Practicing contemplative gratitude in university classrooms: Student learning and happiness outcomes


  • Carey Marie Noland Northeastern University
  • Cigdem Talgar Northeastern University
  • Jesica Speed-Wiley Northeastern University
  • Jacob Depue Northeastern University


contemplative pedagogy, classroom emotions, teacher communication competence, gratitude, happiness


In the midst of college environments thick with questions about learning environments, post-collegiate happiness, and building future learners, this study provides evidence that a simple and intentional gratitude practice positively impacts student learning and student happiness. 103 undergraduate students and three instructors participated in this semester-long experiment. Infusing the classroom environment with a brief practice of gratitude and listening positively impacts the overall effect of the classroom learning environment when dealing with curriculum unrelated to gratitude or happiness. Additionally, these results provide support that students report themselves to be happier, in relationship to the class, their semester, and more generally, when participating in a class that features a gratitude and listening practice as part of its class routine. 

Author Biographies

Carey Marie Noland, Northeastern University

Carey Marie Noland is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Northeastern University.


Cigdem Talgar, Northeastern University

Cigdem Talgar is Assistant Vice-Provost of Teaching and Learning at Northeastern University.

Jesica Speed-Wiley, Northeastern University

Jesica Speed-Wiley is a Visiting Lecturer at Northeastern University.

Jacob Depue, Northeastern University

Jacob Depue is a Visiting Lecturer at Northeastern University.


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