Where does gratitude fit in with your daily interactions with students and colleagues?
Showing gratitude, according to the research, has many positive effects; it improves sleep, mental strength, physical and mental health, and enhances empathy and self-esteem (Morin, 2014). And students who attend classes where their instructors choose to embed gratitude practices in their classes report experiencing a positive and calm attitude, lessened stress, focus in learning, and effort even in the face of challenges (Wilson, 2018).
How does this research connect with you right now? It’s the end of the term and you’re so looking forward to the upcoming break between semesters. You’ve steeled yourself for the emails and conversations that students may be gearing up for as final marks are posted that may prompt them to question the computation of their final grades. Ah, . . . and then you rotate your perception to embrace the learning conversations that can take place when you invite students to “tea time” (aka office hours) to discuss any questions they may have about the final exam, the course, etc.
And these conversations provide the space for expressions of gratitude. According to Howells (2004), the practice of gratitude can be profound for both faculty and students, applied to any academic subject, and essential to enriching the university community. These conversations with students also prompt you to think about how you might incorporate some gratitude exercises in your classes. You try to decide on the gratitude jar, the gratitude tree, or a gratitude walk together with your class at the end of the term. Perhaps one of these ideas might resonate with you and your students, or you might find the following resources helpful as they provide a plethora of information about gratitude and activities for incorporating gratitude into your classroom activities, your life, and your workplace.
Enjoy a well-deserved break and the CTE looks forward to seeing you in 2022!
Chowdhury, M. R. (2021, October 9). The neuroscience of gratitude and how it affects anxiety and grief.
Howells, K. (2004) The role of gratitude in higher education, in Transforming Knowledge into Wisdom, Proceedings of the 27th HERDSA Annual Conference, Miri, Sarawak, 4-7 July 2004: pp 164.
Morin, A. (2014, November 23). 7 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude that will motivate you to give thanks year-round. Forbes.
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