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Creative Learning: The Mandala as Teaching Exercise
Margaret Cole Marshall, MS, APRN, BC

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.


Received: June 20, 2002 Accepted: May 19, 2003 Ms. Marshall is Assistant Professor, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas. Address correspondence to Margaret Cole Marshall, MS, APRN, BC, Assistant Professor, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, 7702 Floyd Curl Drive, MC 7951, San Antonio, TX 78229; e-mail:

aculty in undergraduate education are finding the need to address teaching strategies that focus on students’ learning styles, technological expertise, and critical thinking abilities. Three domains of learning—cognitive, psychomotor, and affective—are used in undergraduate education, but the primary focus is often on the cognitive domain, which involves the transmission of…...

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