in camera?

Sometimes it’s useful to discuss sensitive concerns privately. Other highly public bodies – like our city councils and other forms of government – have the in camera option where they go into private chambers, away from the prying eyes of the public and the media, to discuss . Maybe it would be useful to institute here.

This isn’t only because there are pedagogical and ethical questions and concerns that are fascinating and important to explore.

It’s also because some people seem to be feeling genuinely hurt, and possibly feeling disrespected. Perhaps other kinds of negative things too. I’m personally feeling neither hurt nor disrespected, but I’m disturbed by what I see going on. I don’t think it’s about education as bed of roses – it’s more about (what I feel are) our responsibilities to each other to provide a safe environment to take risks and play with ideas*. And on all kinds of levels – as an educator, a learner, a fellow student, and frankly, as a person, I’m feeling concerned, and I care. A lot. Were this a F2F class, or an online environment with an LMS, I would privately message people to check in with them and see how they’re doing and to offer my support. Most of us have our contact details completely private here (and I’ve noticed over the last couple of days that more folks have switched the privacy settings on UBCBlogs).

I’ve posted a discussion forum on this on the MET ning community. Not all of us are part of that community, accessible only to MET students, and so I also welcome you to message me privately to start an offline email based conversation. Here’s the formula for my private email (at gmail dot com)

First name (fill in the blank): ___ in wonderland.


Last name: I share a surname with the recently resigned BC premier who brought in the HST. 2nd clue: It’s also everyone’s favourite brand of soup – with the red and white label – famously turned into art by Andy Warhol. (p.s. don’t forget there’s a silent p!)

And so my email is: firstname dot lastname at gmail dot com.

(Don’t forget the dot between first and last name – otherwise, your message may go to my namesake in Tennessee!)


*I think I feel particularly passionately about this because I teach sensitive subject material that can get heated and personal really quickly. Sometimes I think that one of the real learning objectives in these courses is how to talk about really sensitive things in appropriate and respectful ways (without turning the course into diversity training), and how to keep one’s mind open without losing one’s own set of values or sense of integrity.

Posted in: Blog Café