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Article Contents

I. introduction, iv. autonomy as a basis of law, v. taking autonomy seriously, acknowledgments.

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Understanding Autonomy: An Urgent Intervention

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Samuel Reis-Dennis, PhD, is Assistant Professor in the Alden March Bioethics Institute at Albany Medical College. He earned an MA and PhD in philosophy from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill before spending two years at Johns Hopkins University as a Hecht-Levi Postdoctoral Fellow in the Berman Institute of Bioethics. His primary research interests are in normative ethics and moral psychology and their application to medical ethics. His work has been published in leading journals in bioethics and philosophy, including the Hastings Center Report , the Journal of Medical Ethics , Philosophical Studies , and the Australasian Journal of Philosophy . Dr. Reis-Dennis is also a Clinical Ethics Consultant at Albany Medical Center.

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Samuel Reis-Dennis, Understanding Autonomy: An Urgent Intervention, Journal of Law and the Biosciences , Volume 7, Issue 1, January-June 2020, lsaa037, https://doi.org/10.1093/jlb/lsaa037

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In this paper, I argue that the principle of respect for autonomy can serve as the basis for laws that significantly limit conduct, including orders mandating isolation and quarantine. This thesis is fundamentally at odds with an overwhelming consensus in contemporary bioethics that the principle of respect for autonomy, while important in everyday clinical encounters, must be ‘curtailed’, ‘constrained’, or ‘overridden’ by other principles in times of crisis. I contend that bioethicists have embraced an indefensibly ‘thin’ notion of autonomy that uproots the concept from its foundations in Kantian ethics. According to this thin conception, respect for autonomy, if unconditioned by competing principles (beneficence, justice, non-maleficence) would give competent adults the right to do anything they desired to do so long as they satisfied certain baseline psychological conditions. I argue that the dominant ‘principlist’ model of bioethical reasoning depends on this thin view of autonomy and show how it deprives us of powerful analytical tools that would help us to think seriously about the foundations of human rights, justice, and law. Then, I offer a brief sketch of a ‘thick’, historically grounded notion of autonomy and show what we could gain by taking it seriously.

The principle of respect for autonomy can serve as the basis for social rules and formal laws that significantly limit conduct, including orders mandating isolation and quarantine. This thesis is fundamentally at odds with an overwhelming consensus in contemporary bioethics that autonomy, while important in everyday clinical encounters, must be ‘curtailed’, ‘constrained’, or ‘overridden’ by other principles in times of crisis. This consensus reflects our field’s adoption of an unjustifiably simplistic notion of autonomy, a trend so widespread that we have come to take it for granted. In fact, I believe that the entire landscape of bioethics, including the principlist approach to bioethical reasoning, depends upon it.

In this paper, I will argue that bioethicists have embraced an indefensibly ‘thin’ notion of autonomy that uproots the concept from its foundations in Kantian ethics. According to this thin conception, autonomy, if unconditioned by competing principles (beneficence, justice, non-maleficence) would give competent adults the right to do anything they desired to do so long as they satisfied certain baseline psychological conditions. 1 I will show how the thin understanding might lead us to see respect for autonomy as both a far more demanding and less demanding principle than we would intuitively accept: less demanding because the thin notion implies that if left unchecked by other principles such as beneficence, autonomy would license obviously unethical conduct, and more demanding because the thin view makes it seem as though any and all capacitated patient wishes must carry some of the principle’s moral weight.

This approach to autonomy has always been costly, but never has it been so prevalent and so damaging as it is in the current moment, as we struggle to make sense of our rights and duties in a global pandemic. Indeed, our impoverished understanding of autonomy may be preventing us from living up to our obligations as ethicists. I fear that by failing to rigorously consider and explain autonomy we are confusing those who have turned to us for clear ethical thinking in a time of crisis.

I will begin by explaining the deficiency of the thin conception of autonomy and what we lose by so readily accepting it. Then, I offer a brief sketch of a ‘thick’, historically grounded notion of autonomy. I show how this idea of autonomy could serve as a plausible foundation for laws that limit the behavior of capacitated agents, and I suggest that our insistence on the importance of informed consent implies a commitment to this thick understanding. I then argue that unreflective endorsement of the thin conception leads to a distortion of the ethical field and encourages an unjustifiably hasty submission to consequentialist impulses. More than that, it deprives us of powerful analytical tools that would help us to think seriously about the foundations of social rules, human rights, and justice.


It is now widely believed that no single ethical theory or principle could possibly provide a sufficient account of our considered bioethical judgments. To demonstrate this, books and lectures introducing students to bioethics often begin by reminding their audiences that a pure ethic of beneficence could not explain why flagrant violations of patient rights would be unjustifiable even if such violations maximized welfare. These introductions explain, reasonably, that the basic patient protections we hold dear are plausibly grounded in a right to autonomy and the inviolable dignity that each person possesses as an ‘end in himself’.

The principle of respect for autonomy and the principle of beneficence (which requires acts intended to prevent harm to others) sometimes come into contingent conflict when addressing situations that arise in governmental and professional responses to serious infectious-disease outbreaks, such as severe acquired respiratory syndrome (SARS). Persons exposed to SARS may put other persons at risk. The government, under its public health responsibilities, and various health professionals have an obligation based on beneficence and justice to protect unexposed persons whenever possible. 2

Nancy Kass, in her influential article ‘An Ethics Framework for Public Health’, employs a similar strategy, writing that ‘threats to autonomy are the most obvious threats posed by public health regulations and legislation’, and describing autonomy primarily as a ‘right of non-interference’. 3 , 4

Nathan Bostick, Mark Levine, and Robert Sade 5 are even more explicit about the conflict between autonomy and laws mandating isolation and quarantine:

Quarantine and isolation may be either voluntary or mandatory. When mandatory, they may be effective in limiting the spread of communicable diseases, but produce tension between the public goal of disease containment and the protection of individuals’ autonomy. Standards of medical ethics place great emphasis upon respect for patients’ self-determination. In contrast, public health measures can incorporate mandatory interventions if necessary, and public health statutes can authorize the restriction of individual liberties in times of public peril, thereby overriding patient autonomy. 6

In his article ‘Quarantine, Isolation, and Health Care Workers’, Adam Webb writes: ‘Limiting autonomy through quarantine and isolation may be ethically justified by our moral obligation to prevent harm to others if the ethical framework strikes the appropriate balance between our notions of communal justice and individual autonomy’. 7 , 8 And in the introduction to his essay ‘The Ethics of Quarantine’, Ross Upshur 9 writes, ‘The purpose of this article is to discuss some of the ethical issues raised by quarantine and present requirements for its justification from an ethical perspective. This discussion draws on recent scholarship on public health ethics, particularly with respect to autonomy-limiting actions by public health authorities’. 10

I hope that these five examples are enough to give readers a sense of what I mean when I refer to the bioethical consensus on the relationship between autonomy and public health restrictions. My suspicion is that the thin understanding of autonomy the consensus is based upon, according to which such rules constitute ‘constraints’ or ‘limits’ on the autonomy of capacitated agents, will be instantly recognizable. This conception of autonomy leads straightforwardly to a conclusion that is especially relevant during public health crises: autonomy on its own cannot justify good social rules and laws that protect public health and safety. 11 While autonomy may be the dominant principle of the individual clinical encounter, the story goes, other principles, usually beneficence, perhaps justice, must lead in the public sphere.

The thesis that any constraint on the conduct of a capacitated agent constitutes a limit on that agent’s autonomy has had powerful and wide-ranging consequences in bioethics. Beyond its application to the ethics of quarantine, this conception of autonomy fuels and gains strength from the ‘principlist’ approach to ethical reasoning that has come to dominate the field. Once one embraces the thin conception of autonomy, the need for multiple principles is straightforward: We obviously require rules of conduct, including laws, that constrain capacitated agents, and if such rules and laws necessarily limit autonomy, then it follows that some principle other than autonomy must justify these limits. And so the principlist project gains plausibility, and beneficence, the consequentialist principle underlying the intuitive thought that rules are justified insofar as they conduce to welfare, can gain a foothold on the ethical landscape. 12 In espousing such a view of the field, the bioethicist allows himself to sidestep careful consideration of autonomy in its ‘thicker’ traditional sense of rational self-governance that grows out of the work of Immanuel Kant, 13 and turns instead to the task of balancing the multiple principles that allegedly support our considered ethical judgments.


It would be a shocking embarrassment to Kantian ethics if it turned out that the only way to justify laws and social rules was by appeal to their good consequences. Unsurprisingly, Kant and his followers reject this consequence-based view. In fact, Kant thought that rather than restricting or limiting autonomy, rules can actually express the autonomy of those who are bound by them. Far from holding that autonomy would license pure individualism if left unrestricted by consequentialist constraints, Kant thought that autonomy was the very foundation of good social rules. When we teach our students that Kantian ethics is a form of deontology, we emphasize that it is a ‘rule-based’ system of ethics that sets limits on behavior. Kant’s famous ‘Categorical Imperative’ is one obvious example of such a conduct-shaping rule: the injunction to treat humanity always as an ‘end in itself’ constrains action without requiring other principles to limit autonomy. 14 Rather, the idea is that this rule is an expression of our autonomy: insofar as we are rational, we will autonomously hold ourselves to it.

It is important to note that ‘rationality’ in Kantian ethics goes beyond the logic of preference satisfaction. Instead, it implies, roughly, taking up a deliberative point of view from which one can see beyond one’s own desires and consider the effects of personal or public policies on other agents. To think rationally in this sense is to recognize that the perspectives of other rational agents have the same basic significance as one’s own, and to act on principles that one could justify to other stakeholders. 15

Along these lines, another of Kant’s formulations of the Categorical Imperative enjoins us to conform to the laws of an imagined ‘Kingdom of Ends’. In other words, we are to act in accordance with those rules and principles that rational legislators would make for a society of imperfectly rational subjects, including themselves. The thought exercise may sound fanciful, but it has deep affinities with ordinary moral thinking. It invites the deliberator to recognize that he is not the only person who has the capacity for autonomous reasoning and action, that others have the same basic moral status and rights he has, and that, insofar as they are rational, all of these morally equal stakeholders will value living by their own standards on fair terms with others. Realizing such conditions of free and equal coexistence in the ‘Kingdom of Ends’ would require laws and rules that we could all endorse and live by. Given the theoretical background from which they arise, it is no surprise that Kantians have argued that such regulations would put a high priority on safeguarding human dignity and rationality, promoting moral equality, and allowing the legislator-subjects to exercise their capacity for autonomy by pursuing their permissible projects. 16

The introduction of the ‘Kingdom of Ends’ as a theoretical device, and the injunction to act in accordance with principles rational legislators could endorse, are not to be confused with the claim that we must all bend to the will of the ‘collective’. The thick sense of autonomy as rational self-governance, which can be expressed in both individual and collective action, demands we value the lives and interests of others, but it does not imply that the ‘majority rules’. Rather, it requires acting on principles and rules that safeguard our capacities to self-govern and that reflect a respect for humanity. While deliberation in light of these values can be (and is) an individual ideal, it can also be the basis for law, as we will see shortly.

Embracing the thick sense of respect for autonomy as a genuine moral value also goes beyond the assertion of personal liberty rights. Again, it requires taking up a deliberative perspective from which we can see that all moral agents deserve equal consideration. It demands that we acknowledge the humanity of our fellow citizens and that we bring our behavior into line with rules and laws that reflect a commitment to equality and respect. 17

Although these ideas are rarely discussed in contemporary bioethics, they are in fact crucial to the justification of one of its most famous ideals: informed consent. A brief review of informed consent will help to highlight the extent to which our thinking about this bedrock principle depends upon the thick conception of autonomy.

It is a consensus view in bioethics and in contemporary medical practice that patients have a right against being treated without their knowledge or against their wills. It is also widely accepted that the right of informed consent has its roots in the principle of autonomy. What is the philosophical basis of this right to self-governance? One possibility is that affording patients the right to make decisions for themselves is the most effective means of ensuring their well-being. But this attempt at justification does not explain our sense of violation when paternalistic infringements on autonomy successfully promote patient welfare. When a patient has the capacity to make health care decisions for herself, the wrongness of denying her the right to do so consists in a kind of disrespect , and this is true even if nonconsensual treatment clearly conduces to her best interests. Imagine, for example, a physician secretly administering medication to a capacitated patient without her knowledge. The medication will make the patient better off, but the paternalistic intervention is still a disrespectful violation of the patient’s autonomy. It fails to take her seriously as a rational agent who can deliberate about her own ends and act on her own principles. The wrongness of the disrespectful refusal to treat a patient as an autonomous agent does not simply disappear when the violation is good for her and maximizes overall welfare.

It is worth emphasizing that the obligation to obtain the informed consent of capacitated patients before treating them is a ‘conduct-constraining rule’ that has its foundations in the principle of respect for autonomy. Indeed, its justification is rooted in the thick understanding of autonomy that I have been discussing. In allowing patients to self-govern, medical providers recognize them as persons whose perspectives matter and who enjoy the same basic status and rights as other rational agents. Paternalistic intervention, even for a patient’s own good, is a violation—a failure to appreciate the non-instrumental value of the patient’s rational agency. We use the language of ‘respect for persons’ in this context because norms of informed consent reflect an acknowledgment that the perspectives, preferences, and plans of others carry the same ethical weight as one’s own.

