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Developing a culture of gratitude

Cultivating a culture of gratitude is one of our approaches to building the characters of our pupils and helping them to be a better version of themselves. 

Homeira Zakary, Principal of The George Eliot School

Being grateful does not come naturally and is a behaviour that needs to be taught and practised frequently, to become a lifetime habit.

There are aspects of society that endorse a sense of entitlement and taking things for granted.  We model showing gratitude to our pupils and teach them why, how and what to be grateful for. 

We tell them that “It is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy”1.

We teach our pupils that in adverse times, we stay positive and grateful, not for the adversity, but for the resilience to be able to deal with the difficulties, for our friends, teachers and others who help us to deal with the situations and support us.

Our pupils show their appreciation to their class teachers at the end of each lesson and then again at the end of the day they show their gratitude to someone who has done something for them.  This act of gratitude impacts on how they feel about themselves and others.  When people are grateful, they become more compassionate, generous and the best they can be.

Our teachers model this behaviour by thanking pupils at the end of each lesson, these are not empty words or taken lightly.  They are grateful for having the opportunity to share their knowledge, for having pupils who are engaged and focused.  Our teachers show their gratitude regularly to the systems in place which allow them to teach well behaved classes and also develop their resilience and support them when necessary.  Appreciation for what we receive and what others do for us improves relationships and starts a cycle of positive feedback. 

We have planted the seeds of gratitude and put in place a powerful culture and dedicated staff to nurture them.  The fruit will be happier, more focused and fulfilled young people who will serve their community to the best of their ability.

1-David Steindl-rast