Relational Context of Teaching

Instruction and learning in space and time


How has your community contributed to your learning – or has it?

The first week of the semester and my online students are entering into my pedagogical world. For most, if not all, my world is foreign and strange, which in turns leads to stress and chaos. Common comments I have received is “my other classes don’t do this,” …

Studies have shown that online students expect online classes to be easy, to fit into their busy lives  neatly, that a life that is balance should continue on with no change.

My “A” students, the ones who always have worked hard to earn their “A” are confused why their well hewed approach is not ending in the same outcome. Fear, shock, the dismay of receiving less than an A has put many into a tailspin.

In this article, it states, “When teachers try something different in the classroom and students resist, the teacher may back down. Often, this is due to fear of what will happen to their student evaluations and contract renewals. I have been told by many instructors that they once tried active learning but the students hated it, so they went back to what was tried and true” (Silverthorn, 2006, p. 139). Importantly, research evidence suggests that high levels of instructor immediacy may be inversely related to student resistance in a classroom, as well as being positively correlated with student learning (Kearney et al., 1988; Kelley and Gorham, 1988). One study of the relationship between student resistance and instructor immediacy found that students were significantly more likely to comply with instructor requests from a moderate or highly immediate instructor than requests from a low-immediacy instructor (Burroughs, 2007). Alternatively, Richard Felder provides what he calls “mini-sermons” to help explain to students why he uses the teaching strategies he does, including responses he has used to address student complaints (Felder, 2007).

(link) The more common concern of most instructors is student resistance that is destructive in nature, behaviors that limit the learning of the students themselves and potentially other students around them. The dreaded Appeal to Powerful Others, which would involve threats to take student complaints about a course to an authority figure, such as a chair or a dean. Finally, a third potential origin of student resistance that bears exploring is students’ prior experiences in and resulting expectations about college classrooms. Just like faculty, students enter classrooms with extensive personal experiences that lead them to have preconceived expectations about what teaching and learning should entail. In Brownell and Tanner (2012), we explored four barriers that may impede faculty members from implementing innovative pedagogies. the reality may be that some students view high grades, minimal effort, and ease of completion as motivating incentives in their college course work. As such, students may not immediately see the external incentives and rewards they will accrue by participating in active-teaching and active-learning approaches.

Practice Instructor Immediacy—Decrease Social Distance between Yourself and Your Students

Be Explicit with Students about the Reasoning behind Your Pedagogical Choices


When I first became a online educator

In a previous post, I summed up what I learned in my first online teaching experience. Now I have taught online for three years AND I am still learning the craft of online teaching. I concur with Garrison & Cleveland-Innes that as an online in instructor I must be mindful of the  “contextual factors such as workload and time constraints, the opportunity for metacognition, the shift of learning management to the students themselves, and instructor explanation, enthusiasm, and empathy” (p.138) for the development of deep learning in my course.

Pedagogically, I have settled on four main theories that guides my practice:

The Community of Inquiry is a praxis framework that “represents a process of creating a deep and meaningful (collaborative-constructivist) learning experience through the development of three interdependent elements – social, cognitive and teaching presence” (Community of Inquiry).  Swan and Ice (2010) explain that the CoI theoretical model helps to make “sense of the pedagogy behind online discussion forums [which] assumes that students will work together, not independently as in traditional distance education.

William Glasser’s, ‘Choice Theory’ details five basic human needs of all students and is quite close to Maslow’s Hierarchy, but with some interesting twists.

  1. Survival – support safety and respect
  2. Love and belonging –  create caring learning communities where trust, respect, and tolerance are nurtured. his is the same as Maslow’s Belonging need and recognizes how important it is to be accepted (including their views).
  3. Power – focuses on our ability to achieve our goals and being recognize by others as competent.
  4. Freedom – opportunities for students to make choices about their learning
  5. fun – Real learning, may be work, but it also can be fun. Just watch a small child learn something new. See their excitement, see their joy? Unfortunately, our school may have replaced the fun of learning over time. Try to infuse some humor in the course.

