The importance of forgiveness: How can psychological research inform educational practice?

Assignment type: Essay
Author: Tara Diebel
Submitted: May 2012

Forgiveness is a process of cognitive, behavioural and emotional change towards a transgression. It can be seen as a positive psychological resource to interpersonal harm. This essay examines the importance of forgiveness by examining why it is related to increased wellbeing and positive relationships. It then examines how the research on forgiveness can be related to children and adolescents. There has been much investigation on forgiveness and forgiveness interventions with adults, however the research on forgiveness with children and adolescents is still an emerging area. In order for schools to effectively promote forgiveness, an understanding of the developmental prerequisites of forgiveness and how children understand the construct of forgiveness is essential. There is currently limited research on the effectiveness of forgiveness education and intervention in schools. This essay will examine how schools can promote forgiveness at three different levels: a whole school preventative approach, targeted interventions and informal responses to transgressions. Future research is needed to determine the most effective method of fostering forgiveness in a school setting. Implications for Educational Psychologists are discussed.

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