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, and at the same time, the intimate and welcoming atmosphere of the classes helps students find community, inspiration, and greater purpose.

While each class is unique to the teacher's style, all classes include hands-on activities (writing, storytelling, theater, spoken word, visual arts, music and/or other prompts), plus great resources, readings, and guidance. We use the online educational platform, Moodle. Currently we offer two class formats:

  • Community Online Classes have a set period of time, ranging from four to six weeks with a small cohort of five to 15 people. Every Wednesday a new weekly module opens for you to engage with on your own time, with forums and opportunities to share, interact, and receive feedback from peers and the teacher. If the teacher wants to schedule a live meeting, they will coordinate directly with enrolled participants. Classes remain open and available to enrolled participants for at least a month after the class end date.
  • Self-Paced Online Classes have no set period of time and no cohort. All modules are available upon enrollment for you to engage with on your own time. Each self-paced class includes one forum to share, interact, and give/receive feedback from peers.

Enrollment Cost

Classes are priced by the number of weeks they run, and members get a $20 discount. Early Bird rates end two weeks before the class start date, and registration increases by $40 thereafter.

Each registration is for one participant only, and all classes, unless arrangements are approved beforehand by the teacher and the TLA Network managing director, are for people age 16 and up.

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.

Self-Paced Online Classes

Community Online Classes

    • 05 Aug 2020
    • (EDT)
    • 22 Sep 2020
    • (EDT)
    • Online
    • 13
    Register

    Theodore Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) said, “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities.”

    Think, work, play, with writing concepts prompted by fantastic folktales, visual and odd visionary angles and contemplations, quotations, verses, and literature.  From these, we’ll develop personal collections of narrative and non-narrative writing that guide us toward a comfortable point of view about the realities and truths of who we are.

    Each week, we’ll share in printed format from these original collections, with no restrictions beyond the requirements of the prompts you’ve chosen, and no judgment. We’ll also share some written choices in spoken word in Week 6, if possible.

    Through this thought-provoking process, we’ll approach both a personal and communal awareness of the playful and cleansing power of language, in keeping with the Jewish proverb: “As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul.” Sometimes our musings will be serious, but we’ll all benefit from a little more fantasy and play!

    “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality.  It’s a way of understanding it.” – Lloyd Alexander, author of the pentalogy, The Chronicles of Prydain.

    Week by Week

    Week 1: Oh, the Places You Didn’t Want to Go!

    Facing the past; using it as food for thought and for writing.

    Week 2: Through the Looking Glass

    Finding the distortions in and the contortions of our life story; turning the truths and realities into fantastic adventures.

    Week 3: The Path of Needles or the Path of Pins: Other Possibilities of Seeing Red

    Accepting our choices in life and acknowledging the strengths and tools we can now recognize and carry in our “basket of goodies”.

    Week 4: "Here There Be Dragons..."

    Being willing to face or step toward darker memories or more dangerous ideas; changing perspective to construct "sense from non-sense," those moments that seemed to have no reason or reasonable outcome. Turning big pains into small boo-boos, and big joys into notable treasures.Being willing to face or step toward darker memories or more dangerous ideas; changing perspective to construct "sense from non-sense," those moments that seemed to have no reason or reasonable outcome. 

    Week 5: Through the Wrong End of the Telescope

    Transforming big pains into small boo-boos, and big joys into notable treasures.

    Week 6: Communal Voices

    Sharing our voices and our reflections in an online gathering or a conference call.

    Who Should Take This Class

    Writers, spoken-word artists/storytellers, anyone interested in playing with the concept of fact-to-fantasy poetic or narrative sharing and its connection to personal knowledge and growth.

    Format

    This is an online class. Each week, a new week-long session will open, full of resources, reflections, discussion questions, and writing prompts. Students can expect to spend 3-5 hours per week with these ideas. Students peruse resources and readings. Then, according to their own choices, they’ll answering a discussion question, engage in several writing prompts, and respond to peers’ work. Through our interactions, we create and sustain a welcoming and inspiring community.

    About the Teacher

    A fourth-generation Affrilachian storyteller, Ohio teaching artist, and award-winning author, Lynette (Lyn) Ford has shared programs and workshops on creatively writing, joyfully playing,  and developing and sharing narratives for more than thirty years. Lyn’s work is published in several storytelling-in-education resources, and her own books—Affrilachian Tales: Folktales from the African-American Appalachian TraditionBeyond the Briar Patch: Affrilachian Folktales, Food and FolkloreHot Wind, Boiling Rain: Scary Stories for Strong Hearts—as well as collaborations with friend and fellow storyteller Sherry Norfolk: Boo-Tickle Tales: Not-So-Scary Stories for Ages 4-9Speak Peace: Words of Wisdom, Work & Wonder, and Supporting Diversity and Inclusion with Story. Lyn is also a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, and a great-grandmother.