It is unrealistic to expect everyone to be moved by considerations of respect and equality all the time. Some people are reckless, willfully ignorant, and malevolent, and even good people can have moments of selfishness, carelessness, and self-deception. For this reason, and others, we require laws to govern and limit behavior, to set social expectations, and to express collective disapproval of certain modes of conduct. The fact that our need for laws may arise in part because of the human tendency to fall short of the ideals of autonomous self-governance I have been discussing, however, does not imply that they must be justified in terms of beneficence. Rather, law, including regulations mandating isolation and quarantine, can be based on the principle of respect for autonomy itself. 18

Like Kant’s famous categorical imperative, legal orders mandating quarantine and isolation are conduct-constraining rules. 19 As the brief study of informed consent showed, the fact that these orders impose limits on behavior does not imply that they are restrictions on autonomy to be justified by another principle. In fact, I think that such rules are plausibly derived from, and expressive of, the principle of respect for autonomy. The wrongness of paternalistic denial of informed consent consists in failing to treat others with the respect they deserve as persons who have their own interests, plans, and values; the wrongness of breaking quarantine consists in the same: it amounts to a declaration that the interests, plans, and values of others are not as morally weighty as one’s own. It is an affront to equality that would run afoul of a system of moral principles we could all autonomously (rationally) accept.

Of course, this is only a very brief sketch of one kind of Kantian conception of the basis of social rules. And I should emphasize that I am not claiming to have proven that it is the correct account of the foundations of social restrictions. Still, I do hope to have shown that it is a reasonable candidate, one worthy of rigorous consideration and discussion. Indeed, the autonomy-based understanding of social rules has been taken seriously by philosophers and political theorists for centuries. It is not an exaggeration to say that it has had a world-changing influence on our shared social thought about concepts such as justice, dignity, and human rights. 20

And yet, when one reads contemporary bioethical scholarship about the role of autonomy in times of crisis, one finds remarkably few traces of this Kantian story. Instead, one learns that autonomy is suitable for individual interactions, but must be overridden in the name of beneficence when public health is at stake. In these dire circumstances, one might conclude, we must think like consequentialists; autonomy is at best a secondary concern.

We are now in a position to see how misleading this model is. As I have argued, it is not necessarily true that legally mandated isolation and quarantine limit or constrain autonomy. Indeed, depending on how the regulations are formulated, they could express autonomy by reflecting our acknowledgement of the equal standing and rights of all rational agents. This means that if the Kantian picture I have sketched is accurate, then the justification of mandatory quarantine and isolation is not necessarily rooted in beneficence. Rather, it could just as easily be rooted in autonomy: such regulations may be those that rational legislator-subjects, seeking to make rules and laws that reflect their concern with the autonomy and dignity of their fellow citizens, would be rationally compelled to accept.

One virtue of this Kantian understanding of rules is that it allows us to distinguish between good and bad quarantine policies in ways that a purely beneficence-based account would not. Suppose, for example, that the welfare-maximizing quarantine policy was one that forced poor people with no families to provide services to the rich at great personal risk. Such a policy, though welfare-maximizing, would be obviously unacceptable, but its hideousness could not be explained by appeal to beneficence. One compelling way to elucidate its wrongness is grounded firmly in the thick, roughly Kantian, understanding of autonomy I have been considering: such a policy treats humanity in others as a mere means to the end of maximizing welfare, rather than as an end-in-itself. It fails to recognize the dignity of all members of the community. 21

Of course, the principlist has more than beneficence at his disposal and would no doubt reject the quarantine policy I’ve imagined. But on what grounds? He might attempt to integrate the principle of beneficence with other principles, perhaps by suggesting a policy that called for maximizing welfare as far as possible without violating autonomy. I will not evaluate the merits of such a proposal, but it is important to see how it would differ from a system of autonomy-based regulations. Autonomy-based rules and laws would do more than ensure that certain baseline rights are not violated in the pursuit of utility maximization. Rather, they would have positive aspirations as well, aiming to realize and reflect values such as dignity, humanity, and respect. Policies motivated by such concerns may turn out to promote welfare, but they would not be justified on that basis.

The principlist may also appeal to justice as a constraint on beneficence. But the principle of justice, too, is plausibly grounded in autonomy along the lines I have sketched. Indeed, the work of John Rawls, 22 perhaps the most influential theorist of justice of the last century, grows in large part from these Kantian roots. 23 In A Theory of Justice , Rawls argued, roughly, that principles of justice could be derived with the help of theoretical devices (most famously the ‘original position’ and the ‘veil of ignorance’) meant to invite us to consider the principles of justice free and equal agents would choose if they were ignorant of their places in society. The strategy is part of an attempt to derive a theory of justice based on what self-interested agents would rationally (autonomously) choose while contracting with others whom they view as moral equals. Of course, there are many theories of justice, and I will not argue for Rawls’s influential (and often criticized) conception here. My point is only that our endorsement of the thin notion of autonomy has deprived us of theoretical resources we might use to consider what justice requires and why. At the very least, autonomy-based views according to which justice is a matter of following procedures agreed upon by morally equal individuals who have their own preferences, values, and goals, should be understood and confronted. Unfortunately, the assumption that autonomy is fundamentally at odds with the very idea of formal restrictions on conduct blocks such engagement before it can begin.

I think there is much to be said for the autonomy-based account of rules, but I do not claim to have shown that it is correct. My goals have been less ambitious: I have merely tried to give readers a sense of what we have lost by too readily accepting the thin conception of autonomy and what we might gain by extending our consideration of the thick conception beyond the domain of informed consent. I have tried to show how understanding respect for autonomy as a principle that could not only justify basic protections against paternalism but that could also generate positive rules of conduct, including laws, would shift the foundations of our contemporary bioethical consensus. In fact, taking up the thick conception would force us to rethink the roles of at least three of the major bioethical principles: First, we would not be able to so quickly conclude that in matters of public health, the principle of respect for autonomy must be ‘limited’ or ‘constrained.’ Rather, we might turn to the thicker notion of autonomy as a source of good rules that we could rationally endorse. 24 Second, and relatedly, we could tap into powerful and historically influential resources when theorizing about the foundations of justice. Finally, the possibility of autonomy-based reasoning toward good rules and laws would force theorists to make new arguments in order to justify the lofty standing normally afforded to the principle of beneficence.

This last point is worth examining in more detail. Taking the thick conception of autonomy seriously bars the standard entrance by which the principle of beneficence typically appears on the bioethical stage. As we have seen, when we understand autonomy as a license to do whatever one wants to do, then we quickly come to require another principle to justify conduct-limiting laws and rules. Beneficence is an obvious candidate, and so our embrace of the thin conception of autonomy may tempt us into taking an illicit shortcut to consequentialist thinking. But if we understood respect for autonomy as a principle that, once fully explained, could generate rules, then we might think twice before affording beneficence such a prominent place in our conceptual landscape. This is not to say that beneficence is not a legitimate ethical principle. Rather, the point is that the theorist who wished to emphasize beneficence would need to make arguments to justify its importance that did not rely on the erroneous claim that without beneficence we would be unable to restrict out-of-control autonomy.

I can now explain something I wrote at the outset, namely that adopting the thin idea of autonomy would lead one to think that the principle of respect for autonomy is both more and less demanding than we could accept. It would make it seem less demanding by inviting the conclusion that the right of autonomy would authorize obviously unethical conduct if left unchecked by other principles. It would make it seem more demanding by implying that any denial of a capacitated patient’s wishes would constitute a violation, or at least a limitation, of that patient’s autonomy. Both conclusions rest on serious misunderstandings that we avoid by taking up the thick conception of autonomy that grows out of the Kantian tradition. As we have seen, autonomy is compatible with, and indeed can justify, rules that limit conduct. Thus, the charge that the principle of autonomy would license any behavior whatsoever if left unchecked by other principles is unfounded. And just as the thick notion of autonomy does not license acts that express disrespect and violate dignity, it does not give one the right to make demands of others that disregard their status as equal moral agents with their own values and plans. This means that the often-repeated charge that autonomy is running riot in the clinic as increasing numbers of patients demand that their doctors perform medically inappropriate procedures is also confused. The right of autonomy is not the right to demand that others comply with one’s requests; it is a right to make decisions that deeply affect one’s own life in accordance with rationally acceptable principles. 25

To review: I have argued that by understanding autonomy as the right of capacitated adults to do whatever they want to do, we uproot the concept from its foundation in the idea of rational self-governance in accordance with rules. As a result, we deprive ourselves of powerful theoretical resources we might use to consider the justification of legal and moral requirements, as well as the foundations of justice. Just as dangerously, we trick ourselves into thinking that consequentialist reasoning is necessary and helpful where it may not be.

The Covid-19 pandemic has put our field in the spotlight in ways that few of us have experienced. It has presented us with an opportunity to help the public think through ethical problems with clarity, honesty, and seriousness. The thin understanding of autonomy undermines this project. And while it has been widely taught and embraced by generations of bioethicists, its grip on our thinking need not be permanent. In this paper, I have tried to show how much we stand to gain by stepping back from the current consensus and affording the concept of autonomy the thoughtful and historically informed consideration it deserves.

I am grateful for the support and guidance of Tom Hill. His scholarship and encouragement inspired me to write this paper, and his comments have strengthened it. I would also like to thank Justin Bernstein, Vida Yao, Elizabeth Reis, Matthew Dennis, Pamela Reis, and two anonymous referees for their helpful feedback on earlier drafts.

This general treatment of autonomy is widespread. For a classic example, see Beauchamp , T., and James F. Childress . Principles   Of   Biomedical   Ethics . Oxford University Press, 2019. In this study, Beauchamp and Childress offer intentionality, non-control, and understanding as psychological conditions on autonomy.

Beauchamp and Childress , 23.

Kass , N. E. An Ethics Framework for Public Health . Am . J. Public   Health vol. 91, 11 (2001): 1776-82.

Kass , 1780.

Bostick , N. et al. Ethical Obligations of Physicians Participating in Public Health Quarantine and Isolation Measures . Public   Health   Rep . (Washington, D.C. : 1974) vol. 123,1 (2008): 3–8.

Bostick , Nathan et al., 4.

Webb , A. Quarantine, Isolation, and Health Care Workers . Continuum vol 21. (2015): 1745–1750.

Webb , 1748.

Upshur , R . The Ethics of Quarantine . Virtual   Mentor vol. 5(11) (2003): 393–395.

Upshur , 393

I have in mind rules mandating isolation and quarantine, but the reasoning applies to other social rules as well.

Of course, the road to principlism could run in the other direction, as well, with the theorist beginning with beneficence and then coming to see the need for other principles to constrain it. Either way, the key point is that the arguments bioethicists use to explain why autonomy must often be “overridden” or “curtailed” by other principles depend on the “thin” understanding of the concept. I’m grateful to an anonymous reviewer for suggesting this clarification.

Kant , I. Groundwork   For   The   Metaphysics of Morals , (Arnulf Zweig and Thomas E. Hill, Jr. ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).

See Kant ’ s   Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals for his discussion of the Categorical Imperative and its various formulations.

I’m grateful for comments from Tom   Hill that helped me to clarify this point.

My elaboration of the Kingdom of Ends formulation of the Categorical Imperative is influenced by the work of Thomas E. Hill, Jr.. See, for example, his paper: Hill , T. The Kingdom of Ends.” In Proceedings of the Third International Kant Congress , White Beck L. ed., vol 4. (1972).

Kant thought that rational legislators would endorse a principle of beneficence, but this principle is not equivalent to the principle of beneficence that bioethicists are familiar with. For one thing, it is not maximizing; for another, it is not a ‘free-standing’ principle, but instead is justified via the principle of autonomy, which is expressed in the rational deliberation of ideal legislators. I am grateful to an anonymous reviewer for suggesting this clarification.

Thank you to an anonymous reviewer for prompting me to clarify this point.

I am focused on rules mandating isolation and quarantine, but other legal restrictions on behavior, such as rules forbidding murder and assault, are also plausibly justified by appeal to autonomy along the lines I develop here.

See, for example, the work of John   Rawls , Arthur   Ripstein , Onora O’ Neill , Allen   Wood , and Pauline   Kleingeld among others.

It is worth noting that adopting the “thick” understanding of autonomy does not preclude us from valuing happiness and well-being. And indeed no Kantian would claim that human happiness is never a morally relevant concern. The point is not that beneficence is not a genuine value, but rather that the “thin” conception of autonomy encourages us to overemphasize it. I do not mean to suggest that autonomy is the only genuine moral principle, or that we should never make appeals to welfare or other values. My goal is to show how serious consideration of the thick notion of autonomy might enrich our understanding of the foundations of moral and legal rules.

Rawls , J. A Theory   Of   Justice . Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (1971).

See Rawls ’ s ‘ A Theory of Justice ’.

Rules forbidding murder, assault, election fraud, and other obviously immoral acts are obvious examples, but rules mandating quarantine and isolation could be justified by appeal to autonomy as well.

Hill , T. The   Importance   Of   Autonomy . In Autonomy and Self-Respect (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), at 48.

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Autonomy in Moral and Political Philosophy

Individual autonomy is an idea that is generally understood to refer to the capacity to be one’s own person, to live one’s life according to reasons and motives that are taken as one’s own and not the product of manipulative or distorting external forces, to be in this way independent. It is a central value in the Kantian tradition of moral philosophy but it is also given fundamental status in John Stuart Mill’s version of utilitarian liberalism (Kant 1785/1983, Mill 1859/1975, ch. III). Examination of the concept of autonomy also figures centrally in debates over education policy, biomedical ethics, various legal freedoms and rights (such as freedom of speech and the right to privacy), as well as moral and political theory more broadly. In the realm of moral theory, seeing autonomy as a central value can be contrasted with alternative frameworks such an ethic of care, utilitarianism of some kinds, and an ethic of virtue. Autonomy has traditionally been thought to connote independence and hence to reflect assumptions of individualism in both moral thinking and designations of political status. For this reason, certain philosophical movements, such as certain strains of feminism, have resisted seeing autonomy as a value (Jaggar 1983, chap. 3). However, in recent decades, theorists have increasingly tried to structure the concept so as to sever its ties to this brand of individualism.

In all such discussions the concept of autonomy is the focus of much controversy and debate, disputes which focus attention on the fundamentals of moral and political philosophy and the Enlightenment conception of the person more generally.

