Displaying items by tag: taos

Tuesday, 06 July 2021 07:57

Taos Forum Call: Now I see a Person

Here are the details of another forum call I hosted on June 25th:


Dear Taos Associates,

You are invited to a Forum Call with Susan Swim and her colleagues from Now I See a Person.

Revisiting Process Ethics: Participating and Co-Creating Intimacy in Client-Therapist Relationships

June 25, at 12:00 - 1:30 PM US Eastern time


Paul Leslie will host this Forum Call with Dr. Susan Swim and her colleagues from Now I See a Person. You may also invite a guest to join you for this Forum Call, perhaps a colleague or student.

From Susan:

In 2001, I asked Ken, Harlene, Tom, Sally, Dan, Faith and Giselle to accompany me in writing on Process Ethics (Journal of Systemic Therapies 2001).

Now I See A Person Institute was created on these premises of “Ethically Generated Relationships”. Every conversation whether at the ranch or via zoom, due to the pandemic, celebrates honesty, genuine caring, seeing a person rather than a diagnosis, trust, humility, and humanness. Our “clients” see us as people as we do them. People come to be with us, a team of therapists, hopeless and suffering and we meet them in a space of genuine caring, pure listening, attempting to see, hear, understand, and be always client led.

In our previous forum calls we have sought to present and highlight these client voices in our evidence-based research. In this call we wish to share our voices, in the collective “we” which leads to what we now call "Extraordinarily Normal Lives".

Susan has also shared a number of references as pre-reading. Please take this opportunity to read through some of these in anticipation of the call.


  1. Journal of Systemic Therapies. Special Edition on Process Ethics Vol 20, No. 4 2001. (https://guilfordjournals.com/toc/jsyt/20/4 )
  2. Mad In America. Now I See A Person: A New Model for Breaking Free of Mental Health Labels.  https://www.madinamerica.com/2021/01/now-i-see-person-new-model-breaking-free-mental-health-labels/
  3. Swim, S. (2020). "Colleen’s Healing Journey." Metalogos Systemic Therapy Journal(38). (https://www.metalogos-systemic-therapy-journal.eu/en/current%20issue)
  4. Swim, S., et al. (2020). "Extraordinarily Normal: A Journey of Breaking Free from the Limits of Labels." Metalogos Systemic Therapy Journal(38). (https://www.metalogos-systemic-therapy-journal.eu/en/current%20issue )


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Please keep that email as it contains your unique link to join the call. 



Paul Leslie, PhD


Apple Teacher
Associate of the Taos Institute (https://www.taosinstitute.net/paul-leslie)

Published in Teaching and Learning
Monday, 19 April 2021 08:32

Hosting TAOS Forum calls

As I was reviewing my emails and Taos Institute documentation, I noted that I have completed a number of calls, welcomes of new members and other activities. In addition to the one I posted previously, here are a few more highlights:

Hosting Forum Calls:

You are invited to a forum call with Peter Whitehouse on: Intergenerational Futuring

Wednesday, September 16th, 12:00 – 1:00 PM (ET / New York Time).

With Peter Whitehouse

Host – Paul Leslie

Intergenerational Futuring is about creative dialogue about the past and present in service of a better more sustainable future.  Intergeneratively synthesizing concepts like transdisciplinarity, relational learning, social construction, narrative, Big History, Deep Time, integrative health, interprofessional practice, deep bioethics, cognitive neuroscience and the transmedia arts is essential to creating and enacting social transformation. It challenges dominant neoliberal economics and politics and unbridled faith in rationality and science, like scientism  An example is the InterHub as part of the Presencing Institute, especially their GAIA (Global Activation of Intention and Action)  project  where our intention is “Learning to take intergenerational action together to re-enchant civilization.”

Key question for introductions: What idea or activity inspires you as essential to creating a better, more sustainable future?

 You are invited to a Forum Call for Taos Associates with Haesun Moon.

Host: Paul Leslie

November 19th, at 10:00 – 11:00 AM EST (New York).

Show me: The Evidence of Social Construction

 In studying communications, we often focus on the contents of what people say rather than what the content does. If you work with people as a counselor, therapist, trainer, coach, or other capacity, the question goes beyond what do we say and what do they say. It becomes more about what does the conversation do?

