TLA Classes

We offer online classes to help you deepen your understanding of Transformative Language Arts, explore the craft of various genres and arts related to TLA, and develop your livelihood, community work, and service related to TLA.

Designed and taught by leading teachers, transformative language artists and activists, and master facilitators (want to be one of them?), these classes offer you ample opportunities to grow your art of words, your business and service, and your conversation with your life work.

The online nature of the classes allows you to participate from anywhere in the world (provided you have internet access) at any time of the day while, at the same time, the intimate and welcoming atmosphere of the classes helps students find community, inspiration, and greater purpose.

All classes include hands-on activities (writing, storytelling, theater, spoken word, visual arts,music and/or other prompts), plus great resources, readings, and guidance.

Enrollment Cost

Classes are priced by the number of weeks they run. Members pay $35/week, non-members pay $40/week. Most classes run for 6 weeks, so members would pay $210 and non-members would pay $240.

NOTE: When there is a sale, the class page only displays the non-member discounted price. If you are a member, it will show the member discount once you start the registration process.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

Cancellations: A nonrefundable fee of 10% is included in each registration. No cancellations after the class begins. In the case of extenuating circumstances, please contact us.

Low Enrollment Cancellations: Classes that do not meet a minimum enrollment may be canceled a minimum of 3 days prior to the first class meeting with full refunds for all registrants.

Incomplete: Students seeking certification in TLA Foundations who cannot complete a class due to extenuating circumstances may be granted a discounted registration on the next available offering of that class. To be eligible for the discount students must communicate their circumstance to the teacher as soon as possible.

Gift Certificates

Want to purchase a class for a very lucky someone, but not sure which one they'd be most excited about? Get them a gift certificate that they can redeem for the class of their dreams! Here's how it goes:

  1. Click on the button to the right -- you'll be taken to a PayPal page (NOTE: You must have a PayPal account to purchase a gift certificate.)
  2. Enter your name, the receiver's name and email, and a personal message (if you want). You have the choice to have PayPal email it for you, or you can print it out and include it in a card.
  3. Purchase the gift certificate. Your special someone will receive a redemption code with their gift certificate and can use it to enroll in a class of their choosing! (NOTE: Only non-member rates are available for gift certificates. If the receiver of the gift certificate is a member of the TLA Network, they will get the discount and then have credit to go towards something else -- score for them!)

Upcoming Classes

    • 01 Mar 2017
    • 11 Apr 2017
    • Online

    This thorough introduction to Transformative Language Arts (TLA) encompasses the personal and the global, the contemporary and the historic, and how TLA can be practiced through writing, storytelling, performance, song, and collaborative, expressive and integrated arts. Each week includes short readings, a lively discussion, and invigorating writing prompts to help you articulate more of your own TLA callings.

    Participants should plan on spending 3-5 hours on class assignments each week. We will also have two 40-minute conference calls (time to be determined in concert with everyone’s schedules), at the beginning and end of the class, to get to know one another and discuss questions and topics voice-to-voice. Every week includes website to visit and engage with, whether that engagement be simply perusing a site and learning about a movement, organization, watching a video or listening to a podcast. Weekly writing prompts give you room to work and play through what you know, are coming to know, and how this knowledge cross-pollinates with what you do and who you are.

    This class is also required for TLA Foundations Certification.

    To order a copy of The Power of Words: A TLA Reader (required text for class), please scroll down.

    Week by Week

    Week One: TLA history, fields and traditions

    An overview of theory and practice, including genres, arts and community practices, ethics, and your own values informing your TLA. Explore TLA in many forms–from poetry therapy to social change theater to healing storytelling–and share what ignites your soul and work.

    Week Two: TLA in Service: health, healing, spirituality, and personal growth.

    We’re explore how TLA can help people find their way home through health or emotional crises or wounds, spiritual callings, and many manner of personal growth. Starting with the personal, and recognizing how the personal is political, we look at ways in which TLA can foster health, healing, and homecoming, and also some of our cultural biases and blindnesses about such directions.

    Week Three: TLA as Catalyst: community, culture, history, and social change.

    We’ll look at TLA in relation to community-building, culture-shifting, history-revisioning, and social change, and particularly explore what it means and can mean to be part of various communities.

    Week Four:  TLA and Right Livelihood: Ways to Make a Living and a Life.

    What are our callings for how we make a living and how we live a life? We’ll dive into how TLA intersects with our life’s work (whether that work relates to a paycheck, volunteering, or other aspects of our life), and develop plans for where we’re led to go.

    Week Five: TLA in Action: Facilitation, Consulting, Collaboration, Coaching and More.

