This course introduces the foundations and best practices of facilitation to TLA practitioners. You will learn about yourself as a facilitator and explore principles for designing and facilitating effective workshops that carefully consider ways to support different populations. You will emerge from the class with a Capstone Project, a detailed workshop proposal that covers the content and structure of your program; considerations for marketing, ethics, technology, and moving in the physical space depending on the populations you plan to welcome in; and how you might facilitate the work beyond the workshop space and connect to a larger community. This class is required for TLAN’s Certification in TLA Foundations.
Weekly Zoom sessions and Wet Ink lessons with extensive resources will cover course content and offer opportunities to engage with and practice facilitation principles. Weekly assignments will include readings, written responses, and self-care practices.
Week 1: Roles & Rules: Introduction to Facilitation
In this opening session, we’ll introduce ourselves, the course, and the foundational principles of facilitation. These principles are rooted in the idea that whatever the subject or situation, the goal of facilitation is to support individual and collective transformation. We’ll also cover the importance of establishing ground rules and prioritizing self-care.
Week 2: Good Bones: Structuring Workshops for Effective Facilitation
Effective facilitation depends on a program that has “good bones.” In this session, we’ll explore foundational principles and techniques for planning, organizing, and reviewing facilitation sessions. We’ll focus on ways to build a solid yet flexible structure that supports your goals and meets the needs of your participants.
Week 3: Facilitating across Identity
In this session, we will look at different ways to facilitate groups of mixed identity, including affiliations with race, gender, class, generations and parenthood. We will learn how we are socialized to think about different identities; if/how we have had experience with conversations across identities; and what considerations we can adopt when creating a space that will be welcoming across identity.
Week 4: Facilitating across Disabled, Neurodiverse and Aging Bodies
In this session, we will discuss how to prepare for and facilitate across disability, neurodiversity, and aging bodies. We are operating from a social model of disability, which says “individual limitations are not the cause of disability. Rather, it is society’s failure to provide appropriate services and adequately ensure that the needs of disabled people are taken into account in societal organization.” We want to discuss how we can create spaces that do not “disable” our participants. How can we structure access in our workshops from the beginning, instead of having to create accommodations as issues arise?
Week 5: Trauma-Informed Facilitation
No matter what kind of workshop or event you facilitate, a majority of your participants will have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lives. And as transformative language artists, we often work with specific survivor populations to offer tools and opportunities for personal and communal healing. In this session, we’ll discuss trauma, its impact, and why a trauma-informed approach is so important in facilitation. You’ll learn the key principles of trauma-informed facilitation as well as practical steps to take before, during, and after facilitating. You’ll also be reminded of the importance of self-awareness and self-care as a trauma-informed facilitator.
Week 6: Facilitating for Community Transformation
One of the unique tasks of a Transformative Language Artist is that we use words not only for personal transformation, but to effect change in our communities. In this session, we will discuss ways to bring your work and the work of your participants out into the community. How can you continue the conversation beyond the workshop space? Who, in your community, needs your work? What is the change that you wish to see in your community? Through reviewing examples of TLA in the world, we will consider ways you as a facilitator can contribute to community dialogue and transformation. The final week will include the opportunity to present your Capstone Project for review and discussion. How has your vision evolved from the beginning of class? What challenges or barriers do you anticipate in fulfilling this work? What considerations have you most appreciated? What considerations may you have missed?
This class is required for the Certification in TLA Foundations. It is appropriate for beginning and seasoned facilitators who are new to TLA; TLA practitioners who are seasoned in their art and looking to facilitate work in their community; and TLA artists and facilitators who want to update their practices with current language and best practices around community identities.
Amanda Faye Lacson (she/hers) is a Filipina-American writer, photographer and historian. She examines how our identities are shaped, how they impact the way we move in the world, and how we write our history through her creative nonfiction and playwriting; photography documenting the artistic process; oral history-oriented podcast interviewing; and by creating and facilitating community-based workshops for the family historian. Amanda is a board member and Membership co-chair of the Transformative Language Arts Network; writer, performer and director with the Playful Substance theater company; and producer, host and editor of Goddard in the World Podcast. She is also the founder of FamilyArchive Business, a studio designed to support the family historian at any point in the archiving process, from organizing photos in boxes to creating a final product to share with the family.
Recent projects include: writing and performing work based on her experience as a Pinay child and mother in the devised theater piece Raised Pinay: The 5th Generation; presenting a generative writing workshop on using Transformative Language Arts to create and deepen one’s family archive at the TLAN Power of Words conference; writing a satirical monologue from the perspective of Christopher Columbus reckoning with his legacy in the afterlife, for Playful Substance; and photographing classical Indian dance performance by Brooklyn Raga Massive for Chelsea Factory. Keep up with Amanda's work at amandafayelacson.com.
Tracie Nichols (she/her) is a Transformative Language Artist, poet, and facilitator helping people write themselves home through her ongoing writing circles and writing workshops nurturing personal awareness, resilience, and transformation. Founder of the Saturday Writing Circle and co-founder of Embodied Writers, she currently also serves as the Coordinator for the Transformative Language Arts Network.
Tracie’s appreciation for the power of words to heal and transform started decades ago when she began writing poems because her arms ached from holding the unflinching truth of violence in one hand and the equally unflinching truth of compassion in the other. She realized she'd found home with the Transformative Language Arts Network community when she realized it merged the principles of her graduate degree in Transformative Learning and Change with her passion for writing as path to healing and growth.
Today, she lives in southeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, occasionally her adult children, and a very large ginger tabby cat named Strider, writing poems from her tiny desk under the wide reach of two old Sycamore trees. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rogue Agent, Text Power Telling, and The Weight of Motherhood anthology.
Connect with Tracie at tracienichols.com.
The Transformative Language Arts Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
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