It is pretty normal for the adult learners in my classes to be colouring a mandala while they sit in class. My mother the school teacher, would have a fit. Every time I pass them out to the class and give them the pencil crayons I can hear her scolding, “Put down those pencils and pay attention.”
In fact picking up the pencils and doodling or colouring may actually cause people to learn better. There is science to back me up on this but my simple explanation is that when we colour or draw while listening we are forcing the use of both sides of our brain and therefore we are actually able to concentrate more fully.
In classes of adult learners I have had people report they have never been able to stay awake in class so easily. As much as I would like to attribute that to my clever teaching style I think it is more likely that they are colouring and therefore able to stay awake.
What I hand out to colour are mandalas. The circular patterns are based on an ancient tradition of sand drawing used by Buddist and Hindu in mediation. They represent unity and the universe to some but for me they provide wonderful designs which allow people to express their individuality with colour and creativity. Mandalas hold a great deal of meaning and symbolism. They are commonly used for tatoos and you may find different cultural interpretation including Tibetian, and Celtic on this page. The free mandala colouring pages are the ones I use in training.
An internet article about the mandala says, “The design of the mandala is supposed to be visually appealing so as to absorb the mind in such a way that irritating thoughts are unable to get through and a spiritual essence surrounds the individual observing the mandala, which in turn allows the individual a higher consciousness or awareness, almost as though being hypnotized. This allows the busy mind to take a break while the creative mind is allowed to run free.” (More on the site.)
The other day I read an article in the Star about how adult colouring books are becoming top sellers in book stores. I am not surprised. As an only child I spent many hours in front of a colouring book. My own children also sat around the kitchen table for many hours with colouring books. Entering the newspaper colouring contests for special seasons was great sport. I notice my grocery store has reintroduced the colouring contest as well and it’s fun to look at the picture lining the walls in front of the check out.
I think colouring books and pencil crayons are going to be on my list of adult gifts this year. If you find some good resources for them let me know and I’ll post it on my River of Hope Facebook page.