About LLL

The Language of Life and LearningTM is...

  • a deck of 700 cards with words and images to help college students and other users capture and convey their experiences of life and learning
  • a booklet of exercises designed to serve as catalysts for conversation and communication

Conversations about our thoughts and feelings are important because…

  • opportunities to explore and share one’s experiences are a core principle in college student development [1]
  • precision in the use of language is a key factor in college student learning [2]
  • effective communication about one’s concerns and feelings in a supportive environment helps to relieve stress [3], facilitate adjustment and adaptation [4], and contribute to resilience [5]
  • communication competence is associated with college students’ academic success and persistence [6]
  • the integration of emotion and cognition is an essential aspect of health brain development during the adolescent and young adult years [7]

Intended users include…

  • students
  • peer advisers, peer mentors, peer counselors, peer tutors
  • athletes, teams, captains, coaches, trainers
  • educators
  • student affairs professionals
  • members of a professional field
  • groups/offices/organizations

Appropriate contexts include…

  • retreats
  • orientations
  • team-building activities
  • problem-solving meetings
  • any meeting intended to deepen the level of conversation among participants

A word of caution and common sense...

Encouraging genuine communication potentially opens the door to rude, inappropriate, angry, distressed, or simply ineffective communication. The Language of Life and LearningTM deck and exercises are intended to be used in structured settings with facilitators who can provide boundaries, interventions, and assistance for ensuring a safe and supportive context for communication.

© 2014 2016 President and Fellows of Harvard College. “The Language of Life and Learning” is a trademark of the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Graphic design by Graciela Galup.

[1] Magolda, Marcia Baxter. Making Their Own Way: Narratives for Transforming Higher Education to Promote Self-Development. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC, 2001.
[2] Light, Richard J. Making the Most of College. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.
[3] Five Tips to Help Manage Stress. American Psychological Association. 2014. Accessed 18 February 2014. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/manage-stress.aspx
[4] Lapore, Stephen J., Jennifer D. Ragan, and Scott Jones. “Talking Facilitates Cognitive-Emotional Processes of Adaptation to an Acute Stressor.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 78.3 (2000): 499-508.
[5] Brooks, Robert and Sam Goldstein. The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2004.
[6] Hawken, Leila, Robert L. Duran, and Lynne Kelly. “The Relationship of Interpersonal Communication Variables to Academic Success and Persistence in College.” Communication Quarterly 39.4 (fall 1991): 297-308.
[7] Immordino-Yang, Mary Hellen and Antonio Damasio. “We Feel, Therefore We Learn: The Relevance of Affective and Social Neuroscience to Education.” Mind, Brain, and Education 1.1 (March 2007): 3-10. Journal Compilation by International Mind, Brain, and Education Society and Blackwell Publishing. Wiley Online Library. Accessed 14 February 2014. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1751-228X.2007.00004.x/pdf