Transformative Language Arts Concentration

The Transformative Language Arts Concentration is the intentional use of the written, spoken and sung word for individual and community growth, development, celebration and transformation. In the tradition of Tikkum Olam, the Hebrew phrase that means putting back together the broken world, the Transformative Language Arts Concentration draws upon creative writing, storytelling, songwriting, drama, performance, as well as other forms of written and oral communication, that contribute to naming and honoring individual and community experience, perceptions, voice and vision.

The Transformative Language Arts concentration is available to students enrolled in any of the degree options within the Goddard Graduate Institute.

Goddard College has a special learning partnership with the Transformative Language Arts (TLA) Network. Goddard offers students who have completed the Transformative Language Arts Foundations certificate a Partnership Grant upon enrollment at the college. Read more about the Goddard-TLA Network partnership.

Request more information from an Admissions Counselor.

The Faculty

The faculty in the Goddard Graduate Institute have longstanding presence in the college and bring to their work a host of professional skills and disciplinary areas. Fields of expertise include consciousness studies, expressive arts therapy, ecopsychology, cultural studies, gender studies, poetry, literature, psychology, natural history, organizational and community development, neuroscience, medical anthropology, religious studies, theater, and Ayurvedic medicine, among other areas. Much of the work and interests of the faculty is in keeping with the College’s activist and social justice mission. The faculty also have a range of international experience in terms of work and research conducted in other areas of the world, as well as in their own lived experiences.

Learn more about our faculty.

36-credit Accelerated Degree Option

Goddard College offers a 36-credit, accelerated study option to students who are interested in deepening their studies in a current practice and who have already conducted much of the exploratory work of a first semester student. Students should have a clear sense of where they would like to focus their studies and a developed idea of the final product they would like to complete.

All applicants to graduate degree programs must supply evidence of having earned an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education. Applicants seeking admission to the accelerated degree track should also have significant professional development in the degree or concentration track in which they intend to apply. Examples may include:

If you are unsure if this program option is for you, or if you have any questions, please contact an admissions counselor at 800.906.8312 or

Admissions Information

Goddard offers students the ability to chart their own paths and develop, or further develop, the habits and skills of life-long learning.

All applicants to graduate degree programs must supply evidence of having earned an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.

See complete application instructions.


Twice a year, at the start of each semester, students attend an intensive eight-day residency at the College’s Plainfield, Vermont campus. Residencies are a rich time of exploration, connection, and planning.

Low-Residency Model

At the start of the semester, students attend an intensive eight-day residency in Vermont, followed by 16 weeks of independent work and self-reflection in close collaboration with a faculty advisor. Goddard pioneered this format nearly a half century ago to meet the needs of adult students with professional, family, and other obligations seeking learning experiences grounded in the real-world.

Residencies are a time to explore, network, learn, witness, and share with peers, staff, and faculty. Students work with advisors and peers in close-knit advising groups to forge individualized study plans that describe their learning objectives for the semester.

Working closely with their faculty advisors, and supported by fellow learners, students identify areas of study, personal goals, relevant resources, and avenues to achieve these goals. Students also attend and are invited to help organize workshops, keynote addresses, celebrations and other events intended to stimulate, inspire, and challenge.

This low-residency model combines the breadth of a collaborative community with the focus of personalized learning, enhanced by insightful exchanges with a faculty advisor.

Core Concepts

Graduates of the Transformative Language Arts (TLA) concentration should develop the following core competencies over the course of their studies.


We encourage you to deeply consider ethical considerations involved in your community Transformative Language Arts work, including reflecting upon the TLA code of ethics or creating your own code that is discussed and approved by Goddard faculty.


By becoming familiar and experienced with how to encourage expression, participation, active listening and creativity in Transformative Language Arts delivery – whether in facilitating, coaching, consulting, or collaborating with groups or individuals — you begin, or further develop, your lifelong art of ethical facilitation. Effective facilitation entails facilitating positive change in a safe, respectful climate, with appropriate methods, evaluating evidence of change, and clearly understanding the ethical dimensions of being a facilitator.

General Knowledge of Transformative Language Arts Theory and Practice

By educating yourself about established and emerging Transformative Language Arts modalities, fields, traditions, and applications, you learn more about how to design, implement and assess your individual and community work. Since Transformative Language Arts  is an emerging academic field that draws on the intersection of existing fields, your immersion in theory can help you contribute to identifying and developing Transformative Language Arts theory.

Interdisciplinary Context

Deep reflection, thoughtful observation and wide-eyed exploration on the big–interdisciplinary–picture surrounding your focus of study will help you contextualize why and how Transformative Language Arts is needed, as well as how it can apply to your particular focus of study. For example, someone looking at ecopoetics could study ecology, poetics, nature writing, environmental education, and the environmental and cultural conditions that create the need and possibilities for ecopoetics.

Deep Knowledge in Focus of Study

Because a master’s program cannot cover everything, we encourage you to develop one focus of study. Some examples are: writing to aid the grieving process, storytelling in palliative care, creating a dramatic monologue curriculum for inner-city Latino youth, developing theory around community-building and storytelling in rural communities, combining art and storytelling for elders.

One of the keystones of Transformative Language Arts is your development as a transformative language artist. We expect you to deepen your artistic practice as a storyteller, writer, actor, performer, or other artist of Transformative Language Arts. Such an artistic practice enables you to experience firsthand the transformative power of the language arts, embody your process of creativity, reflect upon your experience and its applicability for others, and develop tools and approaches for facilitatingTransformative Language Arts  in your community.

Contextualization of Your Individual Artistic Practice

To enhance your artistic practice with language, and to better understand the place your practice has in this culture entails learning about the genre and/or media of your Transformative Language Arts practice. Storytellers focusing on community-building, for example, will need to learn about the historic roots of the oral tradition, as well as how storytelling is employed today in various cultures for strengthening community.