    Looking at the ethics of our work, art, and community involvement, we’ll discuss and write about the specific forms of TLA we do and want to do.

    Week Six: TLA and You: Plans, Visions, and Maps.

    Deepening our plans for the work, art, and community-making ahead, we’ll clarify what’s right for us to pursue next, what support and tools we need along the way, and the future envision.

    Who Should Take This Class

    This class is ideal for a wide variety of people, including professionals who want to infuse TLA into their teaching, counseling, pastoral work, arts collaboration, and community work; writers, storytellers, performers and other artists who want to develop their facilitation of writing, songwriting, expressive arts, drama therapy and community theater, collaborative arts, storytelling, and integrated arts; and perspective or current students or alumni of TLA studies.


    This is an online class. Each week, a new week will open full of resources, reflections, discussion questions, and writing prompts. Students should expect to spend 3-5 hours per week perusing resources and readings, answering a discussion question, engaging in several writing prompts, and responding to peers’ work. From our interactions, we sustain a welcoming and inspiring community together.

    Required Text: The Power of Words: A Transformative Language Arts Reader, edited by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Janet Tallman. You can purchase the text on Amazon.

    About the Teacher

    Joanna Tebbs Young is a Writer and Transformative Writing Facilitator and Coach. She holds a Masters degree in Transformative Language Arts from Goddard College and is a certified instructor through the Center for Journal Therapy. Joanna writes weekly columns for two local newspapers and offers workshops at her writing center in Rutland, VT. Her blog and coaching information can be found at

    Read TLA Founder Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s article, “Why I’m a Transformative Language Artist” in Huffington Post.

    • 01 Mar 2017
    • 11 Apr 2017
    • Online

    We all take, save, and inherit photographs of the people, places, and things that bring meaning, mystery, hope, and connection into our lives. These treasured personal archives will be the source of inspiration for writing as a means of restoring meaning, purpose, hope, and resilience during and after loss. Expressive writing prompted by personally chosen photos can help loved ones cope with what Pauline Boss calls the “ambiguous loss,” associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

    In this course, we’ll use expressive writing, in poetry and prose, to help build resilience, restore meaning and purpose, and honor and celebrate relationships through legacy stories. TLA practitioners and writers at all levels of experience will imaginatively encounter personal photos sparked by questions that generate remarkable and uplifting writing experiences.

    Objectives & Goals:

    1.    Participants will use personal photos as prompts for creative writing -  poetry, memoir, or stories that capture the personalities, relationships, rites of passage, cultural identity, and family history evoked by personal photos.  

    2.   Participants will recognize the healing aspects of storytelling from photos to build resilience and restore a sense of meaning, purpose, and value to life after loss.

    3.   Participants will use photos to probe and preserve memories, find purpose and meaning amidst loss and change, and express truth and beauty from relationships after loss.

    4.   Participants will explore the expressive benefits of writing from landscape and nature photos to connect with aspects of spirituality, safety, comfort, beauty, and transcendence.

    5.    TLA practitioners we will explore specific applications in your work with individuals and groups, such as coping with memory loss, Alzheimer’s, and dementia, and the healing power of telling end-of-life or legacy stories.

    Week by Week

    Week One: Entering the Three-Dimensional World of Photographs to Stimulate Meaning, Surprise, Delight, and Possibility

    Week Two: Embracing The Imaginative Wonder of Exploring Role Reversal & Altered Point of View in Photos

    Week Three: Writing Truth & Beauty – Telling Relationship Histories, Exploring Significant Rites of Passages, and Recognizing Gifts that Keep On Giving

    Week Four: Exploring Nature, Landscape, & Favorite Places Photos to Stimulate Curiosity, Spirituality, Comfort, Relief, & Aesthetic Satisfaction & Transcendence

    Week Five: Crafting & Revision: Developing Your Raw Material (Exploring forms, including Portraits, Essays, Poems, Monologues, [Unsent] Letters, Dialogues, and Creative List-Making)

    Week Six: Applications for TLA Artists, Writers, and Loved Ones – Ways to Share The Healing Power of Generating Legacy Stories from Photos

    Who Should Take This Class

    This course will serve writers and TLA practitioners at all levels of experience, as well as anyone interested in personal and artistic development.  Professionals and para-professionals who work with memory challenged seniors, as well as family members of those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s, and caretakers of those with memory challenges, will find dynamic creative outlets for personal and professional development. Writers and artists with an interest in exploring the healing aspects of personal photos may also be quite interested.


