Mandalas originate from Buddhism and, despite their mystical and spiritual significance, they are an entertaining and useful tool to work with students at a cognitive, emotional, and behavioural level.
The word “mandala,” means perfect circle in Sanskrit, and the images are frequently used in Hindu and Buddhist philosophies. Creating mandalas helps promote attention and concentration in students and helps them work on their patience, perseverance, and persistence.
Multiple studies show that cultivating these skills is vital to achieving success in life. Unfortunately, this is difficult to ensure nowadays when more and more teenagers are increasingly emotionally fragile due to the age of immediacy they live in, partially because of the Internet and new technologies.
Some of the benefits of using mandalas are:
- They foster creativity and imagination through art.
- They improve fine motor skills by demanding a high level of dexterity.
- They allow more body control, especially fingers, hands, and arms.
Mar Milán, an Educational Coach and teacher of the Express your emotions Programme at EISBarcelona, shared her experience with us: “This sort of activity is perfect for children who are a bundle of energy or who find it hard to concentrate. At first, they are not especially attracted by this activity because they find it “boring” or “unattractive,” but this is the real challenge, thus the real learning opportunity. For all these kids who are overexposed to screens and the Internet, it is an activity they are not used to, without so much external overstimulation, which makes it hard for them. However, once they get used to it, they like it and even enjoy it, because, in their own words: “it gives me peace, it relaxes me.”
This teacher sees the benefits of using mandalas every day with the students in the emotional education extracurricular activity. “When a student is nervous, too excited or senses one of my “lower the energy” looks, he immediately asks for a time out and says: “I’m going to go paint a mandala to calm myself.” This clearly shows how students can learn to cope with their emotions and to self-regulate.