Certificate in Transformative Language Arts Foundations

An introduction to TLA in theory and practice with opportunities for reflecting and acting on ethical work, community networking, and TLA in action, completed on one's own time over two years. Applications accepted on a rolling basis.


Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.

Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. 

Howard Thurman


What: Certificate in TLA Foundations 

Community and Action

The TLA Foundations (TLAF) Certificate is an opportunity to immerse yourself in your own TLA practice while enjoying the support and encouragement of a community around the globe of those who also believe in the power of words. It provides both a foundation of knowledge and support as you venture further into the world, putting your work as a Transformative Language Artist into action.

The TLAF Certificate is an introduction to the principles and practice of TLA with opportunities for reflecting and acting on ethical work and sound facilitation, community networking, and how you can make TLA an integral part of your life and work.

Through the program you will enhance your:

  • Knowledge of the theory, ethics, and practice of TLA

  • Personal and professional TLA practice

  • Skills in course design and facilitation

  • Creative and critical writing ability

  • Skills in thoughtful discussion and feedback

  • Connection to a community of compassionate changemakers

Who: Our Students

TLAF students are self-aware, empathetic, insightful, and driven to be agents of change in their communities; they want to make a difference in the world — just like you! They are: 

  • Writers, storytellers, musicians, artists, activists, community leaders, performers, poets, and other changemakers  who are ready to discover ways to interface their art with their community.

  • Counselors, social workers, psychologists, psychoanalysts, pastoral counselors and other healthcare professionals who wish to bring TLA practices into their counseling practices.

  • Teachers in language arts and related fields who want to help their students find more of their voices and visions through TLA.

  • Community workshop facilitators, visiting artists, and artists-in-residence who want to enhance their facilitation of writing, songwriting, expressive arts, drama therapy and community theater, collaborative arts, storytelling, and integrated and expressive arts.

Why: Outcomes & Benefits

    The TLAF Certificate provides you with:

    • Insight into the TLA Theory— what it is (transformational) and what it isn’t (therapy) — and how it relates to your community, livelihood, and passions through readings and discussion. 

    • Experiential learning of TLA Practice by providing supportive feedback to peers, expressing yourself critically and creatively, workshop design, and ethical facilitation.

    • Understanding of TLA Ethics and Values and your role and responsibilities as a TLA facilitator by exploring and practicing the ethical and logistical dimensions of your work.

    • Exposure to and engagement with the diverse TLA Community of both established and new TLArtists who attend classes, conferences, and other events and who can inspire and support the many ways in which your work can be put into action. 

    • Opportunities to consider ways to enhance your current profession by applying TLA in Action to the work you are already doing while learning new ways to express yourself as an TLArtist in the world. 

    • Growth and confidence as an TLArtist by providing the time and opportunity for deep engagement with your own writing/art through the creation of new material, non-judgmental feedback, and opportunities for publication.

    How: Requirements & Expectations

    • Complete the application

    • Become a member of the TLA Network

    • Pay $150 certificate fee (A nonrefundable fee of $30 is included)

    • Complete five classes equaling 26-28 weeks, "passing" with at least 80% participation. These include:

      1. TLA Foundations: "Changing the World with Words"
      2. TLA Facilitation
      3. Three other classes of your choice
    • Create and offer a two-hour workshop with at least three students (if accepted, a POW conference presentation counts) 

      • Submit a proposal

      • Submit student evaluations

    • Submit five blog posts (500-800 words) for the TLAN blog, either

      • About the craft or practice of TLA; or 

      • Research-based; or

      • A creative piece which must include a reflective component connecting it to craft, practice, or research 

    • Attend a Power of Words Conference 

      • OR complete a sixth class (for a total of 32-34 weeks)

    • Complete a self-evaluation (this will be sent to you)

    • Complete certificate within two years of acceptance. Note: Conferences & classes attended retro-actively within ONE year of acceptance count towards certificate. Extenuating circumstances will be considered.

    Once you complete the requirements, you will receive a certificate, verifying that you have completed the TLA Foundations certificate program. 


    *Successful completion entails finishing at least 80% of all assignments, which include posting responses to exercises, questions, and each week, responses to at least three peers’ posts.

    (NOTE: If you were accepted into the program prior to February 1, 2022, you will be grandmothered in with the previous requirements as listed in the self-evaluation link sent to you at the time of your acceptance.)


    What Our Graduates Say

    "I learned that TLA is a way of being in the world, almost more than a way to do things in the world. By pushing myself to find TLA in everything I do for my living, I’ve found my tribe in so many facets of life: grant writing, IT, marketing, collaborative art, etc. The best part is when it shows up from behind a corner I didn’t expect." ~ Tiffany Vakilian


    "It was like getting a double rainbow of light on this journey – an arching timeline, illuminating a future rich with possibility. Ten years of my own exploration, introspection, teaching, and facilitation all wove together [in this certificate program]." ~ Wendy Thompson


    "Yes, pursue this TLA certificate! You will meet people who share your passion for bringing about peace, community, social justice, and healing using words and images. You will be amazed by the diverse, creative ways they do that. Hopefully, you will feel like you’ve come home to the friends, collaborators, mentors, and teachers you’ve been looking for. I do. I love this sense of belonging." ~ Diane Glass


    "I'm a librarian, and the biggest lesson I'll take away from the TLA Foundations certificate is that I can pursue TLA within my current profession, rather than making a career change. I was able to draw connections between my current work and the concepts I was learning in the TLA courses." ~ Masha Harris




    Ready? Here's How to Get Started:

    1. Fill out this short application

    2. Pay a one-time, non-refundable $150 administrative fee

    3. The Certificate Committee will review your application and let you know within a few weeks if you have been approved and send you your next steps.

    Questions? Email tlan.certification@gmail.com

    "The Transformative Language Arts Network" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. P.O. Box 873 Lansdowne, PA 19050 USA

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