    This is an online class with (optional) weekly video-conference. Each weekly “workshop” posted online will consist of engaging content designed to spark personal reflection, sharing, discussion, and dynamic writing to be shared in the group forum online. Each week, participants will (1) upload at least one personal photo to share with others that they will use as the foundation of their weekly writing exploration; (2) review writing in progress of classmates and respond & reflect in discussion forum; (3) be invited to participate in a (recommended but optional) live Zoom video-conference presentation and discussion (these will be recorded and posted for others).

    Participants should expect to spend 3 hours or so on the weekly writing prompt, revisions, reading and commenting on the work of others, viewing and participating in live discussion, and sharing works in progress live. We’ll create a safe and supportive environment, offering respectful support that inspires the development of every writer’s voice.

    About the Teacher

    Kelly DuMar, M.Ed. is a playwright and poet who facilitates Writing Truth & Beauty workshops across the US, including The Mass. Poetry Festival, The International Women’s Writing Guild, The Power of Words Conference, Southern Writers Conference, and Winter Wheat Conference. Her poems are published in many literary magazines and her award-winning poetry chapbook, All These Cures, was published by Lit House Press in 2014. Kelly’s award winning plays have been produced around the US and Canada, and are published by dramatic publishers. Kelly is a certified psychodramatist and former psychotherapist. She founded and produces the Our Voices Festival of Women Playwrights at Wellesley College, now in its 10th year, and she moderates, Let’s Talk TLA, a bi-monthly tele-conference and poetry open mic for members of the Transformative Language Arts Association. Kelly serves on the board & faculty of The International Women’s Writing Guild. Her upcoming poetry chapbook, Tree of the Apple, about her father’s Alzheimer’s, will be published soon by Two of Cups Press. You can learn more about Kelly, her nature photography and writing at her website,


    • 19 Apr 2017
    • 30 May 2017
    • Online

    As TLA practitioners, we might find ourselves frequently encountering issues that are considered "problems." The word transformation suggests that something needs to change (and we rarely change something if it is going along swimmingly).

    What if we asked the question, “What’s right with this picture?” How might TLA theories and practices help us deepen our understanding of what is working and use that to foster transformation(s)? How might a strength-based perspective alter the way we design or facilitate TLA offerings?

    This 6-week course looks at TLA theories and practices, as defined in the Goddard College graduate program, from the perspective of joyful inquiry. Using articles, poetry, visuals, and music, we will explore ways to broaden our concept of individual and community transformation.

    Discussions and writing will emerge from texts available online, as well as from the anthology Transformative Language Arts in Action (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) co-edited by Ruth Farmer and Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg.

    Week by Week

    Week 1: Core Values and Community Building

    We will consider the values and theories that shape TLA as a profession. Discussions of our current and/or developing TLA practices will offer a way to become acquainted as a learning community. We will explore the value of using a strengths-based approach to understand individual, community, or organizational issues. We will focus on terms we often take for granted, such as “transformation,” “empowerment,” and “social change.”

    Week 2: Transformation as Creative Process

    As TLA practitioners, we are committed to exploring strengths and challenges, to better understand the processes we may incorporate to create change. How do we collaborate with individuals and communities so that they define their own issues? How does such collaboration enhance creative problem solving? How does beginning with a person’s (or community’s) assets shift the ways in which we design activities intended to foster transformation?

    Week 3: The Power of Culture

    This week, we consider the meaning(s) and impact of “culture” and whether we have (or need) a common framework from which to explore problems and solutions. How might our understanding of cultural implications influence our perception of power and power dynamics? How might privileging spoken, written, or sung words limit the ways in which we understand and/or embrace communities?

    Week 4: Models of Facilitation and Leadership

    We will examine a spectrum of facilitation and leadership styles. Assessing which ones resonate with us and which are problematic (and why) might expand our knowledge and resources. Students are encouraged to bring in examples from their own experiences as facilitators and participants.

    Week 5: Returning to You

    We will consider how learning more about the theoretical underpinnings of TLA has facilitated a better understanding of ourselves as practitioners and the communities we serve. We will revisit theories, readings, and resources from previous weeks to assess them and find ways to contribute to the larger conversation(s) / bodies of knowledge that comprise our areas of interest. This exploration will prepare us to demonstrate newly acquired learning / techniques, which we will share during Week 6.

    Week 6: Bringing it All Together

    Incorporating what we have learned from previous weeks, we will share some aspect of our practices, focusing on shifts that have occurred and deepened our understanding of TLA principles, theories, and practices.

