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Helping Students Learn to Express Gratitude

admin | Monday, November 14, 2016

It’s National Gratitude Month, but what is gratitude?

For starters, it’s more than saying “thank you.” Some say it’s a state of being, like the ability to see the silver lining in any situation. Research has shown that your perspective, reactions, and responses are better served when filtered through a lens of gratitude. When what you say, do and receive is met with gratitude, your health improves, stress levels comes down, your mood is lightened, and you feel good about being able to appreciate a person or situation. But gratitude doesn’t just happen. Learning a few coping strategies for dealing with unpleasant feelings and situations go a long way toward  achieving goals and being grateful for the bumps and bruises that line your path.

Students in early adolescence who are transitioning from a self-centered perspective to a group-sensitive perspective might not wholly be able to grasp the concept of gratitude, but Career & College Clubs can help. Through peer-to-peer learning, Career & College Clubs helps students develop a range of social-emotional skills such as self- and social- awareness. In doing so, the foreign concept [for a middle schooler] of expressing gratitude can begin to come into focus.

Vicki Zakrzewski, Ph.D. Education Director, Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) says, “Social-emotional learning (SEL) uses an “outside-in” approach, teaching students skills that help them to work with their emotions in healthy ways and to build positive relationships. Mindfulness, on the other hand, uses an “inside-out” approach, helping students to become aware of and then embody the connection between their emotions, thoughts, and bodily sensations.” In her blog post, Three Gratitude Lessons for K-8 Classrooms, Dr. Zakrzewski shares age-appropriate lessons from The Inner Resilience Program (IRP), that mesh SEL with mindfulness so that students are able to reap the benefits of being grateful.

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To read Dr. Zakrzewski’s blog post: Three Gratitude Lessons for K-8 Classrooms, click here.

To view Career & College Clubs’ previously recorded webinar Middle Grade Mindset: Elevating Social-Emotional Skills Through Peer-to-Peer Learning, click here.

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