In this brief forum call, you will get to experiment with a simple heuristic of interaction - Dialogic Orientation Quadrant - to see how social construction may be made visible in your work.

Key questions for discussion:

  • Think back on a conversation that had a positive effect on you - whether it motivated, inspired, comforted, encouraged, or even challenged you to think differently. What was it about the interaction that contributed to the positive effects?
  • How do you teach others to “do it"?

 You are invited to a Forum Call with Dr. Saliha Bava.

Hyperlinked Identities: A Generative Resource in a Divisive World

April 22, at 10:00 - 11:00 AM US Eastern time

Paul Leslie will host this Forum Call with Dr. Saliha Bava. You may also invite a guest to join you for this Forum Call, perhaps a colleague or student.

Saliha asks:

How do we perform our identities when we are navigating systems that are not in alignment for us? What relational practices do we call forth to help us coordinate the contradictions of everyday life so as to not live a life of complicitness? Or is that even doable?

Saliha will invite us into this conversation by sharing the making of the concept of hyperlinked identity as her way to traverse this tension, or what Homi Bhabha (1994) refers to as ambivalence, i.e. the fluctuating relationship between complicity and resistance as a colonized subject.

Saliha also shares her work on the hyperlinked identity in the attached draft chapter. Please feel free to read this in anticipation of the call.

Does this resonate with you? Please join the conversation.

Published in Teaching and Learning
Sunday, 01 November 2020 16:01

Taos Associates Forum Call

On October 28th, I participated in a Taos Forum Call as one of the presenters. See the text of the invitation:

Taos Forum Call

You are invited to a forum call for Taos Associates with Jerry Gale, and co-presenters Cees Hoogendijk, Peter Whitehouse and Paul Leslie.

Host: Haesun Moon

October 28th, at 10:00 – 11:00 AM EST (New York).

A story of teaching, knowledge and emotions in the times of Covid: A story in four acts.

  • Act I: Preparing the classroom and students for the coming (pandemic) storm.
  • Act II: Behind the zoom screen: Constructing new realities.
  • Act III: Reverberations.
  • Act IV: Being present.

 What untapped wisdom and potential for action exists when people of different ages learn together and recognize their inter-generative potential?

Key question for introductions:

  • How do you bring social constructionism and appreciative inquiry into your pedagogy?
  • How are emotions a part of teaching/learning? 
Published in Teaching and Learning
Friday, 08 November 2019 01:08

What in the World Wednesdays - WW?

On the first Wednesday of every month (or almost every month), the Taos Institute and the Taos Institute Associates Council (TIAC), of which I am a member, hosts an 'open dialogue' on what is going on the world. These sessions are called, "What in the World Wednesdays", AKA "WW?".

This past week, I was very excited to be hosting my second WW?. The host role is to introduce the session and the format, start the dialogue with a brief 1-2 minute preamble about what is on my mind. Then, the participants all get a turn to share what is on their mind. The host then tries to guide the discussion through the common threads of these issues raised by the participants. Often, the discussion is wide ranging and so I like to keep a thread of consistency going through the session to provide context and perspective on the issues.


  • Topic: What in the World? Wednesdays
  • Join Zoom Meeting at http:_______________
  • Time: November 6, 2019 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
  • It's that "most wonderful time" of the month again... when you, as Taos Associates, have an opportunity to drop by the WW?W online conversation and talk with other Taos Associates about what sparks your interest about what is going on in the world. That might be your immediate work and community world, our broader professional and regional worlds, or the transnational global issues that excite or trouble or challenge you. We hope you will join in.


Published in Teaching and Learning
Tuesday, 19 February 2019 19:01

Narratives of Learning - Forum Call - Feb 2019

Teaching in higher education can be a lonely endeavor. Practitioners often hold teaching positions for years without ever having a colleague examine or give meaningful feedback on their teaching practice. Great discussions are held on what to teach, when to teach, who to teach, and the date of an exam, but we often do not challenge each other on how to teach. Reflective teaching practice, grounded in social construction, can offer a starting point for such conversations.

