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In This Issue
Brief Encounters - Collaborative Learning
New MSc program in Relational Leading
Taos Workshops
Taos Europe Workshops and Friends Workshops
Beyond the Therapeutic State
New Book
Free Download Books
International Certificate Program
Relational Leading
Masters program in
Relational Leading
to begin Fall  2014.

To apply visit:

Applications due by August 1st for the Fall cohort.
relationships and conversations that make a difference

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Taos Institute Publications
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clinical supervision
NEW BOOK- A Student's Guide to Clinical Supervision

U & Me - Communicating in Moments that Matter
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Relational Leading
When Stories Clash: Addressing Conflict with Narrative Mediation
The Appreciative Organization

Social Construction: Entering the Dialogue

Healing Conversations Now: Enhance Relationships with Elders and Dying Loved Ones

Positive Family Dynamics: Appreciative Inquiry Questions for Bringing Out the Best in Families

DVD - Fusion of Strength: An Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry by David Cooperrider
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AI Practitioner - Special Video Issue - A Must-Have for AI Practitioners
Practicing Relational Ethics in Organizations
Developing Relational Leadership
Retiring but not Shy
Retiring But Not Shy
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Ideas, News and Resources
July 2014  
We hope you enjoy receiving our newsletter which includes constructionist ideas and practices as well as news and resources from the Taos Institute.
Brief Encounters from the Taos Institute

As a way of sharing constructionist ideas, the Executive Board of the Taos Institute shares each month an idea or experience that might be an inspiration for you and others.  


This month Harlene Anderson shares thoughts on.....   




by Harlene Anderson  


When I begin an engagement I do so with the stance that I am entering a metaphorical space that has the potential for collaborative learning. Anytime collaborative learning is taking place I consider that it both creates and evolves from a collaborative learning community. This standpoint is central to my practice philosophy and stance: my ways of being and becoming with others. This includes the way I talk, act, think and respond with them (Anderson, 1997; 2007). Though collaborative learning is most often associated with education contexts, when I view it from the position that learning and knowledge-creating are communal construction processes generated in social exchange or from a relational-collaborative-dialogical perspective rather than a hierarchical-dualistic instructive interaction one, then each client context (e.g., education classroom, business team, faculty senate, neighborhood citizen association or board of directors) that I engage with can be thought of as a collaborative knowledge-generating system.


Variously referred to as action, collaborative, collective, cooperative, group, partner, peer, team and transformational learning, common among these distinctions is a grounding in assumptions about knowledge formation and use associated with social construction, narrative and dialogue theories and postmodern philosophy that offers an alternative perspective to longstanding views of the autonomous knowledge constructing individual and top-down informational learning (1). Each invites an epistemological and a performative shift that requires both genuinely "walking the talk" and "talking the walk."


In a relational and non-hierarchical approach to knowledge creation each member of the learning community, including facilitators and participants, contributes to the production of new learning and knowledge including its integration and application, and shares responsibility in these. This supposes that a collective learning experience is inherently transforming. What is being learned is transformed in the learning process, the learning or knowledge-making process itself is transformed in its making and likewise and the persons involved in the learning process are transformed. Transforming refers to the relational-generative process in which people engage with each other and with themselves in mutually sharing and inquiring into their experiences. As they critically consider and reflect on familiar reference frames new ones are created. As such, collaborative learning both creates and is a product of a collaborative learning community (2). 


I emphasize that I think the generating of newness takes place in a metaphorical space that entails a web of relationships and an atmosphere that invites learning with each other. It is a space in which a new discourse can be introduced, experienced and experimented with. In this participation, members begin to negotiate and learn the language of the discourse and community, acquire self-confidence and comfort in the language and create new language and knowledge for themselves that is meaningful and relevant.


A Few Things I Consider Important for Inviting Collaborative Learning

  • Have passion for and invite collaborative learning without imposing.
  • Be willing and able to be decentralized.
  • Grant "authority" and voice to learners.
  • Appreciate and be genuinely curious about the expertise and knowledge that each person brings.
  • Value difference, its ambiguity and uncertainty are critical to the development of newness.
  • Be able to move, and help members move, beyond familiar languages, vocabularies and understandings.
  • Help members develop bridges between familiar and unfamiliar language and knowledge discourses and communities.
  • Trust that each member can be the architect for their own learning.
  • Trust that each member can share responsibility for their and fellow members' learning members.
  • Trust each member's expertise and judgment regarding what is critical to their daily and future lives.
  • Trust that members will enhance their self-discipline, initiative and leadership abilities.
  • Be reflective and open to your perspectives being examined and challenged.
  • Express and live these values and attitudes in actions and words, inviting members to experience and consider them.
  • Remember attitude and tone are critical to setting the stage for and maintaining a generative collaborative learning.

