Creative learning: the mandala as teaching exercise

J Nurs Educ. 2003 Nov;42(11):517-9.


Faculty committed to undergraduate education have discovered the need to address teaching strategies that focus on the new generation of students. In teaching an undergraduate course on Nursing the Client with a Mental Illness, the affective domain of learning is used to develop interpersonal competence, self-awareness, and self-reflection. The teaching technique used is an experiential exercise that asks students to create group mandalas using art materials on circular pieces of butcher-block paper. The mandala concept is derived from the Buddhist tradition and means "circle" or "center" in Sanskrit. Carl Jung introduced this technique to the United States and incorporated it into his therapy. As a creative, active learning strategy, the mandalas helped the faculty meet the clinical objectives for the course and the learning needs of a new generation of students. They also helped students learn about Eastern philosophy, group process, self-awareness, and Jungian therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Art*
  • Buddhism*
  • Education, Nursing / methods*
  • Faculty, Nursing
  • Group Processes
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Problem-Based Learning*
  • Students, Nursing
  • Teaching / methods*