A Course in Miracles: Utilizing Literacy Strategies to Make Meaning of the Course

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This is my well worn copy of A Course in Miracles published by the

Foundation for Inner Peace

Learning is learning despite the content.

Individuals may have different learning styles yet the end objective is to acquire new (or modify existing) knowledge, behaviors, skills or values. Educators and educational researchers know that learning does not happen all at once. It builds upon and is shaped by previous knowledge and experiences. It is also molded by attitudes, values and beliefs. However, the one constant for a favorable outcome is the desire or willingness to learn. Without this aspiration, there can be little to no success.

What does this have to do with A Course in Miracles? The Course is presented by Jesus as a curriculum.  A means by which the manner of acting and interacting may be altered in order to find peace and remember the Truth. This particular method of “changing one’s mind” and thereby changing one’s decisions is accomplished through reading/listening, comprehending and applying.

Yes, students of ACIM are embarking on a journey of learning. Yet, at the outset, many new Course students get easily discouraged and give up. Whether it be the wording, the sentence structure, or the different use of terms that causes discouragement is difficult to say. But a sentiment in some manifestation of the following is heard over-and-over, “I started to read it but couldn’t understand it so I put the book down.”

As a student and teacher of the Course and as a former public school teacher, I can’t help but think, “There must be another way.” There must be another way of encouraging beginning, as well as seasoned students to make meaning of the life-changing teachings of the Course. Here’s another way: utilizing literacy strategies in order to make meaning of the content.

No matter what learners are asked to learn or to become literate in, the strategies remain the same. One may become a literate reader, a literate mathematician, a literate artist, a literate athlete, a literate linguist, etc. Although the content may differ, the process of making meaning remains the same.

Literacy Strategies:

  • Connect

  • Predict

  • Visualize

  • Summarize

  • Question

  • Evaluate

Using literacy strategies with A Course in Miracles:

I’m going to present a passage from the Text of ACIM to use as an example throughout the demonstration of my point:

T-16.6:1 Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

Connect past learning and experiences to new learning:

  • Ask yourself: “What are examples in my life when I have built barriers to prevent myself from getting to know another person? How did I feel as a result?”

  • Ask yourself: “When did someone build barriers to keep me out of his/her life? How did this affect our relationship?”

  • Then ask yourself: “How do these examples better help me understand section T-16.6:1 of the Course?”

Predict: Make predictions as to what would happen if you were to build barriers? Then, make predictions about tearing down barriers.

  • Ask yourself: “If I keep ignoring my new neighbors because they aren’t like me, what effect will that have on community-building in our neighborhood?

  • Ask yourself: “Every time my partner begins to say something I’m uncomfortable with, I have the tendency to put up my hand for him/her to stop talking? How would our relationship be better if I discontinued this pattern?

  • Then ask yourself, “How do these examples better help me understand section T-16.6:1 of the Course?”

Visualize: Visualize yourself building barriers and breaking down barriers

  • Ask yourself, “When I quiet my mind and envision myself ignoring others, staying away from strangers, breaking off communication with my partner, what do I see happening with others? with myself? What do I feel when this happens?

  • Ask yourself, “When I quiet my mind and envision myself extending myself to others, reaching out to others, what do I see happening to them? To myself? How do I feel when this happens? How do they react?”

  • Then ask yourself, “How do these examples better help me understand section T-16.6:1 of the Course?”

Summarize: After reading a sentence or a paragraph, stop, reflect and summarize it in your own words.

  • Ask yourself, “While I’m reading the newspaper or an on-line article, stop after either the first sentence or first paragraph and ask myself, “What did I just read? What is the author trying to say? How could I rephrase that? What meaning do I make from that?”

  • Ask yourself, “After that conversation with __________ what did s/he actually say? What did s/he mean? If I were to summarize what ____________ said, what would I say?”

  • Then ask yourself, “How do these examples better help me understand section T-16.6:1 of the Course?”

Question: Everything!

  • Ask yourself, “What did the President mean when he said that? Do I agree?”

  • Ask yourself, “What did my partner mean when s/he said that? Do I need more information?

  • Ask yourself, “What did the author mean when s/he wrote that? How could the paragraph above and below provide more meaning? How could the title provide insight? What does the chapter heading mean?

  • Then ask yourself, “How can these examples better help me understand section T-16.6:1 of the Course?”

Evaluate: Take everything into account and determine its relevance, meaning, pertinence, reliability, source, etc.

  • Ask yourself, “I just read this story on Facebook, is it real? Can I trust the author? What’s the original source?”

  • Ask yourself, “I just heard this person speak about global warming. What’s his background and training? His experiences? His sources?”

  • Then ask yourself, “How do these examples better help me understand section T-16.6:1 of the Course?”

A Course in Miracles is one path to enlightenment/salvation/Path to Atonement/the Truth. Each of us has our own learning style, our own way of making meaning of the illusions of this world. We each have our own way of making meaning of the Course. If the above strategies seem like too many to contend with, start with one or two, then move further through the list. Whatever your process, find one that matches your learning style.

This method is simply “another way.”

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This new version of A Course in Miracles is available on the

Circle of Atonement website:

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