1.1 Basic Distinctions

1.2 conceptual variations, 2.1 autonomy as an object of value, 2.2 autonomy and paternalism, 3.1 autonomy and the foundations of liberalism, 3.2 identity and conceptions of the self, 3.3 relational autonomy.

  • 3.4 Autonomy, Liberalism and Perfectionism

3.5 Autonomy and Political Liberalism

3.6 autonomy, justice and democracy, other internet resources, related entries, 1. the concept of autonomy.

In the western tradition, the view that individual autonomy is a basic moral and political value is very much a modern development. Putting moral weight on an individual’s ability to govern herself, independent of her place in a metaphysical order or her role in social structures and political institutions is very much the product of the modernist humanism of which much contemporary moral and political philosophy is an offshoot. (For historical discussions of autonomy, see Schneewind 1988, Swain 2016 and Rosich 2019). As such, it bears the weight of the controversies that this legacy has attracted. The idea that moral principles and obligations, as well as the legitimacy of political authority, should be grounded in the self-governing individual, considered apart from various contingencies of place, culture, and social relations, invites skeptics from several quarters. Autonomy, then, is very much at the vortex of the complex (re)consideration of modernity.

Put most simply, to be autonomous is to govern oneself, to be directed by considerations, desires, conditions, and characteristics that are not simply imposed externally upon one, but are part of what can somehow be considered one’s authentic self. Autonomy in this sense seems an irrefutable value, especially since its opposite — being guided by forces external to the self and which one cannot authentically embrace — seems to mark the height of oppression. But specifying more precisely the conditions of autonomy inevitably sparks controversy and invites skepticism about the claim that autonomy is an unqualified value for all people.

Autonomy plays various roles in theoretical accounts of persons, conceptions of moral obligation and responsibility, the justification of social policies and in numerous aspects of political theory. It forms the core of the Kantian conception of practical reason (see, e.g, Korsgaard 1996, Hill 1989) and, relatedly, connects to questions of moral responsibility (see Wolff 1970, 12–19). It is also seen as the aspect of persons that prevents or ought to prevent paternalistic interventions in their lives (Dworkin 1988, 121–29). It plays a role in education theory and policy, on some views specifying the core goal of liberal education generally (Gutmann 1987, Cuypers and Haji 2008; for discussion, see Brighouse 2000, 65–111). Also, despite many feminists’ reservations concerning the ideal of autonomy, it is sometimes seen as a valuable conceptual element in some feminist ideals, such as the identification and elimination of social conditions that victimize women and other (potentially) vulnerable people (Friedman 1997, Meyers 1987, Christman 1995. Veltman and Piper 2014)).

Several distinctions must be made to zero in on the kind of autonomy that is of greatest interest to moral and political theory. “Moral autonomy” refers to the capacity to impose the (putatively objective) moral law on oneself, and, following Kant, it is claimed as a fundamental organizing principle of all morality (Hill 1989). On the other hand, what can be called “personal autonomy” is meant as a trait that individuals can exhibit relative to any aspects of their lives, not limited to questions of moral obligation (Dworkin 1988, 34–47).

Personal (or individual) autonomy should also be distinguished from freedom , although again, there are many renderings of these concepts, and certainly some conceptions of positive freedom will be equivalent to what is often meant by autonomy (Berlin 1969, 131–34). Generally, one can distinguish autonomy from freedom in that the latter concerns the ability to act, without external or internal constraints and also (on some conceptions) with sufficient resources and power to make one’s desires effective (Berlin 1969, Crocker 1980, MacCallum 1967). Autonomy concerns the independence and authenticity of the desires (values, emotions, etc.) that move one to act in the first place. Some distinguish autonomy from freedom by insisting that freedom concerns particular acts while autonomy is a more global notion, referring to states of a person (Dworkin 1988, 13–15, 19–20). But autonomy can be used to refer both to the global condition (autonomous personhood) and as a more local notion (autonomous relative to a particular trait, motive, value, or social condition). Addicted smokers for example are autonomous persons in a general sense but (for some) helplessly unable to control their behavior regarding this one activity (Christman 1989, 13–14; cf. Meyers 1987, 66–67).

In addition, we must keep separate the idea of basic autonomy, the minimal status of being responsible, independent and able to speak for oneself, from ideal autonomy, an achievement that serves as a goal to which we might aspire and according to which a person is maximally authentic and free of manipulative, self-distorting influences. Any plausible conceptualization of basic autonomy must, among other things, imply that most adults who are not suffering from debilitating pathologies or are under oppressive and constricting conditions count as autonomous. Autonomy as an ideal, on the other hand, may well be enjoyed by very few if any individuals, for it functions as a goal to be attained.

The reason to construe basic autonomy broadly enough to include most adults is that autonomy connects with other status designators which apply (or, it is claimed, should apply) in this sweeping manner. Autonomy is connected, for example, to moral and legal responsibility, on some views (e.g., Ripstein 1999); autonomous agency is seen as necessary (and for some sufficient) for the condition of equal political standing; moreover, being autonomous stands as a barrier to unchecked paternalism, both in the personal, informal spheres and in legal arenas (Feinberg 1986). Lacking autonomy, as young children do, is a condition which allows or invites sympathy, care, paternalism and possibly pity. Therefore, a guiding consideration in evaluating particular conceptions of autonomy (though hardly a hard and fast test) will be whether it connects properly to these ancillary judgments (for discussion of “formal conditions” of a concept of autonomy, see Dworkin 1988, 7–10).

The variety of contexts in which the concept of autonomy functions has suggested to many that there are simply a number of different conceptions, and that the word simply refers to different elements in each of those contexts (Arpaly 2004). Others have claimed that while there may be a single over-arching concept of autonomy, we should think in terms of separable dimensions of it rather than an all or nothing idea (Mackenzei 2014 and Killmister 2017). Feinberg has claimed that there are at least four different meanings of “autonomy” in moral and political philosophy: the capacity to govern oneself, the actual condition of self-government, a personal ideal, and a set of rights expressive of one’s sovereignty over oneself (Feinberg 1989). One might argue that central to all of these uses is a conception of the person able to act, reflect, and choose on the basis of factors that are somehow her own (authentic in some sense). Nevertheless, it is clear that formulating a “theory” of the concept will involve more than merely uncovering the obscure details of the idea’s essence, for autonomy, like many concepts central to contentious moral or political debate is itself essentially contested. So a theory of autonomy is simply a conceptual model aimed at capturing the general sense of “self-rule” or “self-government” (ideas which obviously admit of their own vagaries) and which can be used to support principles or policies the theory attempts to justify.

The idea of self-rule contains two components: the independence of one’s deliberation and choice from manipulation by others, and the capacity to rule oneself (see Dworkin 1989, 61f and Arneson 1991). However, the ability to rule oneself will lie at the core of the concept, since a full account of that capability will surely entail the freedom from external manipulation characteristic of independence. Indeed, it could be claimed that independence per se has no fixed meaning or necessary connection with self-government unless we know what kinds of independence is required for self-rule (cf., however Raz 1986, 373–78).

Focusing, then, on the requirements of self rule, it can be claimed that to govern oneself one must be in a position to act competently based on desires (values, conditions, etc.) that are in some sense one’s own. This picks out the two families of conditions often proffered in conceptions of autonomy: competency conditions and authenticity conditions. Competency includes various capacities for rational thought, self-control, and freedom from debilitating pathologies, systematic self-deception, and so on. (Different accounts include different conditions: see, for example, Berofsky 1995, R. Young 1991, Haworth 1986, Meyers 1989.)

Authenticity conditions often include the capacity to reflect upon and endorse (or identify with) one’s desires, values, and so on. The most influential models of authenticity in this vein claim that autonomy requires second-order identification with first order desires. For Frankfurt, for instance, such second-order desires must actually have the structure of a volition: wanting that the first order desires issue in action, that they comprise one’s will. Moreover, such identification, on his view, must be “wholehearted” for the resulting action to count as free (autonomous). [ 1 ]

This overall approach to autonomy has been very influential, and several writers have developed variations of it and defended it against objections. The most prominent objections concern, on the one hand, the fatal ambiguities of the concept of “identification” and, on the other, the threat of an infinite regress of conditions. The first problem surrounds the different ways that one can be said to “identify” with a desire, each of which render the view conceptually suspect. Either one identifies with an aspect of oneself in the sense of simply acknowledging it (without judgment) or one identifies with a desire in an aspirational, approving sense of that term. In the first case, however, identification would clearly not be a consistent mark of autonomy, for one could easily identify as part of oneself any manner of addictive, constricting, or imposed aspects of one’s make-up. But approving of a trait is also problematic as a requirement of autonomy, for there are many perfectly authentic aspects of myself (ones for which I can and should be held fully responsible for example) which I do not fully approve of. I’m not perfect, but does that mean that I am thereby not autonomous? (Cf. Watson 1989, Berofsky 1995, 99–102). [ 2 ]

This model stresses internal self-reflection and procedural independence. However, the view includes no stipulations about the content of the desires, values, and so on, in virtue of which one is considered autonomous, specifically there is no requirement that one act from desires independently of others. Were there to be such a requirement, it would involve what is called “substantive independence”. Some writers have insisted that the autonomous person must enjoy substantive independence as well as procedural independence (e.g., Stoljar 2000, Benson 1987, 2005, Oshana 2006). The motivation for such a position is the idea a person under constrained life situations should not be considered autonomous no matter how “voluntary” (or autonomous) was the choice that put her in that position (cf. Meyers 2000). This claim, however, threatens to rob the attribution of autonomy of any claim to value neutrality it may otherwise carry, for if, conceptually, one is not autonomous when one (freely, rationally, without manipulation) chooses to enter conditions of severely limited choice, then the concept is reserved to only those lifestyles and value pursuits that are seen as acceptable from a particular political or theoretical point of view. I will return to this line of thought in a moment. In rejoinder, it has been claimed that such procedural neutrality could not capture the value autonomy has for people, and moreover, a “weakly substantive” view can be compatible with a political form of liberalism as long as the values inherent in the concept could be accepted by reasonable persons in an overlapping consensus (see Freyenhagen 2017).

One variation on the internal self-reflection model focuses on the importance of the personal history of the agent as an element of her autonomy (Christman 1991, Mele 1993; cf. Fisher & Ravizza 1998; cf. also Raz 1986, 371). On these views, the question of whether a person is autonomous at a time depends on the processes by which she came to be the way she is. It is not clear that such a focus will be able to avoid the problems raised about internal reflection models (see Mele 1991, Mackenzie & Stoljar 2000b, 16–17), but such a move attempts to embrace a conception of the self of self-government which is not only social but diachronically structured (see, e.g., Cuypers 2001).

For those who are wary of the postulate of reflective self endorsement, an alternative approach is to equate autonomy with simply a set of competences, such as the capacity to choose deliberatively, rationally, and, as Berofsky claims, “objectively” (see Berofsky 1995, Meyers 1989). This locates autonomy in the general capacity to respond to reasons, and not, for example, in acts of internal self-identification. However, even in these accounts, the capacity to think critically and reflectively is necessary for autonomy as one of the competences in question, even though the reflective thought required need not refer to external values or ideals (Berofsky 1995, ch. 5).

Further difficulties have been raised with the requirement of second order self-appraisal for autonomy. For it is unclear that such higher level judgments have any greater claim to authenticity than their first order cousins. Clearly if a person is manipulated or oppressed (and hence non-autonomous), it could well be that the reflective judgments she makes about herself are just as tainted by that oppression as are her ground-level decisions (Thalberg 1989, Friedman 1986, Meyers 1989, 25–41, Noggle 2005), and often our second order reflective voices are merely rationalizations and acts of self-deception rather than true and settled aspects of our character (for general discussion see the essays in Veltman and Piper 2014). This has led to the charge that models of autonomy which demand second-order endorsement merely introduce an infinite regress: for second-level judgments must be tested for their authenticity in the same way as first order desires are, but if that is so, then ever higher levels of endorsement would be called for. Various responses to this problem have been made, for the most part involving the addition of conditions concerning the manner in which such reflection must be made, for example that it must be free of certain distorting factors itself, it must reflect an adequate causal history, and the like (Christman 1991, Mele 1995).

Other aspects of the inner reflection model should be noted. As just mentioned, this view of autonomy is often stated as requiring critical self reflection (see, e.g., Haworth 1986). This has been understood as involving a rational appraisal of one’s desires, testing them for internal consistency, their relation to reliable beliefs, and the like. But an overly narrow concentration on rational assessment exposes such conceptions to charges of hyper intellectualism, painting a picture of the autonomous person as a cold, detached calculator (see Meyers 2004, 111–37). Connections to values, desires, and personal traits are often grounded in emotional and affective responses, ones connected with care, commitment, and relations to others (see Friedman 1998, MacKenzie & Stoljar 2000b, Meyers 1989, de Calleja, Mirja Perez 2019). For parallel reasons, some theorists have noted that concentration on only desires as the focal point of autonomy is overly narrow, as people can (fail to) exhibit self-government relative to a wide range of personal characteristics, such as values, physical traits, relations to others, and so on (see Double 1992, 66).

2. Autonomy in Moral Philosophy

Autonomy is central in certain moral frameworks, both as a model of the moral person — the feature of the person by virtue of which she is morally obligated — and as the aspect of persons which grounds others’ obligations to her or him. For Kant, the self-imposition of universal moral law is the ground of both moral obligation generally and the respect others owe to us (and we owe ourselves). In short, practical reason — our ability to use reasons to choose our own actions — presupposes that we understand ourselves as free. Freedom means lacking barriers to our action that are in any way external to our will, though it also requires that we utilize a law to guide our decisions, a law that can come to us only by an act of our own will (for further discussion see Hill 1989; for doubts about this reading, see Kleingeld and Willaschek 2019). This self-imposition of the moral law is autonomy. And since this law must have no content provided by sense or desire, or any other contingent aspect of our situation, it must be universal. Hence we have the (first formulation of the) Categorical Imperative, that by virtue of our being autonomous we must act only on those maxims that we can consistently will as a universal law.

