The purpose of this four-week course is to provide you with a rigorous, intellectual framework for developing (and continuing to develop) your own core values for living a good life, however that life might look for you. The rationale is that if you are aware of the principles, values and ideals that govern your life, you can then decide how you want to interact with others. The course is not faith-based; however, it accommodates your views, no matter if they are grounded in religion or not.

Most importantly, though, this course is not about telling you how to act, what to think, or even what to say when communicating. Instead, it's about exploring issues and uncovering assumptions that might or might not be limiting in your relations with others; this will help you to reflect upon how your actions (and 'inactions') and conduct impact upon individuals and groups.

The course has three elements:
  1. A 'lecture,' which establishes the key (big!) concepts for the week. Students often ask clarifying questions during these lectures, just so they know they are across the main ideas. The lectures ask you to consider these two key questions:
    • What principles, values or ideals should govern my life and how I interact with others?
    • How do my actions (and 'inactions') and conduct impact upon others?
  2. A 'tutorial,' which is actually more of a group discussion or conversation where we can explore our behaviours, thoughts, and actions. The tutorials help you explore:
    • How do I communicate?
    • Why do I communicate in this way? (ie, what is my own story or history in relation to this?)
    • What thoughts, emotions and feelings underpin this style of communication for me?
    • What is currently happening to keep this style of communication in place for me?
    • Is context important as regards how I act?
    • How might I see things differently?
  3. Some reading. This is really up to you, but I will suggest some useful sources.


  1. Philosophy and communication: Why bother? Wisdom, self-knowledge, the art of life (Key thinkers: Dewey, Vico, Whitehead)
  2. Oppression: Ideology, dogma, domestication, false generosity, transformation (Key thinker: Freire)
  3. Democracy: Authoritarianism vs liberalism; despotism; democracy, free interaction, mutual interests, shared values, freedom, variety (Key thinkers: Mannheim, Dewey,
  4. Liberation: Dialogical communication, ontological vocation, humanism, freedom, critical consciousness, historicity (key thinkers: Freire, Mannheim)

Student feedback on previous iterations of this course

  • "Lectures were excellent. I developed confidence and communication skills in conversation."
  • "The efforts gone to to create a democratic tutorial environment was appreciated and modelled good behaviour with respect to classroom discussions on difficult topics."
  • "The lectures presented abstract concepts in a clear and well structured way."
  • "Issues presented were conducted in a very respectful and professional environment."
  • "The conversations were handled wonderfully. In a course that can be so sensitive the way that the conversations were run made me feel very safe to be open about my values and beliefs."
  • "Megan took a really wonderful approach in setting up structures to make a safe place where we could express and examine ideas, rather than just preaching at us about what we're supposed to think, and did a fantastic job of moderating the discussions, helping everyone to be included, helping us to examine ourselves, and letting us solve our own problems."
  • "Megan made a big effort to explain things properly! She also used a lot of references and thinkers to stimulate ideas, and gave us useful resources so we could explore what we were interested in without being buried in a truckload of reading."
  • "She managed to inspire us and demonstrate how our conversations *should* work, even while discussing all the dirty realities of how we currently talk -- somehow the gap between our ideals and our practice doesn't seem so insurmountable after this course."
  • "Great supportive group and focus on real issues affecting communication"
  • "Very stimulating - subject was like a mini-arts degree in just a few weeks. All content extremely well structured and prepared."
  • "Today's lecture was worth a year of church!" [This is my favourite bth_smiley-face.jpg ]