only getting better and better, faster and faster. In fact, chat GTP can already probably teach a topic that you know, well, better than you can do it, you can go to chat GTP and ask explain thermodynamics to me like my five year old and chat GTP will give you a very simple step by step explanation of what thermodynamics is. I tried this exact prompt before this recording. And it explained thermodynamics in very easy to understand terms, using examples with children's toys. But here's the thing, I can then ask a follow up questions and get immediate feedback. So I typed in, I'm sorry, I didn't understand that. Can you explain it a different way. And it started to explain thermodynamics, using chocolate as a different example than even finished with a sentence. I hope this explanation makes thermodynamics a little easier to understand for you. I can then ask chat GTP to give me a set of questions or problems to solve based on our conversation. And it will then engage me and this is the thing, right? An interactive discussion of how I'm doing solving those problems. I can ask it for hints, get immediate feedback, it will help guide and shape my understanding, responding to me in the moment. It's infinitely patient has an almost infinite number of ways of explaining complex ideas with no waiting for answers or support. 

And here's the thing, putting aside the problem that today it isn't 100 percent reliable, if we as teachers see our role as simply imparting information to students, then in 10 years time when this technology has improved, we will be dinosaurs dead in the ground. These technologies will explain content to students better than we can give them faster feedback with a sense of humour and imagination and respond to their individual needs and questions better and quicker than a single human in a class of 30 could ever hope to do so. So where does that leave us? Well, one thing chat GTP can't do is give the child a reciprocal relationship with an adult human being, you don't get that sense of human to human connection, it just can't be replicated. Think back to lockdown and trying to teach students using software like zoom or teams, even doing that in 2d through a screen with a real human, it just wasn't the same. There was something lost there. There is something powerful about being physically in a room with another person and having a conversation with them making real eye contact, knowing that they have your best interests at heart. And this is what so many of our kids need right now. Especially following lockdown and COVID, we've learned that schooling should be more than just about learning. It's about children's emotional and social development. It's about connection and preparation for life and future success. 

And as time moves on. And as these tools become more effective, it's going to be the teachers who are in it because they care about changing the world for kids and are good at forming those relationships that are going to be valued and have a key place in our education systems. These are the qualities of the staff that will be looking to hire in five years time or 10 years time, socially and emotionally intelligent people because our job will become more about connection making as much as supporting learning. And if you see your key role as sharing subject knowledge, well, I worry for your future because there's a revolution coming and nothing is going to stop it. Our jobs are about to change. 

I hope that's given you some food for thought if you found this episode interesting. I've got one quick favour to ask. Please spend just 30 seconds giving us an honest rating and review on your podcast app because that tells the algorithm to share the school behaviour secrets podcast with other teachers, school leaders and parents who might find this information useful. I'll be back with another quick fire episode next time but until then, I hope you have a brilliant week. Thanks for listening.

(This automated transcript may not be 100% accurate.)