A recent pilot study by the Jubilee Centre has shown that a five-week programme of school-based activities promoting compassion and gratitude can have a noticeable effect on pupils’ attitudes and virtue literacy of two key virtues.
As part of the Gratitude and Related Character Virtues project, which is examining how gratitude relates to four other virtues (generosity, compassion, forgiveness and humility) this pilot study sought to establish whether teaching interventions designed to promote one of these virtues has the effect of increasing the others - with the focus here being on compassion and gratitude in a secondary school setting.
The wider project seeks to promote a reinvigorated focus on character and virtues development in schools, with particular reference to emphasising the allocentric (other-focused) virtues mentioned above. The positive results of this initial pilot study, therefore, are extremely encouraging. Individual children’s initial knowledge of compassion and gratitude, as expressed through mind maps, was enriched by the five-week programme, leading to more nuanced diagrammatic representations of the virtues, suggesting wider comprehension and learning.
Dr. Liz Gulliford, Research Fellow on the project, is looking forward to the full-scale research project in the autumn. She says: “Preliminary data shows increasing complexity in young people’s understanding of the concepts of compassion and gratitude. We are encouraged by the early results which appear to show improvements in pupils’ virtue literacy. The pilot suggests the interventions are helping to build a vital bedrock of understanding among young people.”
Read more about the results of the pilot study, and feedback from schools involved, in this blog post.