    Who Should Take This Class

    Anyone interested in exploring multiple approaches to facilitating dialogues, particularly about difficult issues such as race and class: Teachers, clergy, coaches, workshop facilitators, and others seeking strengths-based approaches to talking about and achieving individual, group, or community transformation. The course readings will emerge from Transformative Language Arts in Action, and we will explore TLA theories as a foundation for our own joyful inquiries. For this reason, those who are seeking certification in TLA foundations would benefit.


    This is an online course. Students should expect to spend 3-5 hours per week reading, writing, and responding to each other on the discussion forums. We may schedule 1-2 group video / phone conferences.

    About the Teacher

    Ruth Farmer is an essayist, poet, fiction writer, editor, and writing coach. Ruth’s work appears in journals and anthologies. Her most recent publication is Transformative Language Arts in Action, which she co-edited with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg. Ruth directs the Goddard Graduate Institute; is a faculty member at the Community College of Vermont; and owns Farmer Writing and Editing, which offers coaching, editing, and writing services. Ruth lives in Bristol, Vermont.
    • 19 Apr 2017
    • 30 May 2017
    • Online

    “...I came to explore the wreck.
    The words are purposes.
    The words are maps.
    I came to see the damage that was done
    and the treasures that prevail.
    I stroke the beam of my lamp
    slowly along the flank
    of something more permanent
    than fish or weed.”

    Diving into the Wreck, Adrienne Rich

    Drawing from readings, spiritual traditions, songs, poems, performances, oral traditions, and more, this class will dive deep into our longings, our dreams, and our experiences to mine our past as we examine, question, and release habitual thoughts and patterns in order to emerge, shining and bright with the treasure of our deepest self. 

    In this six-week course, we will begin with a foundational question, “What is story?” How does story move past memory and moment to embody a universal truth through the personal experience? We will focus on inspiration, imagination, story development, and craft as well as spoken word performance considerations. The class will balance listening, reflecting, crafting, and sharing. Our intent is to deepen awareness of the power stories play in personal and universal transformation and to fall into expression of life’s pleasures and pains.

    Week by Week

    Week One: What is a Story?  

    In third grade we were told a story has a beginning, a middle and an end, characters, a setting, a problem and a solution. While a story may contain these elements it is not what a story truly is. There is more. What is the more?  This question and seeking will guide our first week together as we try to understand the depth and possibility of story writing and performance.

    Week Two: The Story Map — Finding the Tale

    This week focuses on seeing the overarching themes in our life and the stories we have to share. We look at the overview of our experience in order to identify the specific stories that speak to our unique life.

    Week Three: Embodying the Story

    Stories live in words that create pictures in the mind of the listener and reader. This week we will focus on creating strong and striking images within our short story works that make us sit up and wonder as we utilize words to embody a story.

    Week Four: Walk a Mile in Another’s Shoes

    This week we look at our personal short stories through the eyes of “another.” What can we learn by seeing our experience through another person’s values and viewpoints? How can we deepen our experience by distancing ourselves from it? Compassion, understanding, perspective and transformation become available when we turn the prism of experience and see it through another lens.

    Week Five: Witness and Wonder

    In week five we practice voicing and witnessing the pieces of one another as we ask two simple questions: what did you notice and what did you wonder? These two reflective questions take us out of judgment and into our own curiosity.

    Week Six: Sharing Our Work

    In this final week we share the stories we have created and ask how these pieces have transformed our relationship to our creativity, identity, and beliefs? How does writing and the spoken word transform us? How can we bring this forward in our work in the future with one another?

    Who Should Take This Class

    This class is suited for writers and/or storytellers, healing arts professionals, clergy, teachers, and songwriters. No previous experience is needed. 


    This is an online course. Students should expect to spend 3-5 hours per week reading, writing, and responding to each other on the discussion forums. We may schedule 1-2 group video / phone conferences.

    Required Text: Your Mythic Journey: Finding Meaning in Your Life Through Writing and Storytelling by Sam Keen and Anne Valley-Fox. Tarcher Publisher, 1989

    About the Teacher

    Regi Carpenter is an award winning storyteller, author, and performance coach. Regi has toured her solo shows internationally to China, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Mexico. Her new memoir “Where There’s Smoke, There’s Dinner: stories of a seared childhood” has just been published by Familius Publishing. Regi holds a BFA from Ithaca College where she currently teaches storytelling. Her performance piece Snap! won the 2012 Boston StorySlam. Snap! is a featured Listen story on The Moth website. She is currently working on a new book of stories for therapists to use with grieving clients.

    See some of Regi’s videos here.
    Visit Regi’s youtube channel here.

"The Transformative Language Arts Network" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Kansas, P.O. Box 442633, Lawrence, KS 66044

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