Kerry is passionate about the role gratitude can play in enhancing not only our own personal wellbeing, but also our relationships with others and improvement of society as a whole. Her research has shown that gratitude has a particular role in improving teaching and learning and she has published several academic papers that report on her findings in the areas of school leadership and teaching, pre-service teacher education, indigenous education, and academic learning.

Kerry’s book, Gratitude in Education: A Radical View is the first full text to be written on this topic, and has been hailed by reviewers around the world as “ground-breaking”.

Kerry has presented her work at nine universities and eighteen schools, some of which have taken up action research projects that further explore the place of gratitude in these contexts. She has won several national and institutional awards for her contribution to teaching and research.

At the invitation of the Tasmanian Principals Association, Kerry co-facilitated a book club that focused on Gratitude in Education: A Radical View for twelve school principals. The reported deep learning and collegiality that developed in this forum led to three other principal book clubs. This process was then adopted at three different book club groups for academics and general staff at the University of Tasmania as part of a Fellowship that Kerry was awarded in 2014. There have now been eighteen book clubs formed around Kerry’s book, the most recent being one for academics at Queensland University of Technology. Kerry uses the book club process to teach her unit on Gratitude in Education which is offered to postgraduate students and teacher professionals as a Spring School elective at the University of Tasmania.

Kerry has been an invited speaker at several national and international forums, and gave a TEDx presentation “How thanking awakens our thinking”, as well as a presentation at a Mind and its Potential conference. In June 2015 Kerry was invited by an NGO to speak at the United Nations in New York on the relationship between gratitude and human dignity. While in South Africa as a visiting scholar in 2014 she gave several keynote addresses in Pretoria and Durban. She was an invited presenter at the Positive Schools Conferences in 2015 and 2016, and the Australian Principals Conference in 2015, as well as the Australian Institute of Sport Now-Best-Next Summit in 2016. Kerry’s work has also contributed to the development of the Positive Education program at Geelong Grammar School that has now been offered to over 1,000 schools.

Kerry is an academic and teacher educator in the University of Tasmania (UTAS) Faculty of Education, teaching in the areas of gratitude in education, professional studies, practitioner research, and teacher leadership.

Portrait of Kerry Howells, author and academic