Episode 08 – Teaching Empathy and Collaboration with Frances Garrett


Dr. Frances Garrett, from the University of Toronto, talks about how she designs courses in creative ways that focus on developing student skills as well as sharing Buddhist studies content. Her courses have included an immersive year-long role-playing experience and a seminar where the students collaborated on writing and publishing an academic article. As a self-professed introvert for whom teaching has always been a struggle, Frances talks about how she centers the mental health of her undergraduate and graduate students and aims to create a more compassionate university environment.


“I think as a teacher you have to model appreciative criticism.” Frances Garrett 

“Students’ subjective experience can be a way into learning about interdependence.” Frances Garrett

Links and References 

Frances Garrett’s website and profile page https://www.religion.utoronto.ca/people/directories/all-faculty/frances-garrett and http://francesgarrett.chass.utoronto.ca

Antioch University’s study abroad program in Bodhgaya, India (See also episode with Kerry Brown) https://www.carleton.edu/global-engagement/buddhist-studies-india/

David Germano and the Tibetan Himalayan Digital Library http://www.thlib.org/about/wiki/thdl%20home%20overview.html

Barnard College, Reacting to the Past – Role-playing game for undergraduate students https://reacting.barnard.edu

Todd Lewis, “Getting the Foundations Right when Teaching Asian Religions,” Education about Asia, 2010 https://college.holycross.edu/faculty/tlewis/PDFs/teaching_about_asian_religions.pdf

Todd Lewis, “Representations of Buddhism in Undergraduate Teaching: The Centrality of Ritual and Story Narratives,” Teaching Buddhism in the West Routledge 2002 https://college.holycross.edu/faculty/tlewis/PDFs/Representations_of_Buddhism_in_Undergraduate_Teaching.pdf

Frances Garrett, Matt King, Barbara Hazelton, Andrew Erlich, and Nicholas Field, “Narratives of Hospitality and Feeding in Tibetan Ritual,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion – article co-written with grad students https://academic.oup.com/jaar/article/81/2/491/805712 

3 Domains of Learning in Bloom’s Taxonomy https://thesecondprinciple.com/instructional-design/threedomainsoflearning/