Evidence That It Works
A study of mainly affluent white students who were taught “benefit appraisal”—or a thinking process that helps them consider why a person did a kind act for them, what the cost to the person was, and what benefits the students received from it—found that students experienced more positive emotions and showed more grateful attitudes and behaviors than other students, both immediately and months later.
Why Does It Matter?
Learning about historical persons who have contributed to society is a ubiquitous school experience; however taking the time to think deeply about these persons’ motivations and sacrifices is a unique way to deepen students’ understanding and appreciation for the difference these people made. Indeed, students themselves may be inspired by the process to use their own strengths—and ultimately their lives—to make the world a better place.