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Helping Yourself Learn cartoon strip

Student Kit

This interactive kit includes animations, activities, and resources to help you explore why you may find learning hard, and discover ways to help yourself learn.

Helping Myself Learn

Be creative

Explore and express yourself in different ways. You might try keeping a journal, or listening to, or creating, music. You may find playing with some sort of visual art—for example drawing, painting, creating collage, or modelling clay—can shift your mood, explore where your feelings come from, or express feelings, thoughts and experiences for which you have no words. If you practice moving your body, or meditating regularly, you may find you can reduce your anxiety; you may be able to ground and focus yourself so you can explore your past, and/or learn more effectively in the present.

VideoYou can go to the Taking Care of Self section and explore the section titled “Create and Express” to find some exercises to prompt you to explore.

Below you will find some examples of how others have used these different creative forms to help them learn more effectively.

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VideoHave you tried keeping a journal? Many people find it helps them to express their thoughts, to clear the mind to focus on other things, to settle and ground themselves for learning.

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Music can comfort us, help us express our feelings, or help us tell our story.

Pounding out the Pain
An article from the Utne Reader about how women in Rwanda are using drumming (traditionally a men’s art form) to cope and hope after 1994’s genocide in that country.

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Visual Arts

Visual arts Art can help us unblock our learning, tell our stories, and comfort ourselves. An easy way to get started is to use magazine pictures to create collages. Or you may enjoy photography, drawing and painting, and playing with clay.

Art as a Pathway to Learning (PDF file - 730k)
Reading and writing are not the only ways in. Laura Coutts uses visual art as a way to break through big blocks and come out the other side of them, into learning. She says that images are a relief from having to use words, and creating them is a key to self esteem.

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Resistance, Renewal, and Rebirth (PDF file - 194k)
Liz Lambert took a course for survivors of violence where she created “vessels of hope” and so explored her strength and revealed the power of the changes she has brought about in her life.

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VideoBaby Blue
Watch this video to see how one woman used pictures to help her reconnect with her wounded self in the aftermath of child abuse.

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VideoIn Search of a Story
Sometimes we can’t name our demons but using visual arts can help us slay them. Jenny Horsman talks about using images to uncover, and move on, from her past.

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Comfort Collages
Students at Parkdale Project Read in Toronto made these collages with images that bring them comfort.

* If you hold your cursor over a slide, it will not change to the next picture until you remove it.

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Activity To DoMovement


When we bring our body and mind together we may feel more centred and grounded and ready to learn.

Why does balancing the body and mind help you learn? (PDF file - 84k). Read how movement can make a difference to learning.

Try out a posture that can help us feel strong and grounded: Warrior

Try out more movement in the Gathering Strength section of Taking Care of Self.

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Activity To DoTraining our minds to be quiet and still can make it easier to settle and learn. Read about and try meditation here. (PDF file 84k)

More resources on meditation are in the Gathering Strength section of Taking Care of Self.

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