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.”