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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Teaching Gratitude

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Now that it’s November, most minds in the United States are turning to Thanksgiving, even if malls across America are trying to skip it straight for Christmas. Since this time of year is so much about giving thanks, one of the things we as teachers can do is to teach our students the importance of expressing thanks and gratitude.

According to this research study https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022440507000386?np=y expressing gratitude simply in the form of counting blessings “seems to be an effective intervention for well-being enhancement.” Many people seem to suggest the idea of keeping some form of Gratitude Journal will help you increase your social-emotional health.

What things have you done with your students to help them develop gratitude and share it with others?

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program

Did you know you can't feel gratitude and despair at the same time? When the teachers I coach (the closest thing I have to "students" these days) get mired in the hopelessness of the educational landscape, we play TTDS (Things That Don't Suck)- a game I gleefully stole from your old Edcamp session. I ask them to think of things that are good, things that they can appreciate, things that make them happy. After we've been at it for awhile, we talk about how a shift in focus results in a shift in what you see.

Lisa Dabbs's picture
Lisa Dabbs
Educational Consultant. Author. Speaker. Blogger.

Think that in order to be able to support students to experience Gratitude, we as adults must do work with this first. As a principal I used to post gratitude bulletin boards in the staff room at this time of year and ask all staff to take a leaf, write something they were grateful for on it and post it to the board. The simple act of having to take the time to think about your own situation, and find at least one thing to be grateful for, is a process that we need to participate in. As the founder of new teacher chat #ntchat on twitter, we have used the topic of "What are your grateful for?" and found it to be supportive for our participants.

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