Constructivism is a “life view.” As a constructivist, I encourage  collaborative learning in my courses. I treat my learners as self-directed, creative, and determined.  As a constructivist, I also understand the importance of my learners being actively involved in their learning process. I see my role as a facilitator – a guide on the side. As stated in Wikipedia, this theory applied to adult learners in higher education is associated with high order learning of mature learners, androgogy or heutagogy.

According to Stephen Downes in his blog, “At its heart, connectivism is the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks. Knowledge, therefore, is not acquired, as though it were a thing. It is not transmitted, as though it were some type of communication.” He continues, “In connectivism, a phrase like ‘constructing meaning’ makes no sense. Connections form naturally, through a process of association, and are not ‘constructed’ through some sort of intentional action…This implies a pedagogy that (a) seeks to describe ‘successful’ networks (as identified by their properties, which I have characterized as diversity, autonomy, openness, and connectivity) and (b) seeks to describe the practices that lead to such networks, both in the individual and in society.” Unlike George Siemens and Stephen Downes, I do see learning as a process of constructing meaning and connectivism as one tool.

I couldn’t multi-task like this gentleman, so I thought it would be fun to see his conversation on connectivism.

Garrison, D.R., and Cleveland-Inned, M. “Faciltating cognitive presence in online learning: Interaction is not enough.” The American Journal of Distance Education 19.3 (2005): 133-148.

Swan, K. & and Ice, P. (2010). The Community of Inquiry framework ten years later: introduction to the special issue. Internet and Higher Education, 13(1-2), 1-4


Why reinvent the wheel, when there is already a wheel out there?


Donna DesBiens states in her blog that “learning is vulnerability” then shares an article by George Siemens, who notes: When we learn, we make ourselves vulnerable. When we engage in learning, we communicate that we want to grow, to become better, to improve ourselves…When a student posts an opinion in a discussion forum or when someone offers a controversial opinion – these are vulnerability-inducing expressions. On a smaller scale, posting a tweet, sharing an image, or speaking into the void can be intimidating for a new user.  As an online educator I am well aware how many of my students struggle with this vulnerability, especially with the knowledge that their efforts will be evaluated by their instructor. However most students push forward and it leads me to think of a quote from Mark David Milliron who wrote:

It all begins with a choice – an incredibly courageous choice. You choose to try, to walk through the open doors of our college and begin. You make this choice again and again as you take each step along the journey. You choose to stay, to engage, to give it your best. This choice can and will change your life forever. All because you have the courage to learn.


Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is  rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting. – Ivan Illich

Presently, in an online course that I am facilitating this semester, I grapple with my students being overwhelm with connecting this class also with ILT TOOC offered by Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness (GMCTE) at the University of Saskatchewan. As we begin, though I am trying to move slowly and scaffold our connectivity, many of my students are feeling confused. Mattias, from RydSmålandSweden (I love these international connections!) feels that student confusion arises from a sense of not being in control or fear of failure.

As Stephen Downes shares in an interview, acquiring knowledge is not an object, but a “re-shaping…growing…development…and becoming a certain type of person.” As an instructor of online pedagogy I am facilitating the development of online educators. Seeing learning as doing, and in order to teach 21st century online teaching, I believe it is necessary to immerse my class into a connectivist teaching environment. I now realize that the problem of this type of environment is a lack of learner coherence (the situation in which all the parts of something fit together well) in what they perceive as a fragmented environment. A common paradigm of an online course is a body of content in an LMS. However, I agree with Stephen Downes, who perceives that “knowledge is found in the connections between people with each other and that learning is the development and traversal of those connections… [therefore] you can’t just offer a body of content in an LMS and call it a course”(p.27) (To develop an understanding of Connectivism, go to this archive MOOC).


jpg-albert-einstein-education-quotes-anyone-who-has-never-made-a-mistake-has-never-tried-anything-newCourage isn’t absence of fear, it is the awareness that something else is important ― Stephen R. Covey,

According to Terry Heick, “connectivity occurs through crowd sourced knowledge (e.g., Quora, Wikipedia, learnist), visually through curation (e.g., scoopit, pinterest, MentorMob), and long-term through digital communities (e.g., twitter, Google+, Facebook)”. However, I wonder if my students with low prior knowledge of learning through the process of connectivity are disadvantaged due to cognitive overload? It is important to consider students’ cognitive load and cognitive capacity when planning. As I listen to my students’ twitter feed, I realize that some have reached their cognitive capacity (saturated).

