When Looking is Allowed: What Compassionate Group Work Looks Like in a UK University
Today there is a robust, theoretical basis, contributed by a range of disciplines, for rooting compassion into university curricula - an essential dimension to HE’s remit to serve the public good. Central to this this is how compassion has come to be introduced to be credit bearing toward degrees, for example in terms of assessment practice for group work, seminars and tutorials, in parts of the University of Hertfordshire (UH). This chapter focuses on one of the essential micro skills of compassion that is easily taught in HE: the use of eye gaze for deliberatively compassionate purposes in group work. The UH has found this skill, amongst others, to be a key mediator of students’ noticing and addressing distress and/or disadvantaging of others in group work. The chapter explains how assessing such demonstrable, compassionate behaviours has mediated participant groups’ levels of inclusivity and critical thinking performance in three UH departments.