Newsletter header, modified from DT

Happy September, [subscriber:firstname | default:reader]!

"We can author our own lives from a place of resourcefulness, creativity, and possibility."
It's September already! Where does the time go? At the Transformative Learning Foundation and the Graduate Institute for Transformative Learning, we are gearing up for the graduation of a remarkable group of learners, and the annual community gathering at the Whidbey Institute.

For many, as it does for us, September marks a return to learning. The lazy days of summer are behind us, and a certain brisk freshness greets us as the season changes. It's a month that marks regeneration and transformation. This month's GIFTLearning newsletter also looks at the newness of the learning season, beginning with what we learned from you.

In this newsletter:

  1. Your Survey Results: Here's what you said
  2. Calling Early Adopters for launch of Practitioner Certificate!
  3. Autumn Webinars: Living with Hope and Designing Your Elderhood
  4. Update on the 90-for-90 scholarship fundraiser
  5. Meet your Mentors
  6. A seriously silly one-minute quiz to see if self-directed learning is a good fit for you
Survey Says...

1. Transformative Learning Foundation Survey Results

The results of the recently conducted survey are in! In a nutshell, those who responded were young (between 20 and 50), female (80%), and living in North America (Canada and the US).
Overall, the findings showed the following:
  • The survey appealed most to young female from North America
  • Respondents were mostly concerned about finances and climate change
  • Life is collaborative and in the process of unfolding
  • Isolation is not a concern, and while connected, respondents would like to get even more connected
  • Respondents seek exposure to experiences more than those in different life stages
  • Respondents are interested in being a mentor, but enthusiasm grows lukewarm when it comes to elders-in-training
For the longer version of the results, see Appendix A below.
Calling all changemakers!

2. Calling Early Adopters for launch of Practitioner Certificate!

Want to deepen your practice in creating and leading Transformative Learning Communities? Are you a teacher or parent supporting self-directed learners? Join our program and become a Certified Transformative Learning Communities (TLC) Practitioner!
TFL - Front-06-V2 detail
Calling all integral heart-centered changemakers to become early adopters as

Certified Transformative Learning Communities (TLC) Practitioner!

We are launching our Practitioner Certificate in Transformative Learning Communities. The learning community model emerged with our learners and faculty over the past eight years as we practiced what it means to become a self-renewing learning community of care. As we take stock on what has been planted, seeded, cultivated and now cross-pollinating, several of our alumni have taken the learning they have designed with mentors in our model, and have created unique holistic learning communities in seven locations around the world: Beijing, Frankfurt, Sao Paulo, Winnipeg, New Zealand, British Columbia, and Austin.

Now we are attracting our first cohort to leverage what we have learned and evolve to the next level—leading the movement of learning communities. And we understand the idea of a grass-roots movement: it starts with a few early adopters who will work with us to test the evolution of the learning community model.

Our first cohort will experience an 18-month programwhere you choose your mentor, your workshops and capstone project/experience. You add to your portfolio as you journey through the program, culminating the program by choosing a practice experience and/or capstone project. You have the opportunity to explore your own curiosity, answer your own questions, and follow your own enthusiasms—within our learning community.
  • Course Dates: October 2019 – May 2021: Weekly Group Sessions PLUS Monthly Individual Sessions with Mentor
  • Location: Online in real-time by videoconference, in 1:1 and group sessions
  • Cost: $8100—may be paid in monthly installments of $450. A small number of scholarships, discounts for professional associates, and work-trades are available each year.
What we know for certain is that this is a leadership program centered on paradigm-shifting relationships for social change in education. The first cohort, leaders in their own right, will be instrumental in the development of the model that up until now has been our map. We would like to expand that map to a territory conversation. To do that, we invite the integral heart-centered changemakers to be our early adopters and actual-co-generators to facilitate learning communities forward into the world as an obvious choice for learning-for-life.

Would you be interested in becoming a Certified Transformative Learning Communities (TLC) Practitioner? Contact Laurel at [email protected], via our toll-free phone number 1(855) 966-3379 (phone/text) or by choosing a videoconferencing time that works for you HERE.

Learn, transform, emerge!

3. Autumn Webinars

Active Hope
The World is on fire and we have the opportunity to step into the adventure of our lives, to link arms with others across difference and age and together co-create the world we want. Our first step is to find Active Hope. This interactive live webinar course is based on the book Active Hope - How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy, by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone.

