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  • Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs Young

Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs Young

  • 26 October 2022
  • (EDT)
  • 07 December 2022
  • (EST)
  • Online
  • 19



This 6-week introduction to Transformative Language Arts (TLA) looks at how TLA can be practiced and facilitated through writing, storytelling, performance, song, and collaborative, expressive and integrated arts. 

Each week includes short readings and/or videos, written and verbal discussion (via Zoom) regarding the different types of TLA, the ethics surrounding its practice, right livelihood, and your own self-care, as well as writing prompts to inspire and help you articulate your TLA callings.

This class is one of the requirements for the TLA Foundations Certificate.

Week by Week

Week One: TLA History, Fields, and Traditions

An overview of theory and practice, including genres, arts and community practices, ethics, and your own values informing your TLA. Explore TLA in many forms–from poetry therapy to social change theater to healing storytelling–and share what ignites your soul and work.

Week Two: TLA in Service: Health, Healing, Spirituality, and Personal Growth.

We’re explore how TLA can help people find their way home through health or emotional crises or wounds, spiritual callings, and many manner of personal growth. Starting with the personal, and recognizing how the personal is political, we look at ways in which TLA can foster health, healing, and homecoming, and also some of our cultural biases and blindnesses about such directions.

Week Three: TLA as Catalyst: Community, Culture, History, and Social Change.

We’ll look at TLA in relation to community-building, culture-shifting, history-revisioning, and social change, and particularly explore what it means and can mean to be part of various communities.

Week Four:  TLA & Right Livelihood: Ways to Make a Living and a Life.

What are our callings for how we make a living and how we live a life? We’ll dive into how TLA intersects with our life’s work (whether that work relates to a paycheck, volunteering, or other aspects of our life), and develop plans for where we’re led to go.

Week Five: TLA in Action: Facilitation, Consulting, Collaboration, Coaching, and More.

Looking at the ethics of our work, art, and community involvement, we’ll discuss and write about the specific forms of TLA we do and want to do.

Week Six: TLA and You: Plans, Visions, and Maps.

Deepening our plans for the work, art, and community-making ahead, we’ll clarify what’s right for us to pursue next, what support and tools we need along the way, and the future envision.

Who Should Take This Class

This class is ideal for a wide variety of people, including professionals who want to infuse TLA into their teaching, counseling, pastoral work, arts collaboration, and community work, as well as writers, storytellers, performers and other artists who want to develop their facilitation of writing, songwriting, expressive arts, drama therapy and community theater, collaborative arts, storytelling, or integrated arts.


This is primarily an asynchronous, online class, which also includes weekly Zoom meetings. (Zoom is an online videoconferencing application that allows people with internet access to gather online from anywhere in the world). The bulks of the class work will occur via the online platform, Wet.Ink.

Additionally, students are expected to attend at least five out of the seven weekly Zoom meetings (see schedule below). The Zoom meetings allow us to network and connect, and to learn from each other in real time discussion.

From our interactions, we sustain a welcoming and inspiring community together.

Zoom Meetings:

All Zoom classes meet from 3-5 PM, EDT.

Wednesday, October 26
Wednesday, November 2
Wednesday, November 9
Wednesday, November 16
Wednesday, November 30

Optional Text: The Power of Words: A Transformative Language Arts Reader, edited by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Janet Tallman. You can purchase the text on Amazon.

About the Teacher

Joanna Tebbs Young is a freelance writer and historian and author of an award-winning biography of Vermont historian, Lilian Baker Carlisle. She writes a history column for two local papers and is currently revising a memoir and personal essay collection. Joanna holds an MA in Transformative Language Arts with a focus on Women's Studies & Spirituality, and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction, both from Goddard College. A writing coach since 2009 and trained through the Center for Journal Therapy, Joanna is also a facilitator for Vermont Humanities Council and teaches online for the Transformative Language Arts Network. Links to her historical writing can be found here. 

"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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