The story continues, however: for the claim is that this capacity (to impose upon ourselves the moral law) is the ultimate source of all moral value — for to value anything (instrumentally or intrinsically) implies the ability to make value judgments generally, the most fundamental of which is the determination of what is morally valuable. Some theorists who are not (self-described) Kantians have made this inference central to their views of autonomy. Paul Benson, for example, has argued that being autonomous implies a measure of self-worth in that we must be in a position to trust our decision-making capacities to put ourselves in a position of responsibility (Benson 1994; cf. also Grovier 1993, Lehrer 1997, and Westlund 2014). But the Kantian position is that such self-regard is not a contingent psychological fact about us, but an unavoidable implication of the exercise of practical reason (cf. Taylor 2005).

So we owe to ourselves moral respect in virtue of our autonomy. But insofar as this capacity depends in no way on anything particular or contingent about ourselves, we owe similar respect to all other persons in virtue of their capacity. Hence (via the second formulation of the Categorical Imperative), we are obliged to act out of fundamental respect for other persons in virtue of their autonomy. In this way, autonomy serves as both a model of practical reason in the determination of moral obligation and as the feature of other persons deserving moral respect from us. (For further discussion, see Immanual Kant and moral philosophy .)

Recent discussions of Kantian autonomy have downplayed the transcendental nature of practical reason in this account (see, for example, Herman 1993 and Hill 1991). For example, Christine Korsgaard follows Kant in seeing our capacity for self-reflection as both the object of respect and the seat of normativity generally. On her view, we are all guided by what she calls a “practical identity”, a point of view which orients reflection on values and manifests an aspect of our self concept. But unlike Kant, Korsgaard argues that we have different practical identities that are the source of our normative commitments, and not all of them are of fundamental moral worth. But the most general of such identities — that which makes us members of a kingdom of ends — is our moral identity, which yields universal duties and obligations independent of contingent factors. Autonomy is the source of all obligations, whether moral or non-moral, since it is the capacity to impose upon ourselves, by virtue of our practical identities, obligations to act (Korsgaard 1996).

Traditional critiques of autonomy-based moral views, and Kant’s in particular, have been mounted along various lines. I mention two here, as they connect with issues concerning autonomy in social and political theory. The first concerns the way in which autonomy-based moral theory grounds obligation in our cognitive abilities rather than in our emotions and affective connections (see, e.g., Williams 1985, Stocker 1976). The claim is that Kantian morality leaves too little room for the kinds of emotional reactions that are constitutive of moral response in many situations: the obligations of parents for example concern not only what they do but the passions and care they bring forth in doing it. To view obligation as arising from autonomy but understanding autonomy in a purely cognitive manner makes such an account vulnerable to this kind of charge.

The difficulty this criticism points to resides in the ambiguities of the self-description that we might utilize in valuing our “humanity” — our capacity to obligate ourselves. For we can reflect upon our decision-making capacities and value this positively (and fundamentally) but regard that “self” engaging the capacity in different ways. The Kantian model of such a self is of a pure cognizer — a reflective agent engaged in practical reason. But also involved in decision-making are our passions — emotions, desires, felt commitments, senses of attraction and aversion, alienation and comfort. These are both the objects of our judgement and partly constitutive of them — to passionately embrace an option is different from cooly determining it to be best. Judgment is involved with all such passions when decisions are made. And it (judgment) need not be understood apart from them, but as an ability to engage in those actions whose passionate and reasoned support we muster up. So when the optimal decision for me is an impassioned one, I must value my ability to engage in the right passions, not merely in the ability to cold-heartedly reflect and choose. Putting the passions outside the scope of reasoned reflection, as merely an ancillary quality of the action — to consider how to do something not merely what we are doing — is to make one kind of decision. Putting passions inside that scope — saying that what it is right to do now is to act with a certain affect or passion — is another. When we generalize from our ability to make the latter sort of decisions, we must value not only the ability to weigh options and universalize them but also the ability to engage the right affect, emotion, etc. Therefore, we value ourselves and others as passionate reasoners not merely reasoners per se.

The implication of this observation is that in generalizing our judgments in the manner Korsgaard (following Kant) says we must, we need not commit ourselves to valuing only the cognitive capacities of humanity but also its (relatively) subjective elements.

A second question is this: since the reflection that is involved in autonomy (and which, according to this view, is the source of normativity) need only be hypothetical reflection upon one’s desires and mental capacities, then the question arises: under what conditions is this hypothetical reflection meant to take place? If the capacity for reflection is the seat of obligation, then we must ask if the conditions under which such hypothetical reflection takes place are idealized in any sense — if they are assumed to be reasonable for example. Are we considering merely the reflections the (actual) person would make were she to turn her attention to the question, no matter how unreasonable such reflections might be? If so, why should we think this grounds obligations? If we assume they are reasonable, then under some conditions moral obligations are not imposed by the actual self but rather by an idealized, more rational self. This implies that morality is not literally self-imposed if by “self” one means the actual set of judgments made by the agent in question. Indeed, a Platonist/realist about moral value could claim that the objective values which (according to the theory) apply to all agents independent of choice are in fact “self-imposed” in this idealized sense: they would be imposed were the person to reflect on the matter, acting as a perfectly reasonable agent. This shows the complex and potentially problematic implications of this ambiguity.

This points to the question of whether autonomy can be the seat of moral obligation and respect if autonomy is conceived in a purely procedural manner. If no substantive commitments or value orientations are included in the conceptual specification of autonomy, then it is unclear how this capacity grounds any particular substantive value commitments. On the other hand, if autonomy includes a specification of particular values in its conditions — that the autonomous person must value her own freedom for example — then it turns out that moral obligation (and respect) attaches only to those already committed in this way, and not more generally to all rational agents as such (as traditionally advertised by the view). This echoes, of course, Hegel’s critique of Kant.

These difficulties point to ambiguities in autonomy-based moral views, ones which may well be clarified in further developments of those theories. They also pick up on traditional problems with Kantian ethics (though there are many other such difficulties not mentioned here). Before leaving moral philosophy, we should consider ethical views which focus on autonomy but which do not depend directly on a Kantian framework.

Autonomy can play a role in moral theory without that theory being fully Kantian in structure. For example, it is possible to argue that personal autonomy has intrinsic value independent of a fully worked out view of practical reason. Following John Stuart Mill, for example, one can claim that autonomy is “one of the elements of well-being” (Mill 1859/1975, ch. III). Viewing autonomy as an intrinsic value or as a constitutive element in personal well-being in this way opens the door to a generally consequentialist moral framework while paying heed to the importance of self-government to a fulfilling life (for discussion see Sumner 1996).

It may also be unclear why autonomy — viewed here as the capacity to reflect on and endorse one’s values, character and commitments — should have value independent of the results of exercising that capacity. Why is one person’s autonomy intrinsically valuable when she uses it to, say, harm herself or make rash or morally skewed choices? More generally, how can we take account of the systematic biases and distortions that plague typical human reasoning in valuing people’s capacity to make decisions for themselves (see, e.g., Conly 2013)? This question becomes more acute as we consider ways that autonomy can obtain in degrees, for then it is unclear why personal autonomy should be seen as equally valuable in persons who display different levels of it (or different levels of those abilities that are its conditions, such as rationality).

Indeed, autonomy is often cited as the ground of treating all individuals equally from a moral point of view. But if autonomy is not an all-or-nothing characteristic, this commitment to moral equality becomes problematic (Arneson 1999). It can be argued that insofar as the abilities required for autonomy, such as rational reflectiveness, competences in carrying out one’s decisions, and the like, vary across individuals (within or between species as well), then it is difficult to maintain that all autonomous beings have equal moral status or that their interests deserve the same weight in considering decisions that affect them.

The move that must be made here, I think, picks up on Korsgaard’s gloss on Kantianism and the argument that our reflective capacities ultimately ground our obligations to others and, in turn, others’ obligations to regard us as moral equals. Arneson argues, however, that people surely vary in this capacity as well — the ability to reflectively consider options and choose sensibly from among them. Recall what we said above concerning the ambiguities of Korsgaard’s account concerning the degree to which the self-reflection that grounds obligation is idealized at all. If it is, then it is not the everyday capacity to look within ourselves and make a choice that gives us moral status but the more rarified ability to do so rationally, in some full sense. But we surely vary in our ability to reach that ideal, so why should our autonomy be regarded as equally worthy?

The answer may be that our normative commitments do not arise from our actual capacities to reflect and to choose (though we must have such capacities to some minimal degree), but rather from the way in which we must view ourselves as having these capacities. We give special weight to our own present and past decisions, so that we continue on with projects and plans we make because (all other things being equal) we made them, they are ours, at least when we do them after some reflective deliberation. The pull that our own decisions have on our ongoing projects and actions can only be explained by the assumption that we confer status and value on decisions simply because we reflectively made them (perhaps, though, in light of external, objective considerations). This is an all-or-nothing capacity and hence may be enough to ground our equal status even if perhaps, in real life, we exercise this capacity to varying degrees. [ 3 ] Much has been written about conceptions of well being that rehearse these worries (see Sumner 1996, Griffin 1988). Such a view might be buttressed with the idea that the attribution of autonomous agency, and the respect that purportedly goes with it, is itself a normative stance, not a mere observation of how a person actually thinks and acts (for discussion of this position see Christman 2009, chap. 10 and Korsgaard 2014)

Autonomy is the aspect of persons that undue paternalism offends against. Paternalistic interventions can be both interpersonal (governed by social and moral norms) and a matter of policy (mediated by formal or legal rules). Such interventions are identified not by the kind of acts they involve but by the justification given for them, so that paternalism involves interference with a person’s actions or knowledge against that person’s will for the purpose of advancing that person’s good. Respect for autonomy is meant to prohibit such interventions because they involve a judgment that the person is not able to decide for herself how best to pursue her own good. Autonomy is the ability to so decide, so for the autonomous subject of such interventions paternalism involves a lack of respect for autonomy. See also Paternalism .

But as our discussion of the nature of autonomy indicated, it is often unclear exactly what that characteristic involves. Important in this context is whether autonomy can be manifested in degrees — whether the abilities and capacities that constitute autonomy obtain all at once or progressively, or I can enjoy sufficient autonomy in some areas of my life but not in others. If autonomy is a matter of degree in any of these ways, then it is unclear that a blanket prohibition against paternalism is warranted. Some people will be less able to judge for themselves what their own good is and hence be more susceptible to (justified) paternalistic intervention (Conly 2013; see also Killmister 2017, chap. 7).

Often such an obligation toward another person requires us to treat her as autonomous, independent of the extent to which she is so concerning the choice in question. At least this is the case when a person is autonomous above a certain threshold: she is an adult, not under the influence of debilitating factors, and so on. I might know that a person is to some degree under the sway of external pressures that are severely limiting her ability to govern her life and make independent choices. But as long as she has not lost the basic ability to reflectively consider her options and make choices, if I intervene against her will (for her own good), I show less respect for her as a person than if I allow her to make her own mistakes. (Which is not to say, of course, that intervention in such cases might not, in the end, be justified; only that something is lost when it is engaged in, and what is lost is a degree of interpersonal respect we owe each other.)

However, as we saw in the last section, this move depends on the determination of basic autonomy and an argument that such a threshold is non-arbitrary. Also relevant here is the question of procedural versus substantive autonomy as the ground of the prohibition of paternalism. For if by “autonomy” we mean the ability to govern oneself no matter how depraved or morally worthless are the options being exercised, it is unclear that the bar to paternalism (and respect for persons generally) retains its normative force. As I mentioned above, the response to this challenge must be that the decision making capacity itself is of non-derivative value, independent of the content of those decisions, at least if one wishes to avoid the difficulties of positing a substantive (and hence non-neutral) conception of autonomy as the basis for interpersonal respect.

This is merely a sampling of some of the central ways that the idea of autonomy figures in moral philosophy. Not discussed here are areas of applied ethics, for example in medical ethics, where respect for autonomy grounds such principles as that of informed consent. Such contexts illustrate the fundamental value that autonomy generally is thought to represent as expressive of one of the fundamentals of moral personhood.

3. Autonomy in Social and Political Philosophy

The conception of the autonomous person plays a variety of roles in various constructions of liberal political theory (for recent discussion, see, e.g., Coburn 2010, Christman 2015 and the essays in Christman and Anderson, eds. 2005). Principally, it serves as the model of the person whose perspective is used to formulate and justify political principles, as in social contract models of principles of justice (Rawls 1971). Also (and correspondingly) it serves as the model of the citizen whose basic interests are reflected in those principles, such as in the claim that basic liberties, opportunities, and other primary goods are fundamental to flourishing lives no matter what moral commitments, life plans, or other particulars of the person might obtain (Kymlicka 1989, 10–19, Waldron 1993: 155–6). [ 4 ] Moreover, autonomy is ascribed to persons (or projected as an ideal) in order to delineate and critique oppressive social conditions, liberation from which is considered a fundamental goal of justice (whether or not those critiques are described as within the liberal tradition or as a specific alternative to it) (cf. Keornahan 1999, Cornell 1998, Young 1990, Gould 1988; cf. also Hirschmann 2002, 1–29).

For our purposes here, liberalism refers generally to that approach to political power and social justice that determines principles of right (justice) prior to, and largely independent of, determination of conceptions of the good (though see Liberalism ; see also Christman 2017, ch. 4). This implies that the liberal conception of justice, and the legitimation of political power more generally, can be specified and justified without crucial reference to controversial conceptions of value and moral principles (what Rawls calls “comprehensive moral conceptions” (Rawls 1993, 13–15). The fact of permanent pluralism of such moral conceptions is therefore central to liberalism. [ 5 ]

One manner in which debates concerning autonomy directly connect to controversies within and about liberalism concerns the role that state neutrality is to play in the justification and application of principles of justice. Neutrality is a controversial standard, of course, and the precise way in which liberal theory is committed to a requirement of neutrality is complex and controversial (see Raz 1986, 110–64, Waldron 1993, 143–67). The question to be asked here is whether the conception of autonomy utilized in liberal theories must itself attempt to be neutral concerning various conceptions of morality and value, or, alternatively, does the reliance on autonomy in the justification and specification of liberal theories of justice render them non-neutral simply because of this reliance (no matter how “neutral” the conception of autonomy utilized turns out to be) (Christman 2015).