The next course runs from September 23 to November 11 (every second Monday for 1.5 hours, time to be determined). Course Fee: $135, for 6 interactive sessions.

Course overview:
  • Session 1: What are the stories of our timeline?
  • Session 2: The power in gratitude
  • Session 3: Honouring our pain for the world
  • Session 4: Seeing with new eyes
  • Session 5: Going forth, play and creativity
  • Session 6: Going forth, building a beautiful tomorrow
There's a more comprehensive overview of the course available online here.
Designing your Elderhood 2
Designing Your Elderhood
  • Facilitated by David Marshak is an online program that invites you to explore your identity and values as you leave your work life behind and enter this new stage of life. The next course runs from September 17 to October 15, and runs on Tuesday nights between 4:00 and 6:00 pm PDT, (7:00 and 9:00 pm EDT). Course Fee: $135, for 6 interactive sessions.

4. Update on the 90-for-90 Fundraiser

The Scholarship fundraiser has achieved the first 10% milestone. Thanks to our first nine donors for their generous gift to future learners, making access to Transformative Learning just that much more affordable and accessible. A. Adams, Darcy Kaltio, Jon, E.W., Monica, Renée Beth P., Tim & Allyne Riley and TT (who gave twice!), please know that you are making that difference!

Why I donated

“I donated to the 90 for 90 campaign for many reasons.

“The first is I love Fleurette and she inspires me endlessly. She exemplifies being a life long learner and she lives her life embodying limitless possibilities. I can’t think of a better way to honour Fleurette’s 90th birthday than to support other learners stepping into furthering their education.

“Second, I was blessed to receive a small inheritance from my grandmother, Irma Kaltio, when she died at 97 years old. As soon as I received it, I knew it was going to fund my master’s degree with the Graduate Institute for Transformative Learning. Furthering my education was the best way I could honour my grandmother. It would have been a struggle to fund further studies without her gift to me. So donating to a scholarship fund so that others may be able to pursue their studies is a way of passing on this blessing.
“Finally, as a recent graduate of GIFTL, I want anyone who has the desire to participate, to be able to do so. It was a dream come true for me and was a truly transformative learning journey. I look forward to the contribution recipients of these scholarships will make to the GIFTL community and the world.”

– Darcy Kaltio

5. Meet Your Mentors

Here are three of our 33 spectacular mentors. Meet them all online on the GIFTLearning Faculty page, or just zoom in on these three.
Sam Crowell round

Sam Crowell

  • University of Virginia, Ed.D. 1992
  • Radford University, M.S.
  • Carson-Newman College, B.A.
Main Interests:
Education for Sustainable Development, Instructional Leadership in Higher Education, Brain-Based Learning Principles, Meaning-Centered Curriculum, Integrated Curriculum, Holistic Education.
Zachary Oliver round

Zachary Oliver

  • Argosy University/Hawaii, Ed.D. 2009
Main Interests:
Student-centric learning environments, multiple intelligences and transformative learning, educational leadership
Beth Sutton round

Beth Sutton

  • Antioch University, New England, M.Ed. 1990
Main Interests
Enki Education, developmental-immersion mastery, arts-integrated learning, multicultural education, holistic education, Exploring the educational ecosystem
Is self-directed learning a good fit for you?

6. Time to play? Take this seriously silly quiz

Got time for a one-minute silly quiz?

On the silly side...

Check out this just-for-giggles quiz that we created. Is self-directed learning a good fit for you? The questions are incredibly unscientific and completely without rationale, but complete it (it takes less than a minute) and get your score. You'll find it's hilariously accurate!

Make time for play!
Remember to follow us on our NEW Facebook page, and our NEW Twitter page, where we will always be posting the latest. You can also visit us on Youtube.

Words to live by

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

Harriet Tubman
Appendix A: Survey Results in detail.


The highest representation came from women in their 20's. The strong majority of survey respondents were female (80%). Most were between 20 and 40, with 54% in their 20's, and 39% between 30 and 49. Three respondents (7%) were under 20. There were no respondents over 50.