To provide some background, please have a look at the following paper: http://ojs.aupress.ca/irrodltest/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2827

In our article on Portfolio Approach to Learning (Leslie & Camargo-Borges, 2017), I argued that to make our ideas clear to our community, we need to be able to create representations of those ideas through a model I called a ‘narrative of learning’, as shown in Figure 1.

narratives of learning short1
Figure 1

By doing so, we are able to better represent our ideas. We can better capture the concurrent processes along with the consecutive, the misaligned and the understated in order to present a more coherent notion of our particular narrative.

Once captured, the narrative of learning then becomes a discrete object.

  • We can view that object with a much greater sense of objectivity and agree with and point out criticisms of it much more readily.
  • We can physically (virtually) move it around within presentations, reuse it and share with our friends.

At this point, we move beyond the narrative of learning and begin to generate new narratives as shown in Figure 2. The construction of knowledge in this manner is often in an intentional or prepared environment such as a class or other forum. 

narrative constructionFigure 2

A first question for today is: how do we enable educators to share narratives of learning, in any form, and apply them to their particular teaching context? For example, we are instituting a peer and summative observation of teaching process. Can this be a forum for sharing such approaches? How might this work?

At the end of the paper, I discuss the notion of the "community echo", as shown in Figure 3. This arises when we put our thoughts out into our community via an open forum or social media of some form and then receive unsolicited feedback.

community echo
Figure 3

Another question I have today is, how do we continue the community of inquiry outside the intentional forum and allow our wider community in to see what we are doing? How do we elicit the “Community Echo” in order to support each others’ reflective practice?

Topic: Taos Institute Associates - Forum Call with Paul Leslie “Constructing a teaching practice”

When: Thurs. Feb 28, 2019 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada) 

Register in advance for this meeting: _____

Taos Forum Calls are offered by and for Taos Associates, and organized by the Taos Institute Associates Council (TIAC). They include a presentation, sometimes a recommended advance reading, and an opportunity for discussion. On Thursday Feb 28th, Paul Leslie will be presenting "Constructing a Teaching Practice". This promises to be a generative presentation and discussion, and we look forward to seeing you join us. You do need to register in advance for these Forum Calls - see the end of the message for link.

Constructing a Teaching Practice (Feb 28 10 am Eastern Time US/Can): Paul Leslie

Teaching in higher education can be a lonely endeavor. Practitioners often hold teaching positions for years without ever having a colleague examine or give meaningful feedback on their teaching practice. Great discussions are held on what to teach, when to teach, who to teach, and the date of an exam, but we often do not challenge each other on how to teach. Reflective teaching practice, grounded in social construction, can offer a starting point for such conversations.

To provide some background, please have a look at the following paper: http://ojs.aupress.ca/irrodltest/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2827

Paul Leslie is an Assistant Professor at Ross University School of medicine where he works in faculty development in the area of teaching and learning. Currently he is designing graduate and certificate programs for medical educators. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor for Queens University in Canada where he teaches online in the Professional Masters Of Education Program. Paul became a Taos associate in 2015 and was the first Taos graduate from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Published in Teaching and Learning
Saturday, 14 November 2015 08:02

First Taos Graduate from VUB

I was very honoured to be the first Taos Institute graduate from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB - The Free University of Brussels). Taos members normally graduate from Tilburg University in Holland. I was actually registered there for the first few years of the program.

I received honourable mention in the November edition of the Taos newsletter. View it here - you will have to scroll down a bit.

However, the Taos Institute recently initiated a new agreement with VUB and my adviser suggested I switch. The benefit is that I now can have my PhD in Educational Sciences where it properly belongs rather than in Social Sciences, which is also accurate, but more general.

By the way, you can also view my dissertation and associated documents from the Taos site here.

Research and Social Change: A Relational Constructionist Approach

URL: www.taosinstitute.net/research-and-social-change-nl


This workshop will focus on modes of inquiry that blur the traditional distinction between research and social change (e.g., consultation, program development, etc.). We will explore what research from a constructionist orientation looks like, how is it different and similar to traditional, empirical modes of inquiry, and how research informs the everyday practices of all participants. Emphasis will be given to the transformative potential of inquiry. In particular, participatory research, appreciative inquiry, action research, and auto-ethnography will be used to make the case for widening participation and involvement in research in order to maximize the relevance and accessibility of studies. This theme resonates with the constructionist call to recognize the ways in which all social action rests within a matrix of relationships with other actors.


