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24
Feb
2015

HybridPod, Ep. 2 — Compassion

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Fluidic Bow Shock” by Paul Hocksenar; CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Maha Bali’s featured column on Hybrid Pedagogy prompted the topic of this episode — compassion — but from an unusual angle. She and I talked about the problems we see with the way plagiarism is presented, discussed, and treated systemically. We thought that common systems that check finished work for signs of plagiarism turn it into a punitive situation, rather than a teaching opportunity. That’s the big difference between the student experience of plagiarism and the academic understanding of it. What if we looked at citation as a compassionate authorial act? Could we situate quoting and referencing as an act of academic kindness?

We also hear from Asao B. Inoue, who explains his efforts to make compassion an integral part of his teaching and learning practice. For him, compassion starts with the act of reading, and focusing attention on others helps students work in the moment and in the actual situation of class.

Eventually, I turn to the question of the role of education. What should education do? To Maha, “the role of education should be to promote this empathy of a different world view,” to make her students better global citizens. To Asao, education helps make our students “into better people.”

Join the conversation below! What role does compassion play in today’s classrooms? What can education help make our students?


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Music for this episode by Grégoire Lourme licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. This episode of HybridPod is licensed for re-use under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

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1 Response

  1. Yes, teaching students how to document and cite is definitely a teaching opportunity; surely other instructors see it that way (no?). In fact, Maha Bali’s method of couching the rationale for citation under the cultural understanding of religious scholarship is one of several approaches I have used when tutoring students (I coordinate a writing center in a small Catholic college in the USA).

    What interests me here is connecting such instruction with the practice of compassion; I had not thought of it that way. My students are always frantic about the punitive possibilities, but they seldom know the respect/value-based reasoning behind crediting an author. They also often miss how they can invest their own work with more ‘professor-friendly’ value through the citation of highly credible sources. When tutoring, a large part of what I endeavor to do is to listen closely to student writers, helping them to phrase their own ideas, so that they can begin to value their own “authorial acts.” This, too, is compassion, I suppose–letting the students know I respect the work they want to do, and assuring them that citation offers benefits beyond bean-counting correctness.

    I’m guessing that if I used the contemplative schema Asao Inoue describes–it sounds beautiful to me!–that the student cohort I instruct would think I was bananas. But I may be stereotyping my students! Perhaps this is just what they need.

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