Learning and Teaching Virtuous Gratitude

David Carr*, Blaire Morgan, Liz Gulliford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


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
Article number6
Pages (from-to)766
Number of pages781
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number6
Early online date30 Nov 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Nov 2015


  • gratitude
  • psychological intervention
  • virtue
  • character


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