So here are some suggestions to my students to desaturation:

  1. Scan our textbook and choose segments that you feel are significant.
  2. Recognize when “good, is good enough” when it comes to postings.
  3. Chunk the course over a series of days, to manageable goals and outcomes. (Cramming leads to stress and cognitive overload.)
  4. Balance your life with the “power of personal effectiveness”. As Stephen Covey states: It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busy-ness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall. It is possible to be busy – very busy – without being very effective.


Another difficultly is aligning my modules and the TOOC’s weekly assignments. It would be much easier using an archived course, but then we would not benefit in the wider conversations that are possible participating live. No longer are my students limited to one discipline, one school, or one nationality of students. I hope that they will develop relationship with this wide context, which in turn will expand their personal learning networks.


fish our of waterI began this blog with the idea of vulnerability in learning. May I suggest that risk taking in teaching is also a vulnerable circumstance. In fact, I believe that those of us who are involved in e-learning/m-learning are required to take risks every semester as the tools and opportunities evolve constantly. According to Weshley Fryer, “The creative process  is all about being willing to take risks, fail, and learn from those mistakes as we try again.”

It took a leap of faith and courage for me to try this new addition to this course, a risk of stressed students and poor student evaluation. However, I believe in the potential for notable rewards – greater depth and breathe of learning and engagement. Sometimes we need to leave the safe and familiar path.




A TOOC-ing I will go…

learningMy newest endeavor as an online learner and educator is to participate in my first TOOC (Truly Open Online Course) from the the University of Saskatchewan. Introduction to Learning Technologies (#ilt_usask) is facilitated by Heather Ross and her colleagues from the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness (GMCTE). I have dabbled with MOOCs, and found the massiveness too impersonal for my needs. Pages and pages of posts that felt like an explosion of conversations without a focused, unifying conversation. I had questions about the material and no one seemed interested enough in my mustering. I wanted to learn deeply, but my professional obligations did not give me the time I needed.

The conversation with John Boyer of Virginia Tech had some interesting points. I choose to speak about his idea that teaching online is a risk taking enterprise and being a teacher is “all an evolution.”  As part of my “evolution,” I am trying to meld my online class Pedagogy and Technology of Online Teaching class with this TOOC, to expand our class’s horizons. I hope that my students will find this TOOC an enriching learning experience.

As an online educator, I am constantly learning and trying to stay ahead of my students in the use of web 2.0 tools. I am ashamed to admit that I had to relearn using twitter. I found it is not like riding a bike for me. I had to search out articles and videos to relearn what I knew three years ago. So this course will help me know more and do more. I also hope to learn from the pedagogy of the educators who have graciously opened this online course for people like me and my students.

Here is my introduction I use with my online students.





digital-business-cardMy class just finished a module on their digital footprint. Many, like myself in the past, did not think much about their digital footprint and their professional lives. I saw social media as a tool for just the social and I now realize it is so much more. In the past six months, I have thought about my own digital footprint and how I want to present myself online. I consider my digital footprint as my global business card and of course I want to put my “best foot” forward.

In his new book, Net Smart: How to Thrive Online (2012), Howard Rheingold writes, “… whether or not we do anything about it, the webbed world is full of information about us that is provided by other people, including their opinions about us—the fact of life we know as reputation.”  Rachel Zupek in her blog states: “Not only has the use of the Internet, social networking sites, blogs and other new media skyrocketed in recent years; all of these things have revolutionized the job search.”  Christina shared in our discussion forum:  a quote from Diana Graber, “Employers are increasingly conducting digital background checks on applicants before entrusting them with jobs. Today our digital footprint is our new first impression, and it starts taking shape the minute we go online.”  Adrianne shares a study, Build a Digital Footprint You Can Be Proud Of states, “In 2009, 45 percent of employers used social networking sites to research candidates, according to a CareerBuilder survey, a 23 percent increase from last year. Thirty-five percent of employers said that what they found caused them not to hire a candidate.” So we must claim, enrich, and protect our digital footprint!