The respondents were overwhelmingly from North America (80%). Almost half of the respondents were from Canada (46%), and the other significantly represented population came from the United States (34%). The other respondents came from Europe (2), Central America (1), Latin America (1), Brazil (1), Thailand (1), Indonesia (1) and Australia (1).

An total of 78% said they they have used technology for learning. That said, 20% (8 people) said they had not. That may not reflect their connectivity online, though, as the question was specific to building learning communities. One person responded “Other,” without any clarification.


Self Concerns: Of the respondents, a strong majority were concerned with finances (41%). Other concerns paled in comparison, with health measuring in at 22%, family at 17% and aging at 5%. Under the category of “Other” were community, creativity, work/life balance, well-being (ie, all of the above), and one said they were concern-free (ie, concerned about “nothing”).

World Concerns: When it came to external issues, Climate Change was the easy leader (32%). Following that were the education crisis (20%), social justice (10%) and political turmoil (10%), and 29% listed other concerns. These include identity and connection (4), a combination of the listed items, social justice, the wealth-gap, pollution, and environmental sustainability.

Time of Life

When asked how they like to best spend their time, 39% indicated collaboration with other change agents, 32% preferred travel. Two selected “serving others,” and one would like to unplug. Under other, respondents indicated a mixed preference for interaction, and one preferred medication and solitude, another indicated “writing.” Home life and family was mentioned twice, and learning and meeting people was mentioned once.

When asked how they see themselves at this stage in their life, the strongest response was “Unfolding their Legacy” (29%) and “Other” (also 29%). The “Other” responses included a combination of the provided choices, one said “Happy,” one said “Learning,” one said “Being a mother at last!” The concept of learning and transition was a common denominator. One in ten was lonely, while two in ten considered themselves connected.


Isolation is not a concern, and while connected, respondents would like to get even more connected.
Peer-to-peer connection: When it comes to connecting with people in their own generation in a satisfying manner, 65% had either weekly (41%) or daily (24%) frequency. Just 20% connected only about once a month, and 14% indicated greater isolation in their selection of seldom (12%) or never (2%, or one person).

Intergenerational connections were somewhat lower, with 41% connecting either weekly (24%) or daily (17%). The highest rate of connection was at least once a month (39%), and 20% indicating seldom. No one indicated “Never.”

Almost half of the respondents seek like-minded connections online (49%). The remainder benefit primarily from meetups (15%). Only one person (2%) indicated that they get their information from libraries. Under the “Other” category, 34% of the respondents indicated multiple resources, including a combination of places, community programs, and conferences and networking events. Only one person indicating that they don't seek connection at all.

A strong majority indicated that their most meaningful engagement is made with a spouse or partner (46%). The second most popular category was with a friend (20%), followed by colleague (17%) and forums (2). Other meaningful connections included mostly a combination of all choices.

When asked if they would like to meet more like-minded people, the overwhelming response was a strong and resounding YES (71%) followed by the majority of the remainder saying Maybe (17%). The remaining 12% said Depends (7%) and No (5%).

Intergenerational learning

When it comes to the appeal of intergenerational learning, what appeals most to survey respondents has more to do with different life experiences than to age. Overwhelmingly, a strong majority (59%) preferred to learn from others with different life experiences. Age (youth had a 2% appeal and elders held 10%) and culture (5%) were relatively insignificant as an appeal.

Mentoring and Learning

Interested in being a mentor, but enthusiasm grows lukewarm when it comes to elders-in-training
When asked if they would like to get involved as a mentor and share their area of expertise, a majority (65%) selected an affirmative response, with 41% saying Yes and 24% saying Maybe. Just under a third (29%) wanted more information, and these have all been contacted by email. Only 5% definitively selected No.

Interest in taking an online course on being an elder in the 21st century was met with lukewarm interest, with 66% selecting maybe. This lukewarm response makes sense, given that over half of the respondents were in their 20's and most of the others were in their 40's, and there some interest in learning from others with different world experiences.

The lukewarm response continues when asked if they want to help elders-in-training become aware of what it means to be aging in the 21st century. Again, most respondents won't be in a position to share their experience on aging as they are predominantly under 50.
Graphic 01 - Ver 4-favicons
facebook twitter youtube 
Graduate Institute for Transformative Learning

6449 Old Pietila Road; PO Box 57, Clinton, WA 98236
Toll-free 1 (855) 966-3379