Seeking a Pedagogy of Honesty

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Paul Greene


With multiple cultural, academic, and religious forces urging students and faculty to default to varying degrees of academic and personal dishonesty, we need to seriously consider how the structures we implement as educators can either reinforce or undermine those urges. After briefly considering some of the varieties of academic dishonesty we face in our religion and theology classrooms, this essay proposes one alternative model for a flow of communication that short-circuits usual expectations and encourages an ethos of honest participation. The proposed solution, called a Discussion Plan, represents an attempt to make the classroom’s center of gravity the honest questions, honest observations, honest confusions, honest exasperations that are uniquely relevant to the actual students of the particular class. This intentional dismantling of regimes of dishonesty with a pedagogy of honesty requires vulnerability and the hard work of active engagement but pays off with richer student participation and creativity.

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