Cassandra shares in our discussion forum a quote in Forbes “By claiming your web presence, you’re protected from other people, with the same name, claiming it before you. You also gain control over how you’re perceived online, and thus what employers find out about you when they conduct their search.”  Craig Badura has created a Digital Citizenship Survival Kit which he has invited educators to share.  The most important point is for us to strain out the possible bad stuff.  How to Clean up Your Online Presence and Make a Great First Impression gives detailed instructions for the beginner and beyond.  The steps include:

  1. Find Out Where You Stand
  2.   Beef Up Your Online Presence with Better Profiles, a Nameplate Site, and More
  3. Keep Your Best Foot Forward

 Many students shared this quote, according to Henry (2012),”While turning up nothing means no one will find anything bad, it also means they won’t learn anything good about you, and that can be pretty bad too.”  The challenge is to balance our need for privacy and developing a personal digital business card.

So this semester, along with my students, I am going to develop a footprint that presents the “best me”. Our first assignment is to develop a professional online profile by the end of this module. Yes, mine needs work! I found this link which help me plan: How to Create Effective and Professional Online Profiles. The steps they outline are:

1.       Establish your expertise

2.       Captivate your audience

3.       Write outside the box

4.       Right size

5.       Write robust headlines

6.       Don’t oversell


Open Educational Resources

oer_commons_square_smallerThere’s a lot more to the internet than Google and Wikipedia when it comes to learning. In the last few years there has been an open resource movement, which enables you to learn from professors from top universities around the world. Open Educational Resources (OER)  “ is, at its core, about free [no cost] and open sharing… which refers to the use of legal tools (open licenses) that give everyone permission to reuse and modify educational resources.”

From Wikipedia I learned that William and Flora Hewlett Foundation define Open Educational Resources (OER) as: “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge”. The OER movement originated from developments in open and distance learning (ODL) and in the wider context of a culture of open knowledge, open source, free sharing and peer collaboration, which emerged in the late 20th century.”

In 2005, MIT formed the OpenCourseWare Consortium that partnered with other universities to bring free education to the masses via the internet. Most courses, under open licenses, offer free audio or video lectures. The Consortium self describes itself as a “worldwide community of hundreds of higher education institutions and associated organizations committed to advancing open education, seeking to engender a culture of openness in education to allow everyone, everywhere to access the education they desire, while providing a shared body of knowledge and best practices that can be drawn upon for innovative and effective approaches.”

I personally have enjoyed using OERs. As a lifelong learner with diverse interests, I can develop deeper knowledge on a whole array of topic from cooking to trying to learn statistics. OERs have enabled me to draw ideas from around the world to engage my students and help them learn discipline concepts that they may feel challenging

Recently, I have started taking Massive open online courses (mooc) and am using an open online course to enrich my own online course. I have collected a series of articles about moocs on my scoop-it page. Please feel free to check it out.MOOC_poster_



The power of blogging

How does blogging add to your learning?… at


Another Year Wiser

“We convince by our presence”

 ~Walt Whitman

 Once again I am facilitating an online course, Pedagogy and Technology of Online Learning. This week the discussion has been around building community. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I found this wonderful slideshare by Jackie Gerstein, Building Community in Online learning classes. To summarize some key points:

 Students with a strong sense of community are more likely:

 Ø  be academically motivated

 Ø  develop social and emotional competencies

 Ø  facilitates collaborative learning

I find as an online instructor that I am always learning and pushing my limits to be present for my students and to encourage their cognitive and social presence, so that we may build a community of learners. Yet there are always a few students who never seem to get it. Some fall to the wayside and others continue ignoring my formative assessments and the class rubrics. As a facilitator of learning, I wonder what I might do better to engage these students. Just today, I came upon a new element of the CoI framework that I apply in my online classes.


Adenis Raga

Adenis Raga

Through my PLN (personal learning network), I was introduced to a final draft of new study by Shea, Hayes, et al. that has expanded the CoI framework to include learner presence. I believe this further completes this framework by taking into account student agency and control (their meta-cognitive, motivational, and behavioral traits and activities) in an online environment. (Here is a slideshare presented at the SLN ID RoundTable session at SUNY CIT 2010 in Plattsburgh, NY.) I will further reflect upon learner presence, and the literature on student efficacy that informs this presence, to further engage the students that have not responded well to my courses.