Let us consider this first question and in so doing revisit the issue of whether the independence implicit in autonomy should best be conceived in a purely “procedural” manner or more substantively. Recall that some theorists view autonomy as requiring minimal competence (or rationality) along with authenticity, where the latter condition is fleshed out in terms of the capacity to reflectively accept motivational aspects of oneself. This view can be called “proceduralist” because it demands that the procedure by which a person comes to identify a desire (or trait) as her own is what is crucial in the determination of its authenticity and hence autonomy. This conception of autonomy is adopted, according to its defenders, because doing so is the only way to ensure that autonomy is neutral toward all conceptions of value and the good that reasonable adults may come to internalize (Dworkin 1989, Freyenhage 2017).

Critics of this view have pointed to cases where it is imagined that persons adopt what we all would call oppressive and overly restrictive life situations but in a way that meets the minimal conditions of autonomy on proceduralist accounts, so that on such accounts they count as autonomous because of the self-governing processes by which they entered such oppressive conditions. These critics argue that any conception of autonomy that ascribes that trait to such people is wrongly conceived (Benson 1987, MacKenzie & Stoljar 2001b and 2017, Waller 1993, and Oshana 1998). On the basis of such a judgment, they argue that normatively substantive conditions should be added to the requirements of autonomy, conditions such as the ability to recognize and follow certain moral or political norms (See Benson 1987, Wolf 1980; for criticism, see Berofsky 1995, ch. 7). This criticism suggests that considerations concerning the autonomous self cannot avoid questions of identity and hence whether the self of self-government can be understood independently of the (perhaps socially defined) values in terms of which people conceive of themselves; this is a subject to which we now turn.

Autonomy, as we have been describing it, certainly attaches paradigmatically to individual persons; it is not (in this usage) a property of groups or peoples. So the autonomy that grounds basic rights and which connects to moral responsibility, as this concept is thought to do, is assigned to persons without essential reference to other people, institutions, or traditions within which they may live and act. Critics claim, however, that such a view runs counter to the manner in which most of us (or all of us in some ways) define ourselves, and hence diverges problematically from the aspects of identity that motivate action, ground moral commitments, and by which people formulate life plans. Autonomy, it is argued, implies the ability to reflect wholly on oneself, to accept or reject one’s values, connections, and self-defining features, and change such elements of one’s life at will. But we are all not only deeply enmeshed in social relations and cultural patterns, we are also defined by such relations, some claim(Sandel 1982, 15–65). For example, we use language to engage in reflection but language is itself a social product and deeply tied to various cultural forms. In any number of ways we are constituted by factors that lie beyond our reflective control but which nonetheless structure our values, thoughts, and motivations (Taylor 1991, 33f; for discussion see Bell 1993, 24–54). To say that we are autonomous (and hence morally responsible, bear moral rights, etc.) only when we can step back from all such connections and critically appraise and possibly alter them flies in the face of these psychological and metaphysical realities. [ 6 ]

In a different manner, critics have claimed that the liberal conception of the person, reflected in standard models of autonomy, under-emphasizes the deep identity-constituting connections we have with gender, race, culture, and religion, among other things. Such “thick” identities are not central to the understanding of the self-governing person who, according to standard liberal models, is fully able to abstract from such elements of her self-concept and to either identify with or to reject such them. But such an ideal too narrowly valorizes the life of the cosmopolitan “man” — the world traveler who freely chooses whether to settle into this or that community, identify with this or that group, and so on (see Young 1991, Alcoff 2006 and Appiah 2010; for discussion, see Meyers, 2000b).

These challenges have also focused on the relation of the self to its culture (Margalit and Raz, 1990, Tamir 1993). What is at issue from a policy perspective is that emphasis on the individual’s self-government, with the cosmopolitan perspective that this entails, makes it difficult if not impossible to ground rights to the protection and internal self- government of traditional cultures themselves (Kymlicka, 1995). This is problematic in that it excludes from the direct protection of liberal policies those individuals and groups whose self-conceptions and value commitments are deeply constituted by cultural factors. Or, conversely, the assumption that the autonomous person is able to separate himself from all cultural commitments forestalls moves to provide state protection for cultural forms themselves, insofar as such state policies rest on the value of autonomy.

There have been many responses to these charges on behalf of a liberal outlook (e.g., Kymlicka, 1989, Gutman, 1985, Appiah 2005; for a general response to question of cultural identities see Kymlicka 1997). The most powerful response is that autonomy need not require that people be in a position to step away from all of their connections and values and to critically appraise them. Mere piecemeal reflection is all that is required. As Kymlicka puts it: “No particular task is set for us by society, and no particular cultural practice has authority that is beyond individual judgement and possible rejection” (Kymlicka, 1989:, 50).

There is a clarification that is needed in this exchange, however. For insofar as defenders of liberal principles (based on the value of autonomy) claim that all aspects of a person’s self-concept be subject to alteration in order to manifest autonomy, they needlessly exaggerate the commitments of the liberal position. For such a view is open to the charge that liberal conceptions fail to take seriously the permanent and unalterable aspects of the self and its social position (Young, 1990, 46). Our embodiment, for example, is often not something which we can alter other than marginally, and numerous other self-defining factors such as sexual orientation (for some), native language, culture and race, are not readily subject to our manipulation and transformation, even in a piecemeal manner. To say that we are heteronomous because of this is therefore deeply problematic. What must be claimed by the defender of autonomy-based liberalism is that the ability in question is to change those aspects of oneself from which one is deeply alienated (or with which one does not identify, etc.). For in those cases where, upon reflection, one experiences one’s body, culture, race, or sexuality as an external burden constricting one’s more settled and authentic nature, and still one cannot alter that factor, then one lacks autonomy relative to it (see Christman,2009 ch. 6). But if one feels fully at home within those unalterable parameters one does not lack autonomy because of that unalterability (for a different way of approach this issue see Mahmoud 2005 and Khader 2011).

As we said, several writers have claimed that proceduralist accounts of autonomy would wrongly attribute autonomy to those whose restricted socialization and stultifying life conditions pressure them into internalizing oppressive values and norms, for example women who have internalized the belief in the social authority of husbands, or that only by having and raising children are their lives truly complete, and the like. If such women reflect on these values they may well endorse them, even if doing so is free of any specific reflection-inhibiting conditions. But such women surely lack autonomy, it is claimed; so only if autonomy includes a requirement that one be able to recognize basic value claims (such as the person’s own equal moral standing) will that concept be useful in describing the oppressive conditions of a patriarchal society (see, e.g., Oshana, 1998, Stoljar, 2000; for discussion see Christman 2009 chap. 8, Benson, 1990, Friedman, 2000, Meyers, 1987, 1989). [ 7 ]

These and related considerations have sparked some to develop an alternative conception of autonomy meant to replace allegedly overly individualistic notions. This replacement has been called “relational autonomy” (MacKenzie and Stoljar, 2000a). Spurred by feminist critiques of traditional conceptions of autonomy and rights (Nedelsky, 1989, Code, 1991), relational conceptions of autonomy stress the ineliminable role that relatedness plays in both persons’ self- conceptions, relative to which autonomy must be defined, and the dynamics of deliberation and reasoning. These views offer a provocative alternative to traditional models of the autonomous individual, but it must be made clear what position is being taken on the issue: on the one hand, relational accounts can be taken as resting on a non-individualist conception of the person and then claim that insofar as autonomy is self-government and the self is constituted by relations with others, then autonomy is relational; or these accounts may be understood as claiming that whatever selves turn out to be, autonomy fundamentally involves social relations rather than individual traits (Oshana, 2006). Some such views also waiver between claiming that social and personal relations play a crucial causal role in the development and enjoyment of autonomy and claiming that such relations constitute autonomy (for discussion see Mackenzie and Stoljar, 2000b, 21–26; for a recent overview, see Mackenzie 2014).

Another relational element to autonomy that has been developed connects social support and recognition of the person’s status to her capacities for self-trust, self-esteem, and self-respect. The core argument in these approaches is that autonomy requires the ability to act effectively on one’s own values (either as an individual or member of a social group), but that oppressive social conditions of various kinds threaten those abilities by removing one’s sense of self-confidence required for effective agency. Social recognition and/or support for this self-trusting status is required for the full enjoyment of these abilities (see Anderson and Honneth 2005, Grovier 1993, Benson 2005, McCleod and Sherwin 2005, and Westlund 2014).

These claims often are accompanied with a rejection of purportedly value-neutral, proceduralist accounts of autonomy, even those that attempt to accommodate a fully social conception of the self. One question that arises with relational views connected to self-trust in this way: why, exactly are such relations seen as conceptually constitutive of autonomy rather than contributory to it (and its development), where the self-confidence or self-trust in question is the core element to which these sorts of social relations are an important (albeit contingent) contributor. Another question to be considered arises from those cases where self-trust is established despite lack of social recognition, as when runaway slaves manage to heroically push on with their quest for freedom while facing violent denials from surrounding others (and surrounding social structures) that they enjoy the status of a full human being capable of authentic decision making. Finally, self-trust is not always merited: consider the brash teenager who insists on exercising social independence based on her unwarranted confidence in her abilities to make good judgments (see Mackenzie 2008, n. 36).

Nevertheless, these approaches have all importantly shifted philosophical attention concerning autonomy to the social and interpersonal dynamics that shape its enjoyment, connecting ideas about autonomy with broader issues of social justice, recognition, and social practices. This brings us back, then, to considerations of the liberal project and its potential limitations, where autonomy remains central.

3.4 Autonomy, Liberalism, and Perfectionism

As noted earlier, there are various versions of liberal political philosophy. All of them, however, are committed to a conception of political legitimacy in which political power and authority is justified only if such authority is acceptable to all citizens bound by it (see Rawls 1993, 144–50). This connects to a broader view of the foundations of value that at least some liberal theorists present as central to that tradition. That is the claim that values are valid for a person only if those values are or can be reasonably endorsed by the person in question. By extension, principles guiding the operation of institutions of social and political power — what Rawls calls the institutions of the basic structure (Rawls 1993, 258) — are legitimate only if they can be endorsed in this way by those subject to them. In this way, liberalism (in most of its forms) is committed to what some have called the “endorsement constraint” (Kymlicka 1989, 12f, R. Dworkin 2000, 216–18).

Models of autonomy considered above include a condition that mirrors this constraint, in that a person is autonomous relative to some action-guiding norm or value only if, upon critical reflection of that value, she identifies with it, approves of it, or does not feel deeply alienated from it. Combining this view with the endorsement constraint, liberalism carries the implication that autonomy is respected only when guiding values or principles in a society can be embraced in some way by those governed by them. This will connect directly to the liberal theory of legitimacy to be discussed below.

Perfectionists reject this set of claims. Perfectionism is the view that there are values valid for an individual or a population even when, from the subjective point of view of those agents or groups, that value is not endorsed or accepted (Wall 1998, Sumner 1996, 45–80, Hurka 1993, Sher 1997; see also Perfectionism ). In short, it is the view that there are entirely objective values. While there are perfectionist liberals, this view generally resists the liberal claim that the autonomous acceptance of the central components of political principles is a necessary condition for the legitimacy of those principles. Moreover, perfectionists question the liberal commitment to neutrality in the formulation and application of political principles (Hurka 1993, 158–60).

Perfectionists specifically target the liberal connection between respect for autonomy and neutrality of political principles (Wall 1998, 125–204). For many, liberalism rests on the value of individual autonomy, but this reliance either assumes that respect for autonomy is merely one value among others in the liberal view, or autonomy has overriding value. In either case, however, neutrality is not supported. If autonomy is merely one value among others, for example, then there will clearly be times when state support of those other values will override respect for autonomy (paternalistic restrictions imposed to promote citizen safety, for example) (Sher 1997, 45–105, Hurka 1993, 158–60, Conly 2013). On the other hand, autonomy could be seen as an absolute constraint on the promotion of values, or, more plausibly, as a constitutive condition of the validity of all values for a person, as the endorsement constraint implies. Perfectionists reply, however, that this is itself a controversial value position, one that may not find unqualified general support (Hurka 1993, 148–52, Sher 1997, 58–60, Sumner 1996, 174–83; cf. Griffin 1986, 135– 36). To answer these objections, one must turn to consideration of the liberal principle of legitimacy. For the claim that liberals make concerning the limits of state promotion of the good — a limit set by respect for autonomy — depends heavily on their view about the ultimate ground of political power.

Liberalism is generally understood to arise historically out of the social contract tradition of political philosophy and hence rests on the idea of popular sovereignty. The concept of autonomy, then, figures centrally in at least one dominant strand in this tradition, the strand the runs through the work of Kant. The major alternative version of the liberal tradition sees popular sovereignty as basically a collective expression of rational choice and that the principles of the basic institutions of political power are merely instrumental in the maximization of aggregate citizen welfare (or, as with Mill, a constitutive element of welfare broadly considered).

