Life Outside the Box Learning Institute

 From Grade 1 to graduate school, traditional tutoring to innovative learning support, online and face-to-face, Life Outside the Box can help you love learning.

Dr. Jessica Motherwell McFarlane, Ph.D.

Teaching Excellence Award Winner, JIBC


Strong beginning. Newly expanded.

Life Outside the Box began at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. For two years we served at-risk youth in various schools around B.C. We observed consistently positive learning outcomes — especially for struggling students    and received high praise from the teachers whose classes we visited. Life Outside the Box now has an expanded 60-lesson curriculum* and new one-to-one and small group learning support services. 

Who can benefit from Life Outside the Box tutoring and mentoring services?

Children, youth, and young adults who:

  • Need some help with lesson assignments (written in English)
  • Are discouraged or disempowered around school work
  • Need customized lesson support to accommodate neural diversity or accessibility needs
  • Have anxiety around learning and find it hard to make it to school or campus

Where are the sessions? At a nearby library, North Shore learning studio, or via Skype or other web conference app.

More about Jessica Motherwell McFarlane, Ph.D. Please click on these links to read more about my award winning professional work in education. My credentials. My previous professional workshops for educators. My conference presentations

Evidence-based learning strategies. Read my recent published article that presents the research evidence for the “drawing effect” and other benefits of multimodal, arts-based learning. 

Motherwell McFarlane, J.A. (2019). Using visual narratives (comics) to increase literacy and highlight stories of social justice: Awakening to Truth and Reconciliation. Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, 12, 46–59.

Coming soon.

  • NEW – After school “how to make comics” club.
  • NEW – Harry Potter weekly reading group (all ages). We transfigure Harry’s adventures into stick figure scenes and co-create our own Harry Potter comic books.
  • NEW – Adult reading group analyzes their chosen book using Life Outside the Box visual narrative (making-comics) techniques

Life Outside the Box is dedicated to safe classroom practices. (criminal records check available upon request)

Office phone (leave message): 604-980-0160


Dr. Jessica Motherwell McFarlane is a professional education consultant on gender, anti-oppression and social justice issues and a research associate at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. She is also the developer and director of the Life Outside the Box program that uses visual narratives as a way to SEE conflict and injustice from new perspectives. Jessica facilitates groups and schools needing to have complex — and sometimes emotionally painful — conversations. She offers workshops to at-risk children, youth, and adults on: Truth and Reconciliation, transforming bullying situations, and rehearsing best practices for self-care, inclusivity, and kindness.

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