Cognitive Presence

Nicole will ask herself a question that I often ask: Are my students exploring and integrating new information to complete the task or solve the problem? In other words, are they absorbed and active in constructing meaning, adding to and modifying their mental scheme?

According to Garrison, Anderson & Archer (2001),  cognitive presence reflects the individual’s private and reflective world juxtaposed with the community’s shared world of discourse. My purpose for the online discussions is  to engage students cognitively and support strong cognitive presence.  Wang and Chen aver  to  promote cognitive  presence, learners should feel free to take risks to achieve  learning outcome.

world wide web

© alles-schlumpf




Dr. Boettcher summarizes the two key elements that expand the concept of cognitive presence: (1) the goal of individual learners’ constructing meaning and (2) sustained communication among a community of learners. She continues, this means a shift from “lecturing and telling” to questioning, probing and open inquiry. This also suggests the importance of designing reflecting and thinking time within a course. This is why in my course design,  I do not require a module’s first posting until 3-4 days after the module begins. It is a time for the students to construct meaning by researching (thus interacting) with a world wide web community of those engage with the same topic. What some erroneously perceive as a student working alone, is actually a student interacting through the written pages of others’ thoughts.


In the CoI framework, cognitive presence is seen as consisting of the four phases of practical inquiry.
The process  of inquiry in my courses involve  *three of Swan, Garrison,  & Richardson (2009) four phases:

  • *Triggering event — Developing connect and do activities that arouses and sustains interest and curiosity stimulated by interaction with others. According to Tene C. Barber this includes: (1)  Sense of puzzlement/dissonance,  perplexing and confusing situation, and  recognizing the problem.
  • *Exploration — the process of both individual reflection by the students and the discourse with the others in our community of inquiry.  Tene C. Barber lists information exchange, research for information, knowledge, alternatives, clarification, orientation. Some of the indicators, according to Dr. Boettcher  that exploration is occurring are divergent ideas, exchange of information, brainstorming, requests for feedback on ideas, etc.
  • *Integration — here ideas crystallize. Dr. Boettcher sees integrations as the process by which the members of the community reflect individually and as a group and then reach some convergences by connecting ideas, identifying relationships and patterns, and proposing solutions. According to Tene C. Barber, integration is the connecting ideas, development of  coherent ideas, concepts, insights and understanding of acquired knowledge. In this course I ask for integration in my students’ meta-cognitive blogs.
  • Resolution — is when learners apply new ideas,  confirmed or continue process of inquiry, and  critically assess solutions (Tene C. Barber). Dr. Boettcher includes when learners defend their resolutions and the thinking that supports them.

Several studies [cited by  Swan, Garrison,  & Richardson (2009)] have found that inquiry revealed in online discussion rarely moves beyond the exploration phase (Kanuka & Anderson, 1998; Luebeck & Bice, 2005; Meyer, 2003; 2004; Murphy, 2004). How does a facilitator move students  to synthesizing and integrating comments to move the group toward shared understanding (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000)?

Dr. Boettcher suggests the following tools and behaviors both by facilitators and students to focus on “meaning” NOT covering the content.

  • Faculty sets high expectations for student inquiry and expectations
  • Faculty examine student responses and probes, challenges, questions encouraging thought and analysis of ideas and content
  • Learners participate thoughtfully in the discussions, responding to content and thoughts and questions from other learners so that a sustained communication occurs.
  • Faculty and students strive to ensure that  the [learning]outcomes are long-lasting and meaningful.

I agree with Dr. Boettcher, that critical thinking needs to be included in a discussion rubric to ensure cognitive presences. She offers a summary of a rubric by Dr. Geraldine O’Neill at the University College/Dublin Centre for Teaching and Learning [that is no longer available online] that has the following outcomes  that a critical thinking  learner will accomplish :

  1. Identifies and summarizes the problem/question at issue
  2. Identifies and presents the students’ own hypothesis, perspective and position as it is important to the analysis of the issue
  3. Identifies and considers other salient perspectives and positions that are important to the analysis.
  4. Identifies and assesses the key assumptions
  5. Identifies and assesses the quality of supporting data/evidence and provides additional data/evidence related to the issue.
  6. Identifies and considers the influence of the context * on the issue.
  7. Identifies and assesses conclusions, implications and consequences

Though this blog has shared research and thoughts on cognitive presence, it has not considered the HOW  teacher work load base on class size AND  student  life  demands  and the available resources the student has to cope with those demands AFFECTS  a person’s cognitive presence.

