May 21, 2023•304 words
One of my tasks for this week has been on lesson planners for an English reading and writing skills series for state schools. I was copying and pasting numerous bulletpoints of reading and writing outcomes and objectives from PDFs to a fancy online course planner, which people will later be able to download as a Word document.
As I was doing this, I took the time to look through what the kids are being told to do while exploring each book. I was an English teacher once.
Here are two ranty questions which came to my head as I was doing all this.
Q1. How much longer will we be able to justify the "test/genre/product/banking" approach to reading and writing? The bulk of today's reading and writing schemes didn't use to resemble a slow-motion ChatGPT training. Now it does, and humans shouldn't accept it. Kids who start school after this summer will ask, justifiably and indignantly, "why are we spending months on something which an app on my phone can do in seconds? You want a formal letter, wham. A story in the style of Neil Gaiman, voila - what's the value of this? What am I gaining here?"
Q2. Why did it make sense to someone to create engines which steal and devalue other people's language, but not engines which would be able to carry out my task for this week? "Copy a bulletpoint from here. Paste it here. Repeat until out of bulletpoints. Click save. Open a new PDF. Create a new planner. Got that? Okay, see you in five minutes?" - why am I having to train another person to do the next batch of this, and not a computer? I'm sure that both me and the next person would rather read a book for pleasure, actually.