    • 05 Aug 2020
    • (EDT)
    • 22 Sep 2020
    • (EDT)
    • Online
    • 9
    Register

    In this class, the participants will write, reflect, meditate, and engage in discussions about what it means to free ourselves from fragmentation and to find ourselves whole again. Fragmentation of the self has unintended consequences, such as depression, anxiety, blocked creativity, and especially fear. By exploring Mindfulness in our writing and lives, we can pivot from fear and panic toward the freedom of embracing our humanness.

    This class is informed by the Buddhist way of living and seeing the world, with specific focus on the four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path and the four Brahmaviharas  or the “immeasurables” (Love, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity).

    Through this process, we will approach both a personal and communal awareness of the playful and cleansing power of language, in keeping with the Jewish proverb: “As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul.”

    Week by Week

    Each week includes Mindfulness meditation, writing, and other activities, and all weeks include online interactions. Each assignment is intended to solidify a Mindfulness practice in the general sense and specifically to writing. An important aspect of the assignments is that they are conducted or developed within a symbolic, ritualized context. That is, that you establish specific times during the week to read and work on the assignments via specific rituals that serve as conduits for the creative, authentic expression of the mature human you are or strive to become.

    Each practice we do is intended to tap into body, mind, and spirit to awaken parts of the self to render it whole.  The paths are illustrated by poems that can help generate integration. The practice of meditation and the seeking of wisdom leads to what is a called a mature human being.

    The following poets, among others, will be center-stage: J. Rumi, Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Wendell Berry.  

    Week 1: (Zoom Session: 6pm EST)

    Theme: Pathways to Wholeness

    Topic: Shaping our community

    We’ll get to know each other and to discuss in depth the central tenets of the Pathways to Wholeness.  The kind of writing we’ll do together has the potential to open new pathways in the brain to help us venture into the vastness of being focused on the present moment and free from fragmentation. We will also do introductions via our Zoom session.

    Week 2:

    Theme: Re-cognizing the Self

    Topic: Fragmentation and wholeness

    We’ll focus on how we can release our creative potential by recognizing depression and anxiety as forms of separation from the true self. Examining the shadow parts of us can shed light into our consciousness. We’ll examine the First Pathway: Dwell in the house of the self

    Week 3:

    Theme: Discernment and the freedom to be

    Topic: Our story in the context of our history

    We’ll examine the Second Pathway: Use Discernment to understand the true meaning of history and our own story.

    Week 4: 

    Theme: Shared Humanity

    Topic: Changing perspectives

    We’ll examine the Third Pathway: Recognize Shared Humanity and accept suffering as part of life. To do this, we’ll take a “Momentous Leap of Meaning.”

    Week 5: 

    Theme: Cultivation of kindness and equanimity

    Topic: Shedding the Light of Consciousness on the Shadow

    We’ll examine the Fourth Pathway: Cultivate kindness toward the self through the four immeasurables. Also, we’ll briefly focus on the shadow part of the personality.

    Week 6: (Zoom class: 6pm EST)  

    Theme: Closing (holding a council)

    Topic: Our ending is your beginning

    The power of transformation begins right at that moment when we are willing to challenge our own assumptions. Our closing is an invitation to practice self-inquiry by practicing the activities.

    Who Should Take This Class

    This class would benefit individuals who are on the path of self-discovery as well as those who facilitate self-discovery with others. Teachers, therapists, writers, community leaders are ideal candidates. This class was designed for individuals who are curious about how to integrate the multiple parts of their lives into a cohesive whole. We welcome individuals interested in having a regular integral practice in their lives that includes living with integrity and excellence, becoming more alive and creative, and engaging in mindful movement, sitting meditation, walking in nature. Lastly, this class is for individuals interested in creating more psychological flexibility, so they can embrace life with curiosity, detachment, and depth.

    Format

    This is an online class with two Zoom sessions. Students are encouraged to set aside a minimum of two hours a week to engage in practices, including reading and writing about poems and essays pertaining to the topics of spirituality and psychological flexibility. Students are expected to read and respond to comments on the accessible and welcoming online platform.

    About the Teacher

    Marianela Medrano, is a Dominican writer, poet and a psychotherapist, with a PhD in psychology, whose practice includes Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness, Transpersonal & Integral Psychotherapy. Medrano has extensive training in Mindfulness Based-Stress Reduction with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli, and Mindful Eating with Jan Chozen-Bays and Char Wilkins. She has taught at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, now Sophia University, in Palo Alto, California, and as a visiting scholar at Goddard College.

    Her work as a poetry therapist was recognized with an outstanding award from the National Association for Poetry Therapy. in 2007. She is also a mentor/supervisor for the International Federation of Biblio/Poetry Therapy and currently serves as the president of the National Association for Poetry Therapy, NAPT, www.poetrytherapy.org.

    Through the Palabra Training Center, she offers on-site and remote programs for individuals and groups in poetry therapy, applying literature and psychology to help participants forge their own paths to wholeness. She also presents, with poet Annie Finch, Woman, Poetry and Spirituality at the Garrison Institute. Her Four Pathways to Wholeness workshop has been presented at the Expressive Therapies Summit in NYC, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Studies World Conference in Seville, Spain in 2017, the National Association for Poetry Therapy Annual Conference, and the Mount Carmel College in Bangalore, India.