But it is the Kantian brand of liberalism that places autonomy of persons at center stage. Rawls’s Theory of Justice was seen as the contemporary manifestation of this Kantian approach to justice, where justice was conceived as those principles that would be chosen under conditions of unbiased rational decision-making (from behind the veil of ignorance). The original position where such principles would be chosen was said by Rawls to mirror Kant’s Categorical Imperative. That is, it is a device in which persons can choose principles to impose upon themselves in a way which is independent of contingencies of social position, race, sex, or conception of the good (Rawls 1971, 221–27). But as is well known, the Kantian foundations of Rawls’s theory of justice rendered it vulnerable to the charge that it was inapplicable to those populations (all modern populations in fact) where deep moral pluralism abounds. For under such conditions, no theory of justice which rests on a metaphysically grounded conception of the person could claim full allegiance from members of a population whose deep diversity causes them to disagree about metaphysics itself, as well as about moral frameworks and conceptions of value related to it. For this reason, Rawls developed a new (or further developed) understanding of the foundations of his version of liberalism, a political conception (Rawls 1993).

Under political liberalism, autonomy of persons is postulated, not as a metaphysically grounded “fact” about moral personality or practical reason as such, but rather as one of several “device[s] of representation” under which diverse citizens can focus on the methods of derivation (such as the original position) for substantive principles of justice (Rawls 1999, 303–58). Justice is achieved only when an overlapping consensus among people moved by deeply divergent but reasonable comprehensive moral views can be attained, a consensus in which such citizens can affirm principles of justice from within those comprehensive views.

Political Liberalism shifts the focus from a philosophical conception of justice, formulated abstractly and meant to apply universally, to a practical conception of legitimacy where consensus is reached without pretension of deep metaphysical roots for the principles in question. More than merely a “modus vivendi” for the participating parties, justice must be affirmed in a way that finds a moral basis for all participating citizens, albeit from different frameworks of value and moral obligation. The operation of public reason, then, serves as the means by which such a consensus might be established, and hence public discussion and democratic institutions must be seen as a constitutive part of the justification of principles of justice rather than merely a mechanism for the collective determination of the social good.

But the role of autonomy in the specification of this picture should not be under- emphasized (or the controversies it invites ignored). For such a consensus counts as legitimate only when achieved under conditions of free and authentic affirmation of shared principles. Only if the citizens see themselves as fully able to reflectively endorse or reject such shared principles, and to do so competently and with adequate information and range of options, can the overlapping political consensus step beyond the purely strategic dynamics of a modus vivendi and ground legitimate institutions of political power.

Indeed, the assumption that all those subject to political authority enjoy the developed capacity to reflectively accept their life path and the values inherent in it invokes a level of idealization that belies the conditions of many victims of past and ongoing oppression. This virtually ensures that such structural conditions of society as racial domination, profound inequality of power, and patterns of exclusion of groups from equal standing in social space will be assumed away as irrelevant to the question of legitimacy (Mills 2005).

Therefore, social conditions that hamper the equal enjoyment of capacities to reflectively consider and (if necessary) reject principles of social justice, due, say, to extreme poverty, disability, ongoing injustice and inequality, or the like, restrict the establishment of just principles. Autonomy, then, insofar as that concept picks out the free reflective choice operating in the establishment of legitimacy, is basic to, and presupposed by, even such non-foundational (political) conceptions of justice.

Critics of political liberalism arise from several quarters. However, among the objections to it that focus on autonomy are those that question whether a political conception of legitimacy that rests on shared values can be sustained without the validity of those values being seen as somehow objective or fundamental, a position that clashes with the purported pluralism of political liberalism. Otherwise, citizens with deeply conflicting worldviews could not be expected to affirm the value of autonomy except as a mere modus vivendi (see, e.g., Wall 2009; cf. also Larmore 2008, 146–6). A line of response to this worry that could be pursued would be one that claimed that values that amount to autonomy (in some conceptualization of that idea) are already functional in the social structures and cultural practices of otherwise defensible democratic practices (as well as some critical projects that emphasize oppression and domination, as we saw above). This point raises the issue, to which we now turn, of the connection between autonomy, political liberalism, and democracy.

In closing, we should add a word about the implications of political liberalism for the traditional division between liberal justice and democratic theory. I say “division” here, but different views of justice and democracy will convey very different conceptions of the relation between the two (see Christiano 1996, Lakoff 1996). But traditionally, liberal conceptions of justice have viewed democratic mechanisms of collective choice as essential but highly circumscribed by the constitutional provisions that principles of justice support. Individual rights and freedoms, equality before the law, and various privileges and protections associated with citizen autonomy are protected by principles of justice and hence not subject to democratic review, on this approach (Gutmann 1993).

However, liberal conceptions of justice have themselves evolved (in some strains at least) to include reference to collective discussion and debate (public reason) among the constitutive conditions of legitimacy. It could be claimed, then, that basic assumptions about citizens’ capacities for reflective deliberation and choice — autonomy — must be part of the background conditions against which an overlapping consensus or other sort of political agreement concerning principles of justice is to operate.

Some thinkers have made the connection between individual or “private” autonomy and collective or “public” legitimacy — prominent, most notably Habermas (Habermas 1994). On this view, legitimacy and justice cannot be established in advance through philosophical construction and argument, as was thought to be the case in natural law traditions in which classical social contract theory flourished and which is inherited (in different form) in contemporary perfectionist liberal views. Rather, justice amounts to that set of principles that are established in practice and rendered legitimate by the actual support of affected citizens (and their representatives) in a process of collective discourse and deliberation (see e.g., Fraser 1997, 11–40 and Young 2000). Systems of rights and protections (private, individual autonomy) will necessarily be protected in order to institutionalize frameworks of public deliberation (and, more specifically, legislation and constitutional interpretation) that render principles of social justice acceptable to all affected (in consultation with others) (Habermas 1994, 111).

This view of justice, if at all acceptable, provides an indirect defense of the protection of autonomy and, in particular, conceptualizing autonomy in a way that assumes reflective self- evaluation. For only if citizen participants in the public discourse that underlies justice are assumed to have (and provided the basic resources for having) capacities for competent self- reflection, can the public defense and discussion of competing conceptions of justice take place (cf. Gaus 1996, Parts II and III, Gaus 2011). Insofar as autonomy is necessary for a functioning democracy (considered very broadly), and the latter is a constitutive element of just political institutions, then autonomy must be seen as reflective self-appraisal (and, I would add, non-alienation from central aspects of one’s person) (see Cohen 2002, Richardson 2003, Christman 2015).

This approach to justice and autonomy, spelled out here in rough and general form, has certainly faced criticism. In particular, those theorists concerned with the multi-dimensional nature of social and cultural “difference” have stressed how the conception of the autonomous person assumed in such principles (as well as criteria for rational discourse and public deliberation) is a contestable ideal not internalized by all participants in contemporary political life (see, e.g., Brown 1995, Benhabib 1992). Others motivated by post-modern considerations concerning the nature of the self, rationality, language, and identity, are also suspicious of the manner in which the basic concepts operative in liberal theories of justice (“autonomy” for example) are understood as fixed, transparent, and without their own political presuppositions (see, e.g., Butler 1990; for general discussion see White 1990).

These charges are stated here much too generally to give an adequate response in this context. But the challenge remains for any theory of justice which rests on a presumption of the normative centrality of autonomy. To be plausible in a variously pluralistic social setting, one marked by ongoing histories of oppressive practices and institutions, such a view must avoid the twin evils of forcibly imposing a (reasonably) contested value on resistant citizens, on the one hand, and simply abandoning all normative conceptions of social order in favor of open ended struggle for power on the other. The view that individuals ought to be treated as, and given the resources to become, autonomous in one of the minimal senses outlined here will, I submit, be a central element in any political view that steers between the Scylla of oppressive forms of perfectionism and the Charybdis of interest-group power politics.

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  • –––, 2014. “Three Dimensions of Autonomy: A Relational Analysis,” in Veltman and Piper (eds.),pp. 15–41.
  • Mackenzie, Catriona, and Natalie Stoljar (eds.), 2000a. Relational Autonomy: Feminist Perspectives on Autonomy, Agency, and the Social Self , New York: Oxford University Press.
  • –––, 2000b. “Introduction: Autonomy Refigured,” in Mackenzie and Stoljar (eds.), pp. 3–31.
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  • Mele, Alfred R., 1991. “History and Personal Autonomy,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy , 23: 271–80.
  • –––, 1995. Autonomous Agents: From Self-Control to Autonomy , New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Meyers, Diana T., 1987. “Personal Autonomy and the Paradox of Feminine Socialization,” Journal of Philosophy , 84: 619–28.
  • –––, 1989. Self, Society, and Personal Choice , New York: Columbia University Press.
  • –––, 1994. Subjection and Subjectivity: Psychoanalytic Feminism and Moral Philosophy , New York: Routledge.
  • ––– (ed.), 1997. Feminist Rethink the Self , Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
  • –––, 2004. Being Yourself: Essays on Identity, Action, and Social Life , Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
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  • –––, 2005. “‘Ideal Theory’ as Ideology,” Hypatia , 20(3): 165–83.
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  • Nedelsky, Jennifer, 1989. “Reconcieving Autonomy: Sources, Thoughts, and Possibilities,” Yale Journal of Law and Feminism , 1(1): 7–36.
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  • Noggle, R., 2005. “Autonomy and the Paradox of Self-Creation: Infinite Regresses, Finite Selves, and the Limits of Authenticity,” in J.S. Taylor (ed.), pp. 87–108.
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  • Oshana, Marina, 1998. “Personal Autonomy and Society,” Journal of Social Philosophy , 29(1): 81–102.
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  • –––, 2005. “Autonomy and Self Identity,” in Christman and Anderson (eds.), pp. 77–100.
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  • Rosich, Gerard, 2019. The Contested History of Autonomy: Interpreting European Modernity , London: Bloomsbury Academic.
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  • –––, 2017. “Relational Autonomy and Perfectionism,” Moral Philosophy and Politics , 4(1): 27–41.
  • Sumner, L. W., 1996. Welfare, Happiness and Ethics , New York: Oxford University Press.
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  • –––, 1991. The Ethics of Authenticity , Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • –––, 1992. Multiculturalism and the “Politics of Recognition” , Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Taylor, James Stacey (ed.), 2005. Personal Autonomy: New Essays on Personal Autonomy and Its Role in Contemporary Moral Philosophy , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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  • Thalberg, Irving, 1989. “Hierarchical Analyses of Unfree Action,” reprinted in Christman (ed.), pp. 123–136.
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  • Wall, Steven, 1998. Liberalism, Perfectionism and Restraint , New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • –––, 2009. “Perfectionism in Politics: A Defense,” in Christiano and Christman (eds.), pp. 99–118.
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How to cite this entry . Preview the PDF version of this entry at the Friends of the SEP Society . Look up topics and thinkers related to this entry at the Internet Philosophy Ontology Project (InPhO). Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPapers , with links to its database.
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  • How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .

Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.

You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:

  • Start with a question
  • Write your initial answer
  • Develop your answer
  • Refine your thesis statement

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Table of contents

What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.

The best thesis statements are:

  • Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
  • Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
  • Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.

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autonomy thesis statement

The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.

You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.

You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?

For example, you might ask:

After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .

Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.

In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.

The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.

In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.

The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.

A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:

  • Why you hold this position
  • What they’ll learn from your essay
  • The key points of your argument or narrative

The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.

These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.

Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:

  • In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
  • In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :

  • Ask a question about your topic .
  • Write your initial answer.
  • Develop your answer by including reasons.
  • Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.

The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .

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Essays on Nonconceptual Content

York H. Gunther is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at California State University at Northridge.

IV: The Autonomy Thesis

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25 Thesis Statement Examples That Will Make Writing a Breeze


Understanding what makes a good thesis statement is one of the major keys to writing a great research paper or argumentative essay. The thesis statement is where you make a claim that will guide you through your entire paper. If you find yourself struggling to make sense of your paper or your topic, then it's likely due to a weak thesis statement.

Let's take a minute to first understand what makes a solid thesis statement, and what key components you need to write one of your own.

Perfecting Your Thesis Statement

A thesis statement always goes at the beginning of the paper. It will typically be in the first couple of paragraphs of the paper so that it can introduce the body paragraphs, which are the supporting evidence for your thesis statement.

Your thesis statement should clearly identify an argument. You need to have a statement that is not only easy to understand, but one that is debatable. What that means is that you can't just put any statement of fact and have it be your thesis. For example, everyone knows that puppies are cute . An ineffective thesis statement would be, "Puppies are adorable and everyone knows it." This isn't really something that's a debatable topic.

Something that would be more debatable would be, "A puppy's cuteness is derived from its floppy ears, small body, and playfulness." These are three things that can be debated on. Some people might think that the cutest thing about puppies is the fact that they follow you around or that they're really soft and fuzzy.

All cuteness aside, you want to make sure that your thesis statement is not only debatable, but that it also actually thoroughly answers the research question that was posed. You always want to make sure that your evidence is supporting a claim that you made (and not the other way around). This is why it's crucial to read and research about a topic first and come to a conclusion later. If you try to get your research to fit your thesis statement, then it may not work out as neatly as you think. As you learn more, you discover more (and the outcome may not be what you originally thought).

Additionally, your thesis statement shouldn't be too big or too grand. It'll be hard to cover everything in a thesis statement like, "The federal government should act now on climate change." The topic is just too large to actually say something new and meaningful. Instead, a more effective thesis statement might be, "Local governments can combat climate change by providing citizens with larger recycling bins and offering local classes about composting and conservation." This is easier to work with because it's a smaller idea, but you can also discuss the overall topic that you might be interested in, which is climate change.

So, now that we know what makes a good, solid thesis statement, you can start to write your own. If you find that you're getting stuck or you are the type of person who needs to look at examples before you start something, then check out our list of thesis statement examples below.

Thesis statement examples

A quick note that these thesis statements have not been fully researched. These are merely examples to show you what a thesis statement might look like and how you can implement your own ideas into one that you think of independently. As such, you should not use these thesis statements for your own research paper purposes. They are meant to be used as examples only.

