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

    • 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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