    Her individual publications include: Oficio de Vivir (Buho,1986), Los Alegres Ojos de la Tristeza (Buho,1987), Regando Esencias/ The Scent of Waiting (Alcance,1998), Curada de Espantos (Torremozas, 2002), Diosas de la Yuca, (Torremozas, 2011), Prietica (Alfaguara, 2013).  Rooting (Owlfeather Collective, 2017). Her poetry has been translated into Italian and French. In 2015 she did a TEDTALK at Ursuline College: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pQeBYd2oJk.

Past Classes

25 Mar 2020 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
25 Mar 2020 The Elemental Journey of Purposeful Memoir // with Jennifer Browdy, PhD
15 Jan 2020 Your Memoir as Monologue: Writing Monologues for Healing and Transformation // with Kelly DuMar
15 Jan 2020 The Art of Facilitation: Roots and Blossoms of Facilitation // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Joy Roulier Sawyer
23 Oct 2019 15 Poets to Change Your Life & Spark Your Writing // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
23 Oct 2019 Poems As Prayers: Writing Towards a Just World // with Caits Meissner
26 Jun 2019 15 Poets to Change Your Life & Spark Your Writing // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
24 Apr 2019 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
06 Mar 2019 Fantastic Folktales & Visionary Angles to Transform Our Stories // with Lyn Ford
16 Jan 2019 How Pictures Heal: Honoring Memory & Loss through Expressive Writing from Personal Photos // with Kelly DuMar
24 Oct 2018 Leverage Your TLA Expertise for Publication, Community, Business, and Livelihood // with Yvette Hyater-Adams
24 Oct 2018 Coming Home to Body, Earth, and Time: Writing From Where We Live // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
05 Sep 2018 Cultivating Our Voices: Writing Life Stories for Change // with Dr. Liz Burke-Cravens
27 Jun 2018 Wound Dwelling: Writing the Survivor Body(ies) // with Jennye Patterson
27 Jun 2018 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
27 Jun 2018 & They Call Us Crazy: Outsider Writing to Cross the Borders of Human Imagination // with Caits Meissner
16 May 2018 Values of the Future Through Transformative Language Arts // with Doug Lipman
04 Apr 2018 Stories with Spirit: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice // with Regi Carpenter
14 Mar 2018 Writing for Social Change: Redream a Just World // with Anya Achtenberg
21 Feb 2018 Funding Transformation: Grant Writing for Storytellers, Writers, Artists, Educators, & Activists // with Diane Silver
10 Jan 2018 Fantastic Folktales & Visionary Angles to Transform Our Stories // with Lyn Ford
18 Oct 2017 Writing Our Lives: The Poetic Self & Transformation // with Dr. Liz Burke-Cravens
18 Oct 2017 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
06 Sep 2017 Your Memoir as Monologue: How to Create Dynamic Dramatic Monologues About Healing and Transformation for Performance // with Kelly DuMar
06 Sep 2017 Wound Dwelling: Writing the Survivor Body(ies) // with Jennifer Patterson
14 Jun 2017 The Five Senses and Four Elements: Connecting with the Body and Nature Through Poetry // with Angie River
14 Jun 2017 The Poetics of Witness: Writing Beyond the Self // with Caits Meissner
19 Apr 2017 Diving and Emerging: Finding Your Voice and Identity in Personal Stories // with Regi Carpenter
01 Mar 2017 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
01 Mar 2017 How Pictures Heal: Honoring Memory & Loss through Expressive Writing from Personal Photos // with Kelly DuMar
11 Jan 2017 Values of the Future Through Transformative Language Arts // with Doug Lipman
11 Jan 2017 Your Callings, Your Livelihood, Your Life // With Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
26 Oct 2016 Leverage Your TLA Expertise for Publication, Community, Business, and Livelihood // with Yvette Angelique Hyater-Adams
26 Oct 2016 Not Enough Spoons: Writing About Disability & Chronic Illness // with Angie River
14 Sep 2016 Wound Dwelling: Writing the Survivor Body(ies) // with Jennifer Patterson
14 Sep 2016 Creating a Sustainable Story: Self-Care, Meaningful Work, and the Business of Creativity // with Laura Packer
29 Jun 2016 Coming Home to Body, Earth, and Time: Writing From Where We Live // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
29 Jun 2016 Making the Leap into Work You Love // with Scott Youmans
18 May 2016 Saturated Selfies: Intentional and Intense Photography and Writing
18 May 2016 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations
28 Mar 2016 Gathering Courage: Still-Doing, Big Journaling, and Other (Not So Scary) Ways to Begin Accommodating the Soul
15 Feb 2016 Living Out Loud: Healing Through Storytelling and Writing
15 Feb 2016 Soulful Songwriting: How To Begin, Collaborate, And Finish Your Song
04 Jan 2016 The Five Senses and the Four Elements: Connecting with the Body and Nature Through Poetry
04 Jan 2016 Your Memoir as Monologue: How to Create Dynamic Dramatic Monologues About Healing and Transformation for Performance

"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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