Opening Reception (dinner) and introductory session: 18:00-21:00 Wednesday, 15 May
9:00-17:00 Thursday and Friday, 16-17 May
In Culemborg, The Netherlands



Notes from the Relational Construction workshop

The workshop was a great success. I think that all participants left with a sense of clarity about their research.

One of the big questions we were asked was, “Who is your audience? How would you explain relational constructionism and your research to your audience.”

My response was the following:

Relational constructionism provides guiding principles which can inform our interactions with each other. By accepting the notion that we create our understanding of the world though interactions with each other, and that all participants have their own valid experiences that can contribute to our understanding, we provide ourselves with a much richer source of knowledge and experiential learning. We do not only learn from our mistakes, but from our successes and experiences in general. If we accept this last proposal, then we might also accept that we can learn from others' experiences, mistakes and successes.

A portfolio learning process provides a learning community with tools that allow members of the community to capture their ideas and artifacts, and make them available to other members of the community. In this way, rather than have many students pursuing similar work and making the same mistakes, we share our ideas and practices and build on each other’s' work. By letting each other view our work and test or try it themselves, giving feedback along the way, we can perhaps move further / transform to bigger and better things.

In my own research, I am pursuing an educational application of a structure through which we can have conversations with each other. The portfolio process can have application in the areas of:

  • cheating vs. collaboration – in a post-modern world how do we separate and or reconcile the idea of working together with the idea of cheating or doing your own work?
  • Structure – how does the imposition of structure support or interfere with the construction of knowledge. In a post-modern educational institution, how do we address the issues of rigor and inquiry with the process of social construction through collaboration and conversation?
  • Assessment – in any situation, for the foreseeable future, we need to address stakeholder concerns over assessment. How can a portfolio process promote transparency and accountability among participants in a community of inquiry?
  • Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the portfolio process is that it creates spaces for interactions to happen.

One of the tools that will be used to help provide structure and rigor to the community is the Community of Inquiry Model (Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W., 2000).

 coi graphic

This model provides a format which can help to produce more productive and rigorous discussions and interactions, both face-to-face and blended / online.

self other

When we discuss the self-other divide, we can reformulate that as the client-consultant, or the counselor – patient, or the teacher-student. In this diagram of a typical college program, we can see that the ratio of teachers to students in the community of inquiry is very low. Hence, as has been argued earlier, the students need to provide an equal amount of teaching presence as do the teachers themselves.


In the pursuit of a relational construction methodology of how to proceed with your research, one issue that Dian Marie highlighted was the need for a minimal structure. I have represented this by the following scale:

minimal required structure

We can debate where the curve should be on the productivity, and that may depend on the activity. However, as a teacher, I find that the top of the curve is probably closer to the tight end. I also interpret Dian Marie’s comment about minimal structure as not meaning the least amount possible, but the least amount needed for a particular conversation.

We moved on to a discussion of the three ‘c’s, clarity, coherence and consistency in our research conversations. In this way, we can manage the “complex multiple particularities” that we encounter in conversations with others.

When having these conversations, we need to let others explain. This is part of creating a space for them to talk, to let the conversation and the process develop. We need to be open to their possibilities. , We need to co-emerge with them and let ourselves develop understanding along with the other, and not just try to fit their conversation into our reality. Part of this approach means that we need to begin conversations from the point of view that we are looking for change or are open to change. We also need to allow for multiple spaces where participants can work with different actors and pursue different streams of through / different processes simultaneously.

Conventional self-other or subject-object relations

  • Approach as problems to fix
  • People are experts in a “hierarchy of rationality”
  • There is a sense of privilege – an “aboutness” in that someone knows about a particular situation – can be seen as insider knowledge
  • Belief in the building of knowledge about an object as an external thing that exists outside of ourselves – “contained individualism”
  • Concept of knowing about the world through our own internal thoughts separate from the world - observation of external forces and phenomena
  • We combine our internal thoughts and the external world without realizing and arrive at different truths.
  • Secularized – separately existing worlds where relations are hierarchical.




taos culemborg outside pim 600view of the house from outside


taos culem fresco inside pim
Constructing new meanings

taos culemborg research1 small


taos culemborg research3 small