How Can ChatGPT Discourage Critical Thinking In Students?
Published byat May 5th, 2023 , Revised On October 5, 2023
ChatGPT might be the most talked about tool in the academic field since its launch in November 2022 by OpenAI. As an AI language model, ChatGPT is programmed to provide accurate and relevant responses to a wide range of questions. While this capability has made it a valuable tool in many fields, including academia, there is a concern that ChatGPT may discourage critical thinking in academics.
Importance of Critical Thinking in Academics
Critical thinking is looking at and analysing things clearly and logically. It requires you to form a judgment based on evaluating the sources. It involves questioning assumptions, considering different perspectives, and evaluating evidence systematically and rationally.
Critical thinking is extremely important in academics as it allows students to reflect and understand their points of view. It also assists them in performing research and problem-solving.
Critical thinking helps students to evaluate a situation on a broader level and analyse the right and methodical way to solve the problem. A student with good critical thinking skills can present their ideas more efficiently. Instead of completely relying on classroom education, they become self-reliant, which helps them in excelling in their academic life.
Critical thinking is a valuable skill in various contexts, including academic settings, the workplace, and everyday life. By developing critical thinking skills, individuals can become better problem-solvers, decision-makers, and communicators, making more informed and reasoned judgments in their personal and professional lives.
ChatGPT’s Role in Discouraging Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is an essential skill for students to succeed. However, the incessant use of ChatGPT is letting students lose this important skill. A few ways in which this is happening include the following.
Lack of Accountability and Responsibility
When students use ChatGPT to generate content, they may find it difficult to take responsibility for their own work. An example of such a situation is that if a student uses ChatGPT to generate an important essay and the teacher marks something as incorrect, they might not know why the marked section is inaccurate. Therefore, they cannot take responsibility for it because they didn’t research it.
Lack of Creativity
ChatGPT can create plagiarism-free texts, but they are not original. For example, if you generate a story with the tool, you will see a story you could find elsewhere on the internet. This also causes students to lose their own creativity. Students know they can just use the tool to get their answers, so they do not bother to write and think about new ideas. In other words, it discourages independent thinking.
Content developed using ChatGPT does not include any personal opinions. This is highly inefficient when, say, you ask the tool to write a personal statement for you. A personal statement requires you to be you, further enhancing your thinking skills and ability to notice minute details. ChatGPT definitely lacks the critical thinking and expressions required to write a personal statement.
Encourages Confirmation Bias
Using ChatGPT for academia can promote bias by giving students answers that confirm their pre-existing beliefs or assumptions rather than prompting them to consider alternative perspectives or think critically. ChatGPT uses machine learning algorithms trained on large data sets that may reflect certain biases or constraints.
As a result, students may receive responses that reflect these biases and reinforce their existing beliefs rather than prompting them to question or explore alternative viewpoints. This can limit the ability of students to think critically and comprehensively understand the topic.
Undermines The Learning Process
Using ChatGPT can reduce students’ engagement and motivation to learn, as they may become overly reliant on ChatGPT to provide answers rather than actively engaging in the learning process. This can lead to decreased independent thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills.
The lack of social interaction and collaboration with peers and instructors that comes with using ChatGPT can limit students’ opportunities for feedback and discussion, hindering their ability to develop critical thinking and communication skills.
Balancing The Use Of ChatGPT with Critical Thinking
The role of ChatGPT in academics can not be ignored. It is gradually becoming a tool for everyday use, both academically and professionally. Use it for a while, and you will also feel you are relying on it. However, its disadvantages to critical thinking skills can also not be neglected. Therefore, it is eminent that we use the tool smartly.
Why is balancing ChatGPT with Critical Thinking Important?
Critical thinking involves analysing information, evaluating arguments, and making sound judgments. While ChatGPT can answer your questions and generate responses based on patterns in data, it is not infallible and may sometimes provide inaccurate or incomplete information. This is why it is important to approach the information it provides critically and use your judgment to assess its accuracy and relevance to your needs. This includes verifying the sources of information, evaluating the credibility of the information, and considering multiple perspectives and viewpoints.
Although ChatGPT and other language models can be useful tools for gathering information and generating ideas, it is important to recognise their limitations in promoting critical thinking in academics. Relying solely on these technologies can lead to a passive approach to learning, which does not encourage the development of analytical and problem-solving skills.
Therefore, it is crucial for educators and students to continue to prioritise and practice critical thinking in order to fully engage with and understand complex concepts in academic settings.
Ultimately, the role of ChatGPT should be seen as an additional resource rather than a replacement for traditional methods of learning and critical thinking.
A major disadvantage of using ChatGPT for students is the potential for over-reliance on technology, which can hinder critical thinking and independent learning. ChatGPT may also provide inaccurate or incomplete information, leading to an incorrect understanding of the topic. Moreover, students can become disconnected from the learning process and lose the opportunity for social interaction and collaboration with peers and teachers.
Excessive reliance on ChatGPT can lead to a decline in intrinsic learning motivation, as students may feel less engaged and invested in the learning experience. In addition, the lack of social interaction and collaboration can also reduce motivation to learn.
While ChatGPT can provide helpful information, it is important for students to use various sources and methods for studying. ChatGPT is not a substitute for textbooks, lectures, or other traditional learning resources but can be a valuable supplement to enhance understanding and aid in research.
ChatGPT may generate unreliable or inaccurate information, particularly if it has not been trained on accurate data or is presented with complex or ambiguous questions. It also may not always provide the depth of understanding or context necessary for complex or nuanced topics.
Schools should utilise ChatGPT as a supplemental tool for learning while also emphasising the importance of critical thinking and human interaction. Teachers can guide students in using ChatGPT to access information and how evaluate and question its responses.