So, Then, Does Forgiveness Education Work?
Short answer: Yes.
Some of our latest findings, soon to appear on this website, are these:
A recent study on forgiveness education, published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, was done with middle school students in Korea who are bullied and who do the bullying. The results showed that our forgiveness program helped these students reduce in anger and hostile attribution, and increase in empathy. Their academic grades improved and they reduced in behavioral aggression and delinquency. Some of these adolescents were in a correctional facility for their aggressive behavior.
And here are some quotations from school administrators and teachers who have used our forgiveness education curricula:
“The work of Professor Enright has helped us develop the life skills of hundreds of children in North Belfast and is continuing to impact on their lives.” Claire Hillman, Principal, Ligoniel Primary School, Belfast, Northern Ireland
“As teachers we are always promoting the positive attributes and virtues we wish those in our care to portray. The Forgiveness (Education) Programme consolidated our aspirations for kindness, generosity, sharing and understanding. It gave us an extra tool to enhance our pupils’ experiences.” Gary Trainor, Vice Principal, Mercy Primary School, Belfast.
Dinah McManus, Principal, Holy Family Primary School, Belfast, has dubbed Holy Family as a ‘Forgiving School’ because they have imbedded the virtue of forgiveness into their school ethos. Mrs. McManus states, “I can say with confidence and some pride that in creating a ‘forgiveness ethos’ in Holy Family we have provided our children with a very nurturing environment which reflects the essential elements of our Mission Statement: We are a living Faith community, centred on the Gospel values of love, justice and forgiveness, within which each member of our school community is valued and respected.”
“The Forgiveness Education Programme has spent the past ten years dedicated to helping children, schools and communities develop a better understanding of what it means to value all people, to understand our own and others’ humanity and to practice respect, kindness, generosity and forgiveness.” Becki Fulmer, The Corrymeela Community, Belfast
“I will continue to teach the program every year until I retire as I only see HUGE positive life-changing behavior changes in the students who are touched by the program. My wish is that all students in Milwaukee Public Schools and other districts could be touched in some way by the powerful message the program delivers.” Amy Domagalski, teacher, Milwaukee Public Schools
Yes, it works. The IFI has taken great pains to show that it does work. It is something that seems to have been missed throughout human history. Have you ever heard of this—forgiveness education—until now?
I agree with Samantha. What a gift this is to children. The world needs to catch this vision as a gift to the next generation and the next and on it goes.
Do the children learn about justice and fairness together? Forgiveness by itself might lead to exploitation by bullies.
Hello, Sophita. Yes, in every teacher guide on forgiveness we emphasize that the students should never put up with injustice. The lessons have questions to help the students understand that forgiveness and justice must be side-by-side. Practicing just forgiveness can distort what forgiveness is. The students will understand this as they progress in the lessons even as early as ages 4-6.
It is rare to have what scientists call “evidence-based” instruction. By this I mean that the curriculum has been appropriately scientifically-tested and found to be effective in the ways that the theorists and curriculum writers intend. This forgiveness curriculum is evidence-based instruction because of all the journal articles published showing it to be so.