Cross-cultural gratitude

15 December, 2016

Lessons learned about gratitude during my visit to Singapore

Recently I had the privilege of presenting a keynote address and workshop at the Positive Schools Conference in Singapore. There were over 250 educators and school leaders from 14 different countries in attendance. Most of these were from the Asian region. As I am passionate about understanding and uncovering the cross-cultural dimensions of gratitude, including the underlying complexities, this was a great educational opportunity for me. The day before the conference began, I was also fortunate to present a workshop on the role of gratitude in adult education at the Adult Learning Institute of Singapore. Where the participants had thought […]
11 September, 2016

Chinese students practising gratitude in Australian boarding schools

The Masters of Teaching student from mainland China mentioned in my previous blog – who I gave the pseudonym Nancy – also related how she is trying to help her students practise gratitude in culturally appropriate ways. Nancy has a job in a school boarding house where she offers pastoral care and language teaching support to international students. She was concerned that most students who come from mainland China had not been taught by their parents how to verbalise gratitude, and so she often felt that she was teaching them about this as a parent would teach a young child who […]
7 September, 2016

What we can learn about gratitude from the martial art of kendo?

Before they start their practice or competition, those who are training in the martial art of kendo bow to the room to thank it for allowing them to train, they bow to thank their sensei, their teacher. They also bow to thank their competitors or fellow practitioners. They go through the same process at the end of the competition. I believe we can bring many of the same principles into our practice of deep gratitude. I have developed a theory called “A State of Preparedness” – explained in detail in my TEDx Talk: How thanking awakens our thinking. I argue […]
5 September, 2016

Gratitude in the context of Chinese international students

Gratitude is so important to the way we communicate that if we don’t express it in culturally meaningful ways, major misunderstandings can occur. I believe that teaching international students how to express gratitude is really important if they are to assimilate well into society, and equally so it is important for those who are teaching these students to understand how to express gratitude to them. In her wonderful book The Gift of Thanks: The Roots and Rituals of Gratitude, social anthropologist Margaret Visser explores the French word for gratitude, which is reconnaissance – to recognise. When we recognise another for […]