A penny for your thoughts. I would love to hear your comments.


Boettcher, J.V. (2007). E-Coaching Core Message #51 A Garden of Three Presences – Social Presence, Teaching Presence, and Cognitive Presence, Designing for Learning. Access on July 5, 2012 at

Boettcher, J.V (2006). E-Coaching Tip 27: A rubric for analyzing critical thinking.Designing for Learning. Access on July 5, 2012 at

Barber, T.C. (2011) The Online Crit: The Community of Inquiry Meets Design Education. The Journal of Distance Education 25 (1). Access on July 5, 2012 at

Swan, K., Garrison, D. R. & Richardson, J. C. (2009). A constructivist approach to online learning: the Community of Inquiry framework. In Payne, C. R. (Ed.) Information Technology and Constructivism in Higher Education: Progressive Learning Frameworks. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 43-57


Schooling or Education

Wordle: Online learning

According to Dewey (1933/1998), the problem of teachers is what the minds of pupils are doing with the subject matter (p.275).  However, I believe the first problem of teachers is what Dewey suggested almost eighty years ago, which is  to move students away from their concerns to accommodate the teacher to earn a grade and towards focusing on the problem of the content. In other words, their chief intellectual problem should not be to figure out how they will satisfy the teachers, by asking “is this right?” (ibid. p.61).  Instead I want my students to ask themselves “What is it that I want to learn?” and  “How will I learn?” To rephrase the words of  W. Gardner Campbell  (SUNY-CIT2008 )  I see this course  not about access to information or content; rather, it is an environment that provides access to other thinkers” – their classmates.

Twentieth Century schooling was about amassing information and “covering” the content. However, a quote which has been said in multiple ways by Grant Allen (link) infers that one should not let our schooling interfere with our education.  Dewey (1933/1998) compares schooling and education. He  asserts that schooling creates habits of hasty, heedless glancing over the surface (p.89) ; while education entails habits of questioning, looking at matters deliberately , and being  careful  in the conduct of his [her] thinking (p.76). Schooling is about progressing with the group, “learning” the required age-appropriate content. As students enter my courses, they have been socialized to do what is expected and then move on to the next assignment.  Their expectations are that the syllabus pre-sets the course, clearly defining expectations –my expectations, and outlining how they can earn an “A.”

However, like Diana Laurillard  I believe education is about moving minds (p.5), not amassig information. But how do I move my students’ minds to question and have a desire to seek their own answers?  How do I ignite their organic energy that leads [each student] to investigate everything, [with] an eagerness for a larger acquaintance with the world in which he [she] is placed (Dewey, 1933/1998, pp. 36-37)?

In a previous blog I listed several of my beliefs:

  • I believe we all have unique paths to learning, paths that are determined by where we are and what we need.
  • I believe every learner is as unique as a snowflake.
  • Each student is the master of their own learning.

So I wonder how do I respect these beliefs and still fulfill my obligation to facilitate my students learning? In Creating a quality online learning environment, the author states that the student needs to feel safe and supported, and “where the individual needs and uniqueness is honored.” This means that I must be patient as trust is built among this community. With trust established, maybe some will be willing to take risks, and follow their own questions, sharing their process and conclusions with the rest of this class. I follow the ideas of Clark Quinn, who suggests a learning experience is a succession of activities, not a progression of content.  I will try to create  activities where my  students become learners that  question, investigate, ponder, deliberate, and reflects, which will  move their  mind into intelligent action.

I close with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Parker Palmer in The Courage to Teach,  who writes: “To teach is to create a space in which community of truth is practiced” (p. 90). He describes a community of truth is one that is committed to the conversation, our willingness to put forward our observations and interpretations for testing by the community and to return the favor to others. I hope that this class will be a place that you feel able to participate in a community of truth.

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