Our current economic, political, and social systems are serving fewer and fewer people, not to mention destroying the environment.
I don’t know what a future society will look like, but if it is to meet our human needs better than our current society does, I believe it needs to be formed with certain values in mind.
Fortunately, these values can be taught, not just through stories, songs, dances, and poems about the values, but also through the very processes of telling or creating stories, singing or creating songs, and so on. In other words, our artistic processes themselves can give people experiences that open them to values that are necessary for an improved society.
In this 6-week course, I'll briefly lay out a theory of how values can be influenced, as well as the eight values I’ve chosen as “values of a future society.” I’ll introduce the values one at a time and give examples of processes from storytelling that support each value. Then I’ll help you identify and/or create processes that can give others experiences of each value, from your particular type of transformational language work.
Key to this course is inspiring each other to notice the transformative power of the creative processes. Together, we’ll engage in building an enlarging web of activities that can help people align themselves with currents that, I believe, will help move us toward a more just, supportive, and enlightened society.
Prework: Before the first lesson, I'll ask you to describe briefly the type of transformative language arts work you do (or are interested in doing), so that we can begin to notice the diverse strengths among us.
What are we doing here? The difficulties of thinking about a future society. Eight values to help guide the path.
The three ways it’s possible to influence someone else’s values. Influencing via content versus influencing via process: the advantages and disadvantages of each. Which processes are you familiar with in your own area of practice? Which processes are you drawn to learn more about?
In Lessons 2 through 5, I’ll explain how the processes of storytelling can promote each of the two values introduced in the lesson. Then I'll guide us through an example process for each value. Finally, I’ll help you identify, adapt, and/or create processes from your work than can give your audience or students an implicit experience of the values.
Value #1, "The Power of Listening”
Value #2, “A Predisposition To Compassion,” as opposed to our cultural predisposition to evaluation.
Value #3, “The Importance of Relationships.” How our society systematically discourages us from being truly close to each other and distracts us from the pursuit of connection.
Value #4, “The Efficacy of Openness.” How openness and authenticity make everything else go better.
Value #5, “The Preciousness of Every Human Point of View.” Each human has a unique and valuable perspective and set of experiences.
Value #6, “The Universality of Human Potential.” All humans are capable of learning all human subjects. The destructive fallacy of “talent,” fostered by a society dependent on profit.
Value #7, “The Whole Mind: Conceptual Thinking Plus Image Thinking.” Since the Enlightenment, our view of thinking has been too narrow; it’s time to broaden it.
Value #8, “Emotion’s Dual Role in Thinking.” Emotion is required for thinking, but, at the same time, unhealed emotional hurt can distort our thinking.
Summing up the relationships we’ve explored between processes and values. Are there patterns that emerge from the processes that all the course members identified for each of the eight values?
How can what we’ve done here be carried forward? What does all this teach us about transformative language arts as a field?
Storytellers, fiction writers, narrative poets, songwriters, improvisational singers, dramatists, etc. - all who use language to help people imagine or convey their experience - especially those interested in teaching their art or discipline with an eye toward promoting generative values.
The course will be most helpful to those with enough experience in their work to have already developed some processes for doing and/or teaching their art/discipline. I define transformative language arts broadly. If you think your work might belong here, it likely does!
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. A gentle but clear process allows each participant to work at her/his own pace.
The instructor will also host a live webinar call each week, at a time based on the schedules of the enrolled students. You will be able to attend the calls via computer or via telephone. All calls, including the visuals, will be recorded; the recordings will be available for any class member who needs to miss any of the calls.
In 1970, Doug Lipman was a struggling teacher of troubled adolescents. He had given up connecting with them when one day, by accident, he found himelf telling them a story. They responded! Ever since, he has pursued the transformative power of storytelling.
Over the decades, Doug has coached hundreds of people on their storytelling, writing, and recordings. He is the author of three books on storytelling (Improving Your Storytelling, The Storytelling Coach, and Storytelling Games), scores of published articles, and over 150 issues of his own email newsletters, including "eTips from the Storytelling Coach (http://StorytellingNewsletters.com).
A professional storyteller since 1976, Doug has performed and led workshops on three continents and led many online courses and webinars. His ongoing search for effective ways to teach the transformative power of storytelling has led to projects such as a new paradigm for coaching storytellers, an exploration of the seldom-noticed Hidden Storytelling Skills, and the pursuit of ways that storytelling and related arts can allow our true humanity to blossom.
The Transformative Language Arts Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
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