  • Vaccinations Because many children are unable to vaccinate due to illness, we must require that all healthy and able children be vaccinated in order to have herd immunity.
  • Educational Resources for Low-Income Students Schools should provide educational resources for low-income students during the summers so that they don't forget what they've learned throughout the school year.
  • School Uniforms School uniforms may be an upfront cost for families, but they eradicate the visual differences in income between students and provide a more egalitarian atmosphere at school.
  • Populism The rise in populism on the 2016 political stage was in reaction to increasing globalization, the decline of manufacturing jobs, and the Syrian refugee crisis.
  • Public Libraries Libraries are essential resources for communities and should be funded more heavily by local municipalities.
  • Cyber Bullying With more and more teens using smartphones and social media, cyber bullying is on the rise. Cyber bullying puts a lot of stress on many teens, and can cause depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. Parents should limit the usage of smart phones, monitor their children's online activity, and report any cyber bullying to school officials in order to combat this problem.
  • Medical Marijuana for Veterans Studies have shown that the use of medicinal marijuana has been helpful to veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Medicinal marijuana prescriptions should be legal in all states and provided to these veterans. Additional medical or therapy services should also be researched and implemented in order to help them re-integrate back into civilian life.
  • Work-Life Balance Corporations should provide more work from home opportunities and six-hour workdays so that office workers have a better work-life balance and are more likely to be productive when they are in the office.
  • Teaching Youths about Consensual Sex Although sex education that includes a discussion of consensual sex would likely lead to less sexual assault, parents need to teach their children the meaning of consent from a young age with age appropriate lessons.
  • Whether or Not to Attend University A degree from a university provides invaluable lessons on life and a future career, but not every high school student should be encouraged to attend a university directly after graduation. Some students may benefit from a trade school or a "gap year" where they can think more intensely about what it is they want to do for a career and how they can accomplish this.
  • Studying Abroad Studying abroad is one of the most culturally valuable experiences you can have in college. It is the only way to get completely immersed in another language and learn how other cultures and countries are different from your own.
  • Women's Body Image Magazines have done a lot in the last five years to include a more diverse group of models, but there is still a long way to go to promote a healthy woman's body image collectively as a culture.
  • Cigarette Tax Heavily taxing and increasing the price of cigarettes is essentially a tax on the poorest Americans, and it doesn't deter them from purchasing. Instead, the state and federal governments should target those economically disenfranchised with early education about the dangers of smoking.
  • Veganism A vegan diet, while a healthy and ethical way to consume food, indicates a position of privilege. It also limits you to other cultural food experiences if you travel around the world.
  • University Athletes Should be Compensated University athletes should be compensated for their service to the university, as it is difficult for these students to procure and hold a job with busy academic and athletic schedules. Many student athletes on scholarship also come from low-income neighborhoods and it is a struggle to make ends meet when they are participating in athletics.
  • Women in the Workforce Sheryl Sandberg makes a lot of interesting points in her best-selling book, Lean In , but she only addressed the very privileged working woman and failed to speak to those in lower-skilled, lower-wage jobs.
  • Assisted Suicide Assisted suicide should be legal and doctors should have the ability to make sure their patients have the end-of-life care that they want to receive.
  • Celebrity and Political Activism Although Taylor Swift's lyrics are indicative of a feminist perspective, she should be more politically active and vocal to use her position of power for the betterment of society.
  • The Civil War The insistence from many Southerners that the South seceded from the Union for states' rights versus the fact that they seceded for the purposes of continuing slavery is a harmful myth that still affects race relations today.
  • Blue Collar Workers Coal miners and other blue-collar workers whose jobs are slowly disappearing from the workforce should be re-trained in jobs in the technology sector or in renewable energy. A program to re-train these workers would not only improve local economies where jobs have been displaced, but would also lead to lower unemployment nationally.
  • Diversity in the Workforce Having a diverse group of people in an office setting leads to richer ideas, more cooperation, and more empathy between people with different skin colors or backgrounds.
  • Re-Imagining the Nuclear Family The nuclear family was traditionally defined as one mother, one father, and 2.5 children. This outdated depiction of family life doesn't quite fit with modern society. The definition of normal family life shouldn't be limited to two-parent households.
  • Digital Literacy Skills With more information readily available than ever before, it's crucial that students are prepared to examine the material they're reading and determine whether or not it's a good source or if it has misleading information. Teaching students digital literacy and helping them to understand the difference between opinion or propaganda from legitimate, real information is integral.
  • Beauty Pageants Beauty pageants are presented with the angle that they empower women. However, putting women in a swimsuit on a stage while simultaneously judging them on how well they answer an impossible question in a short period of time is cruel and purely for the amusement of men. Therefore, we should stop televising beauty pageants.
  • Supporting More Women to Run for a Political Position In order to get more women into political positions, more women must run for office. There must be a grassroots effort to educate women on how to run for office, who among them should run, and support for a future candidate for getting started on a political career.

Still stuck? Need some help with your thesis statement?

If you are still uncertain about how to write a thesis statement or what a good thesis statement is, be sure to consult with your teacher or professor to make sure you're on the right track. It's always a good idea to check in and make sure that your thesis statement is making a solid argument and that it can be supported by your research.

After you're done writing, it's important to have someone take a second look at your paper so that you can ensure there are no mistakes or errors. It's difficult to spot your own mistakes, which is why it's always recommended to have someone help you with the revision process, whether that's a teacher, the writing center at school, or a professional editor such as one from ServiceScape .

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  • Reproductive autonomy and the ethics of abortion
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Abortion is one of the most controversial issues in today's world. People tend to turn to the law when trying to decide what is the best possible solution to an unwanted pregnancy. Here the author's views on abortion are discussed from a lawyer's and a woman's point of view. By taking into consideration the rights of the fetus an “antagonistic relationship” between the woman and her unborn child may occur. Therefore, women should have more autonomy in the issue. The article concludes with examples of cases in the United States and Ireland where the rights of the fetus are considered more important than those of the mother because of existing laws. This article suggests that a more inclusive ethics of abortion is required rather than a new ethics of abortion when “translating fetal life into law”.

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Practising lawyers generally have little time to reflect on matters of ethics. The law is a blunt instrument. Lawyers are often instructed to act for clients wishing to do things that would strike many people as immoral, but which the law entitles them to do. Evicting homeless people from one's property is an example. Lawyers are not expected or invited to pass moral judgments on their client. If they did, the client would probably go elsewhere! The Bar has a rule of conduct called the “cab-rank” rule. This obliges barristers to accept instructions regardless of the identity of the client, or the nature of the cause, or the barrister's own opinions about the client's conduct. Judges, likewise, must decide disputes according to law; their function is not to pass moral judgments on litigants. The reflections that follow, therefore, do not pretend to constitute some systematic overview but rather, some personal thoughts and ideas which may prompt further discussion.

So what can a barrister say on the ethics of abortion? Is a new ethics developing? Should there be one? These are interesting and important questions. As a lawyer with a commitment to autonomy, I see abortion as an issue that overwhelmingly concerns the autonomy and dignity of the pregnant woman herself. “Autonomy” derives from the Greek and means, literally, “self rule”. If a woman who is pregnant wishes to stop being pregnant, why should we prevent her? If we regard her pregnancy as a morally neutral state, there ought to be no satisfactory reason to prevent her. The way that humans reproduce, in common with other mammals, is simply a product of evolution. Biologically, the developing fetus is somewhat like an invading organism; if it were not for a complex system of compensating mechanisms, the woman's body would reject it in the same way as the body rejects a transplanted organ.

Attitudes to pregnancy are, however, inextricably bound up with how society views sex, women, and the fertile woman in particular. Pregnancy and birth are not minor inconveniences, such as having a cold. They constitute a major life event, which even when welcome causes immense discomfort and disruption to many women. Only recently Mrs Blair confessed that she had forgotten what an ordeal the last few hours of labour are. I have a dear friend who spent much of her two (planned) pregnancies being ill and unable to work. There exists a raft of laws to protect pregnant employees from unfair treatment because they are pregnant. Nevertheless, lawyers in the employment field still encounter cases where employers try to rid themselves of their pregnant employees. When a high-profile court case involving maternity rights is decided, leaders of industry often complain that this will have a chilling effect on employers' readiness to employ women of child-bearing age. I mention these factors simply to contextualise some of the difficulties that child-bearing women face.

If one is adamantly opposed to abortion, one is committed to some set of values which requires that women who become pregnant (whether intentionally or unintentionally) must endure the process of pregnancy and birth, no matter how distressing, painful and risky it is for them. The justification given for this is usually based on an abstract notion of the value of “fetal life”, rather than on the ground that suffering is morally improving for the women concerned. Extreme opponents of abortion argue that abortion is equivalent to murder and that, no matter how much women may suffer, they cannot be allowed to “kill their children”. But opposition to abortion entails a demand that women suffer, regardless of the circumstances in which they came to be pregnant, and despite the opportunities for ending pregnancy that exist. For those who believe that fetuses are full human beings, the justification is presumably that the woman's suffering is a lesser evil than terminating fetal life. This raises the question whether they tolerate the taking of “innocent” human life in other circumstances, for example. NATO's attack on Kosovo, or careless driving. Since an unwanted fetus is analogous to an invading organism, even if it is viewed as a human being, an argument can be made that the woman is entitled to refuse to act as a life-support system for it, and to abort in self defence. What about those who do not believe that fetuses are full human beings, but believe that abortion following consensual sexual activity is “wrong”? As the philosopher Janet Radcliffe Richards 1 has pointed out, the only time when we insist that a particular consequence must follow a particular activity, and do not allow people to escape the consequence, is when the consequence is intended as a punishment. 2 Apart from this punitive aspect of anti-abortion belief, it is also objectionable in ethical terms because it treats the pregnant woman as a means to an end: that of producing a baby.

Of course, many women will not accept the suffering which continuing with pregnancy would cause them (or their families), and take steps accordingly. In countries where safe abortion is illegal or unavailable, this results in self-imposed or “back-street” abortions and all the ills that flow from that: injury, infection, infertility, and even death. It is striking that complications from unsafe abortion are estimated to result in 13 per cent of maternal deaths worldwide. 3 It is hard to see how such wastage of female life could be condoned in ethical terms. As Ann Furedi has said: “The issue is not so much whether or when the embryo/fetus is deserving of respect per se, but how much respect and value we accord to a life (that does not even know it is alive) relative to the respect and value we have for the life of the woman who carries it.” 4

If we start from the premise that the promotion of freedom and the prevention of suffering are fundamental goals which society ought to support, then the prospect of women forced into suffering even—death—ought to worry us. Kant says that “a man is not a thing, that is to say, something which can be used merely as a means, but must in all his actions be always considered as an end in himself”. 5 Denying women abortion is, on this analysis, unethical because it subordinates women to a reproductive end.

The present tendency to characterise questions about abortion ethics in terms of concerns about fetuses, or even fetal “rights”, tends to sideline women and the realities of women's lives. Such sidelining of women is not entirely accidental; it is trite that many “fetal rights” proponents are opposed to the present increase in women's freedoms, and want to roll them back. Others who speak of fetuses as having “rights” assume that fetuses either have, or should have, rights, without necessarily explaining why this should be so, or why it should result in another person's loss of autonomy.

To put women back centre-stage, we should ask: why do women want abortions? Research has shown that the most commonly reported reason worldwide is that women wish to postpone, or stop, childbearing. 6 Abortion is a form of family planning, though it may not be “politically correct” to say so. What other reasons do women give for wanting abortions, worldwide? They include:

disruption of education or employment;

lack of support from father;

desire to provide for existing children;

poverty, unemployment or inability to afford sadditional children;

relationship problems with husband or partner, and

a woman's perception that she is too young to have a child.

To compel such women to bear unwanted children is in my view a form of ethical despotism: in Mill's words: “compelling each to live as seems good to the rest”. 7 If people are to be free, that freedom must include freedom to make these difficult and extremely personal choices.

Is the law informed by a consistent set of ethical principles? In England, Scotland, and Wales, abortion is permitted by the 1967 Abortion Act (amended by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990), when two medical practitioners decide, in good faith, that one of the following grounds applies:

That the pregnancy has not exceeded its 24th week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family.

That the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.

That the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated.

That there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such mental or physical abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.

Grounds 1 and 3 call for balancing exercises. Ground 2, which is based on necessity, does not. Ground 4 calls for an assessment of the likely severity of fetal handicap.

Doctors may take into account the pregnant woman's actual or reasonably foreseeable environment, in assessing the risk of injury to her health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing that does not consist only in the absence of infirmity”. According to evidence-based guideline no 7, issued in March 2000 by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion , 8 most doctors apply the WHO definition of “health” in interpreting the Abortion Act. 9 The RCOG's guideline development group views induced abortion as a health care need. 10 It also states that, among information on other topics which should be available to women, “abortion is safer than continuing a pregnancy to term and complications are rare”. 11

Janet Radcliffe Richards criticises the existing law:

“ …as things stand at the moment there is no real concern to estimate the value of the unborn child, or for the degree of suffering which would justify an abortion. All the law does, in effect, is make sure that a woman may not decide for herself whether to have an abortion, and send her to someone else in the position of a suppliant for favours, or even a culprit. It does nothing else ... as the law now stands there is no reason whatever for stopping where we are, and not going forward to a state where all women who want abortions can have them.” 12

If having an abortion is safer than carrying a pregnancy to term, then all pregnant women who wanted a termination below 24 weeks should qualify under ground 1 above. So perhaps the law is not so bad, after all.

In Northern Ireland, however, the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply. Doctors there do perform abortions on the ground of fetal abnormality. They can also perform abortions in cases where the woman's mental or physical health or wellbeing, or her life, are at real and serious risk. In this context, “real and serious” mean, simply, “genuine” and “not minor or trivial”. Thus, a woman does not have to show a life-threatening risk to her health, or even a “very serious” risk, to qualify for a legal abortion. Ironically, in the absence of any prescribed statutory formalities for abortion, Northern Ireland has on the face of it a more liberal abortion regime than the rest of the United Kingdom. In practice, though, the reluctance of the medical profession to perform abortions has a chilling effect. Most women seeking terminations have to travel to England or Scotland, at their own expense.

