Learning and teaching virtuous gratitude

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Gratitude has been widely regarded by philosophers, psychologists and educational theorists as a personal and/or pro-social response of some moral significance. Indeed, beyond its more obvious value as a basic form of social association and reciprocation, gratitude has also been conceived as a moral virtue—if not, more grandly, as a ‘parent of the virtues’. Insofar, one might also expect the promotion of gratitude to be a matter of some educational importance. Despite this, and notwithstanding recent psychological attempts to develop practical interventions designed to promote gratitude, this paper argues not just that the educational role of such interventions is open to serious question, but also that—beyond any requirement of the young to express thanks as a matter of routine social reciprocation—the status of gratitude as an educable virtue is more complex and problematic than has often been previously supposed.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)766-781
Number of pages16
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2015