        Keeping the above in mind encourages me and the people I work with to be engaged and participate, to have a sense of belonging and creating, and to share ownership and responsibility. Combined, learning is created that has dynamic sustainability: it will continue to develop after the learning community has formerly dissolved. Said differently, in my experience the learning process invites opportunity for continuous reflection on how we think concerning our world and our participation in constructing it, how we think of ourselves and others and how we want to live differently in our relationships and in our world.


(1) Anderson, 1998, 2000; Anderson & Goolishian, 1991; Anderson & Swim, 1993; Astin, 1985; Bonwell & Eison, 1991; Bosworth & Hamilton, 1994; Bruffee, 1983; Freire, 1970; McNamee, 2007; Shotter, Golub, 1988; Goodsell, Maher, Tinto, Smith & MacGregor, 1992; Johnson & Holubec, 1990; Kuh, 1990; Mezirow, 1978; Mezirow & Associates, 2000; Peters & Armstrong, 1998; Slavin, 1990; Weiner, 1986

(2) Anderson, 1998, 2000; Anderson & Goolishian, 1991; Anderson & London, 2011, a, b; Anderson & Swim, 1993 


Apply today!  Application deadline extended to August 1st.

This new program is a 2-year, online learning program designed to deepen the theory and practice of relational leading through course content and teaching practices.

This program introduces ideas and practices at the forefront of organizational studies, and integrates workplace experience into class discussions. The courses focus on:

  • The social construction of realities, values, and reason
  • Systemic and relational process
  • Collaborative practices in the workplace and society
  • Relational and appreciative leading
  • Relevant research practices

The courses prepare participants to work with faculty members in conducting original research relevant to their professional development.


If you or anyone you know might be interested in learning more about this program visit:  


We have been conducting a series of webinars on Relational Leading. You can access the recordings of these webinars on this webpage:  


To register, visit:


More workshops will be listed soon.


For details and a listing of more workshops, visit our website.

Taos Institute Europe Workshops and Events:


First International Conference on Collaborative Research:  

Collaborative Practices for Individual and Social Change

We have an online community space dedicated to continuing the conversation about the conference. You may view the videos of the keynote talks, ask a question, share a highlight from the conference, and stay connected with others who are interested in going beyond the therapeutic state to one where drugs and diagnosis are not the norm.

Videos of Keynotes:

Join the conversation:


clinical supervision
By Glenn Boyd, Ph.D.

You Are Not Alone: A Student's Guide to Clinical Supervision is surprisingly frank, funny, and encouraging. It urges beginning students to be proactive and engaged in the clinical supervision process without apology and without fear to combat the normal anxiety that comes with learning to be a clinical practitioner. It also encourages training programs to offer beginning students an orientation to supervision as soon as possible after they enter the program. It outlines the importance of the clinical supervision relationship while introducing key elements in the contemporary practice of supervision including a novel emphasis on collaborative learning communities, the results of common factors research, and the emerging importance of core competencies.

Order at:
WorldShare Books WorldShare Books 
Free Download Books


Sharing Ideas and Practices From Around the World


The Taos Institute offers free-of-charge books for downloading to your computer or favorite reader. Our ultimate aim is to offer books in all languages. Like all the Taos Institute Publications, WorldShare Books represent significant contributions relevant to social constructionist theory and practice. More books are being added all the time. Check it out!  

All books are available in PDF format. Visit WorldShare Books

International Certificate Collaborative Practices is an international learning community and network. 


Sponsored by Taos Institute and Houston Galveston Institute


To find a program in your part of the world, take a look at:


The Taos Institute's mission is to bring together scholars and practitioners concerned with the social processes essential for the construction of reason, knowledge, and human value.

We are committed to exploring, developing and disseminating ideas and practices that promote creative, appreciative and collaborative processes in families, communities and organizations around the world through a social constructionist lens.

We look forward to your participation in the dialogue.


Dawn Dole, Executive Director
The Taos Institute

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