certificationThe TLA Network is proud to announce the first certification in TLA: Transformative Language Arts Foundations. This certification is an introduction to TLA in theory and practice with opportunities for reflecting and acting on ethical work, community networking, and TLA in action.


  • TLA in Theory & Practice: Learn about Transformative Language Arts in the world, and how it relates to your community, livelihood, and passions
  • Ethics and Values: Through the “TLA Foundations” online class, explore the ethical dimensions of the work, study, activism, and/or art that calls to you, and how you can practice TLA according to your values.
  • TLA in Action: Through either participating in and/or facilitating a One City, One Prompt event, or publishing in or volunteering for Chrysalis: A Journal of TLA, you gain valuable experience and knowledge of TLA in action.
  • Community & Networking: By attending a Power of Words conference, or participating in two online classes, you find community, opportunities, connectionscottandlauries, and greater knowledge of TLA’s place in your world.
  • Introduction to Right Livelihood: Throughout many aspects of this certification, you’ll discover more about how to enhance your own right livelihood (making a living through good work that helps others, and fulfills your calling). The conference offers a track in Right Livelihood. We often offer online workshops that enhance livelihood.

Read more in this TLA Network blog post.

What Is Transformative Language Arts?

TLA brings together all who resonate with the written, sung and spoken word to cross-pollinate our art, studies, community work, and lives. In this program you’ll find writers, storytellers, musicians, expressive and integrated arts facilitators, community leaders and activists, healers and health professionals, educators and facilitators, performers and organizers  exploring what it means to use our words for change, growth, healing and community building. TLA comes from a perspective that holds the personal and the political, the local and the global, the individual resilience or breakthroughs we’re seeking in our lives at the moment as well as how we can use the arts to help others find voice and vision. The walls between us dissolve, and we find great inspiration, energy, and innovation together.

Who Would Benefit From This Certification?

  • Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, Psychoanalysts, Pastoral Counselors and other health 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 arts
  • Goddard College MA-TLA prospective or current students, and alumni ready for more community and livelihood opportunities and direction. (Note: Thanks to a new partnership with Goddard College, the college will grant a $1,000 scholarship – $500 each for two semesters of study – for all students in or applying to any Goddard program who have completed this certification. Learn more about the partnership here.)
  • Writers, storytellers, musicians, artists, activists, community leaders, performers and others who are ready to discover ways to interface their art with their community.

What is the Difference Between This Certification and Goddard College’s MA in TLA?

Goddard College’s MA in TLA is a 48-credit hour master’s program focused on theoretical groundwork, individual TLA practice, ongoing integration and reflection, an extensive community practicum, and a thesis project related to an in-depth and specific focus within TLA. The TLA Foundations certification is more of an introduction to or enhancement of TLA in theory and practice with opportunities for reflecting and acting on ethical work, community networking, and TLA in action. The MA program and the TLA Foundations certification are mutually complementary. The certification is administered by the TLA Network, a not-for-profit organization. The MA degree is part of a fully accredited independent college. The certification can be of value to people with no need or calling to earn a MA in TLA, a good first step for people planning on applying to the Goddard program, or a stepping stone for people who’ve already earned a MA in TLA.


If interested, please submit a short application Once approved, you have two years to complete these requirements:

  1. Successfully complete two online classes*: the TLA Foundations online class (“Changing the World with Words: Foundations of TLA”) and another online class (or several shorter classes) adding up to at least twelve weeks. (You can count up to six weeks of classes taken within one year of applying for certification.)
  2. Attend one conference or take additional (to requirement #1) online classes, adding up to at least twelve weeks (our on-line classes range from 1 week to 6 weeks long). (You can count a conference you attended within two years of beginning certification.)
  3. Host or participate in a One City, One Prompt event, OR have something you wrote published in or volunteer to help with Chrysalis: A Journal of TLA.
  4. Membership current in the TLA Network ($35/year)
  5. Complete a short self-evaluation that includes short discussion of your background, goals, and your vision of TLA in your life and the world
  6. One-time $40 administrative fee. Within a few months after acceptance, fill out a certification plan, including which options you’ll be pursuing. (Note: fee covers processing your application and is non-refundable).

*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.

Once you complete the requirements, you will receive a certificate, verifying that you have completed the TLA Foundations certification. More information in this blog post.

Cost Estimate: See this cost breakdown to estimate expenses for obtaining TLA Foundations Certification.

Caveat: This certification is an introduction to TLA in theory and practice. It does not qualify people who complete the certification in any way except as someone who has studied TLA, reflected deeply on TLA in theory and practice, and participated fully in TLA-related projects, events and/or publications. During the “Changing the World with Words” class, participants do learn about other organizations and institutions that offer certification in such things as facilitation, poetry therapy, drama therapy, etc.

How to Get Started:

If you are interested, please send an email of your interest to  coordinator@TLANetwork.org. You will fill out a short application and pay a one-time $40 administrative fee (by clicking the link or sending a check to TLA Network, P.O. Box 442633, Lawrence, KS 66044). The Certification Committee will then review your application and let you know within a few weeks if you have been approved. 

RainbowOverGoddard_08-12-13_(5)Goddard-TLA Network Partnership:

Through a partnership agreement with Goddard College, home of the first MA program in TLA, the college will grant a scholarship to all incoming Goddard students — in any BA, MA, or MFA program — who have completed the TLA Foundations certification. This scholarship gives the student, once accepted into the college, a $500 grant for his/her first two semesters. Learn more about Goddard College’s programs here, which include BA programs, a BFA in Creative Writing program, MA programs — including the MA in Transformative Language Arts, and MFA programs. All programs are low-residency, allowing students to work from home while coming to campus for a 8-day residency at the start of each semester.