There are irreconcilable conflicts between what might be called the fundamentalist approach to the issue of abortion, which sees life as starting at conception, and what might be called the sceptical view, by which life begins when we attribute enough value to it to warrant its protection. Under English law, a fetus is not a “person”. Furthermore, a woman may decline medical intervention that would preserve the life of her fetus, and is free to let nature take its course, even where this may cause the death of her fetus. The justification for this is, firstly, that the common law respects the pregnant woman's autonomy; and secondly, that the common law does not coerce people into being “Good Samaritans” and saving others (assuming, for argument's sake, that the fetus is an “other”). The common law tradition is essentially liberal. The vice-chancellor, Sir Robert Megarry, put it like this in 1979: “[England] is a country where everything is permitted except what is expressly forbidden”. 13 If everyone could be compelled by law to do what others considered “right”, we should have no freedom, only moral dictatorship.

The case of St George's Healthcare NHS Trust v S , 14 decided in 1998, was a landmark case involving reproductive autonomy in another context: that of the pregnant woman's freedom to decline invasive treatment. The Court of Appeal upheld the common law rule that competent adults can refuse medical advice and intervention, despite being pregnant. Ms S was compulsorily detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 because she was refusing hospitalisation for pre-eclampsia. She was then forced into an unwanted caesarean, purporting to be authorised by a court order, which was made without any notice to her. She later recovered very substantial damages for trespass. The Court of Appeal stressed the importance of protecting individual autonomy, regardless of sex:

“while pregnancy increases the personal responsibilities of a woman it does not diminish her entitlement to decide whether or not to undergo medical treatment…. Her right is not reduced or diminished merely because her decision to exercise it may appear morally repugnant . . .the autonomy of each individual requires continuing protection even, perhaps particularly, when the motive for interfering with it is readily understandable, and indeed to many would appear commendable ... if it has not already done so, medical science will no doubt advance to the stage where a very minor procedure undergone by an adult would save the life of his or her child, or perhaps the child of a complete stranger . . .if however the adult were compelled to agree, or rendered helpless to resist, the principle of autonomy would be extinguished.”[italics added]

St George's wanted to appeal to the House of Lords to ventilate the arguments (among others) that a fetus was a “person” and that a pregnant woman could be deprived of her autonomy at the stage of fetal viability. These were interesting arguments for a National Health (NHS) trust, which presumably carries out abortions for fetal abnormality and other reasons, to pursue. If such arguments had been upheld on appeal, they would have had momentous implications for abortion law. St George's was refused leave to appeal by the Court of Appeal, and initially began proceedings for leave to appeal in the House of Lords. These were abandoned before the House of Lords had made a final decision on whether to grant leave.

Another interesting feature of the case is that Ms S's detention and forced treatment were prompted by concerns that she was refusing treatment for a disorder of pregnancy, pre-eclampsia. This could have killed her and her fetus, had it deteriorated into full-blown eclampsia. The irony is that Ms S could have sought a late abortion, on the ground that the continuation of her pregnancy posed the risk of grave and irreparable injury to her health and a serious risk to her life (grounds 2 and 3, referred to above). She was not seeking a late termination, but if she had, her situation would have been covered by the Abortion Act. That she wanted to let nature take its course was certainly eccentric, but ethically less troubling (if you dislike the idea of late termination) than if she had sought a late abortion.

Many people attribute a higher value to fetal life when fetuses reach viability. Thus, some people are troubled at the idea of, or opposed to, late terminations, whilst regarding early terminations as unproblematic or at any rate less problematic. But as Justice Ginsberg of the United State Supreme Court has recently pointed out: “the most common method of performing previability second trimester abortions is no less distressing or susceptible to gruesome description”. 15 In practice, late terminations are rare. The majority are done for fetal abnormality in what were otherwise wanted pregnancies; a minority are done to save the woman's life, or to prevent grave permanent damage to her health.

The question is, again, how to assess when life begins, in an ethical sense. Legally, as I have said, the fetus is not a “person”, and does not become a rights-bearing entity until it is born. But attempts to pin down “viability” as a criterion for abortion run into the problem that viability depends partly on where the fetus happens to be; if it is in an area with excellent facilities for the care of very premature babies, then it may be considered “viable” at an earlier gestational age, than if it were somewhere else. On any view, this is arbitrary.

In the United States' constitutional jurisprudence, access to abortion is a constitutionally protected right. Subsequent to fetal viability, the state may regulate and even prohibit abortion as a means of promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life. However, a woman remains constitutionally entitled to an abortion post-viability, where this is necessary to preserve her life or her health. 16 Her interests in preserving her own life and health will “trump” the state's interest. It is also worth noting that fetuses are not recognised as “persons” under the US constitution; if they were, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to derive any right to abortion under the constitution. Even if a pregnant woman's life were at stake, it would be more difficult to argue that this should justify killing fetal “persons”: our response to people who are dangerously ill is not to kill other people. (Otherwise, every time someone needed a life-saving transplant, we could justify killing someone else to provide the needed organ). Some form of “self-defence” argument would have to be invoked.

Some people argue that it is arbitrary not to bestow “personhood” on a fetus until it is born. They ask rhetorically: What is it about the passage through the vagina that makes such a difference? Of course, if you can only envisage a vagina instead of a woman giving birth, you may have difficulty acknowledging the critical role that a woman plays in giving birth, and why (in turn) society views birth as the critical moment. This is, as much as anything, a mark of respect for women's role in giving birth.

Some obstetricians regard pregnant women as “two patients” in the maternity care context. To a blunt lawyer, this is incongruous in the extreme. One wonders, is the fetal “patient” a “person”? Presumably so, because the idea of a patient who is not a person is bizarre. But in legal terms, as I have said earlier, the pregnant woman is only one person. Whom do doctors advise? Who takes the treatment decisions? The woman. Generally, midwives and obstetricians talk about “babies” rather than fetuses, presumably because that is how the women whom they attend regard their fetuses. But is the fetus really a second patient? If it were such, one might expect doctors would have to open up a separate file for the fetus, which is not customary (as far as I know) in maternity hospitals. Perhaps having “two” patients makes an obstetrician a “super-doctor”, which is why the idea has gained ground!

There are conceptual difficulties to do with attributing personhood to an entity which is invisible, inaccessible, physically contained in and attached to the woman, which entirely lacks capacity, and which cannot interact with others at all, prior to birth. In everyday life, such an idea, if given legal effect, would lead to some strange outcomes. Pregnant women might have to purchase two tickets every time they used public transport to avoid being prosecuted for fetal “fare-dodging”. More seriously, if fetuses were “persons”, this would open the way to lawsuits for alleged wrongdoing by pregnant women whose conduct allegedly compromised fetal wellbeing in some way. In the words of a 1993 Canadian Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies (cited in the St George's judgment): “each choice made by the woman in relation to her body will affect the fetus and potentially attract tort liability”. 14

One can make a case for saying that a pregnant woman is entitled to be regarded as two persons, not as a means of subordinating her interests and autonomy, but rather to enhance it. (I have problems with this argument, however, and it doesn't work in terms of abortion). Quite simply, one could say that, given the increased needs which pregnancy brings, the pregnant woman is entitled to call for special care and treatment for herself and for her fetus. In theory, the pregnant woman could act as the fetus's proxy, with sole authority to advocate on its behalf, and to determine what happens to it. The problem with translating the idea of “two patients” into legal terms, however, is that “fetal rights” proponents have deployed this concept not as a means of improving care for pregnant women, but as a pretext for coercion: state intervention which forces pregnant woman into an antagonistic relationship with their fetuses. In other words, state control of pregnant women.

An illustration of the coercion to which this can give rise, is provided by certain US states. In South Carolina and California, drug-addicted pregnant women attending antenatal clinics have been arrested and charged with criminal offences, after they tested positive for drugs whilst pregnant. The MSUC hospital in Charleston, South Carolina pursued a particularly punitive policy against addicted African-American women in the 1980s and early 1990s. Pregnant women attending for antenatal care were tested for drugs without their knowledge and, if the tests were positive, the women were arrested and taken into custody by the police. An appeal to the US Supreme Court, in a case called Ferguson v City of Charleston , recently succeeded: the Supreme Court decided in March 2001 that covert drug-testing was unconstitutional. 18

The South Carolina Supreme Court gave a ruling in 1997, in a case concerning another drug-addicted pregnant woman, Whitner v State . 19 She was convicted of criminal child neglect for (in the words of prosecutors) failing to provide proper medical care for her unborn child, and jailed for eight years. He was born healthy, but a test showed prenatal exposure to cocaine. The ruling is that a viable fetus is a “person”, and that acts which endanger fetal health—including drinking and smoking—can be prosecuted under child abuse laws. After this ruling, the Attorney-General's office in South Carolina announced that anyone who had, or who took part in, a post-viability abortion could be prosecuted for murder and receive the death penalty. 20 Here are some examples of how the decision has been applied:

“ Whitner has not been limited to women who use illegal drugs. Following the decision a pregnant woman in South Carolina was arrested because she was pregnant and used alcohol. When a thirteen-year-old girl experienced a stillbirth her parents were arrested: one charge was for unlawful conduct to a child because the girl's parents had allegedly ‘failed to get proper care for the fetus’. A woman who suffered a miscarriage was arrested and charged with homicide by child abuse. The prosecutor admitted there was no evidence of drug use but nevertheless insisted that the miscarriage was a ‘crime’ for which the woman had to take responsibility.” (L M Paltrow, personal communication, 4 May 2000)

Another example of state control is provided by the Republic of Ireland, where the constitution gives the “unborn” a right to life equal to that of the “mother”. Even rape is not recognised as a legal basis for abortion, though this could be the subject of a challenge before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. In two dramatic cases involving child victims of sexual assault, the X and C cases, 21 , 22 Irish courts have become involved in the question whether such victims are free to travel to England for lawful abortions. Where children become pregnant, and family courts have to consider their welfare, the Irish courts will only permit travel abroad for abortions when the children can show their lives are in danger. This is surprising, given that the Irish people voted to give women freedom to travel in 1992. So there are some stark examples from both sides of the Atlantic of problems that arise when ethical absolutes about fetal life are translated into law. Perhaps it is not so much a new ethics of abortion that is required, as a more inclusive one.

  • ↵ Radcliffe Richards J. The sceptical feminist. London : Penguin, 1994.
  • ↵ See reference 1: 279.
  • ↵ A Joint World Health Organisation/UNFPA/UNICEF/World Bank statement. Reduction of maternal mortality. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1999: 14.
  • ↵ Furedi A. Women versus babies: comment & analysis. The Guardian 2000 Feb 22: .
  • ↵ Kant I. Fundamental principles of the metaphysic of morals. In Cahn SM, Markie P, eds. Ethics: history, theory and contemporary issues . New York: Oxford University Press, 1998: 297.
  • ↵ Smith C. Contraception and the need for abortion. A quest for abortion: new research about obstacles, delays and negative attitudes . London: Voice for Choice, 1999: 3-4.
  • ↵ Mill JS. On liberty. Three Essays London: Oxford University Press, 1975: 18.
  • ↵ Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. The care of women requesting induced abortion. London: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 2000.
  • ↵ See reference 8: 16: para 2.1
  • ↵ See reference 8: 36.
  • ↵ See reference 8: 26.
  • ↵ See reference 1: 289.
  • ↵ Malone v Metropolitan Police Commr, (1979)ch 344,537.
  • ↵ St George's Healthcare NHS Trust v S [1999] Fam; 26 :46-7.
  • ↵ Stenberg v Carhart US Supreme Court, June 28, 2000.
  • ↵ Planned Parenthood v Casey (1992) 505 US 833.
  • See reference 14: 49-50.
  • ↵ Ferguson v City of Charleston , US Supreme Court 21 March 2001.
  • ↵ Whitner v South Carolina , 492 SE2d 777 (SC 1997).
  • ↵ Paltrow L. Pregnant drug users, fetal persons and the threat to Roe v Wade. Albany Law Review 1999 ; 62 : 999 –1014. OpenUrl
  • ↵ Attorney-General v X [1992] 1 IR 1.
  • ↵ A & B v Eastern Health Board [1998] 1 IR 464.

Barbara Hewson is a Barrister at Littman Chambers, 12 Gray's Inn Square, London WC1R 5JP.

Read the full text or download the PDF:

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Nursing Autonomy Essay Sample

Autonomy in nursing has become one of the biggest issues in the past time which needs everyone’s attention to the core. Nurses are not allowed to take independent decisions and are always guided by the doctors for every small task. Medical science needs to improve these types of policies in their occupation. Students who are pursuing their education in medical science could be assigned the assignments on autonomy in nursing which asks their views on this topic. Help from the Students Assignment Help could be taken to in the form of assignments help on autonomy in nursing. Sample essay on autonomy in nursing is written by the experts here that can guide the students to write all assignments of this sort.

Essay Example on Nursing Autonomy

  • Thesis Statement of Nursing Autonomy Essay
  • Introduction of Nursing Autonomy Essay
  • Meaning of Autonomy and its Role in the Nursing Profession
  • How to Get Autonomy is Nursing
  • Obstructions that blocks the way of Autonomy in Nursing
Thesis Statement of Nursing Autonomy Essay Autonomy in nursing is very important to take certain independent decisions by the Nurses. It could be a life-saving step for the patient in the medical science profession to give Autonomy to the nurse. Introduction of Nursing Autonomy Essay There has been a lot of debate on the issue that autonomy must be given to the nurses in their professions. Some of the people are still working in such an atmosphere that does not allow the nurses to take independent decisions. The need of taking certain powerful steps in this direction is very important. Those who are not aware of the circumstances that could arise if nurses would not be given autonomy in their profession can go through the following essay. This essay highlights the need of autonomy that is given to the nurses in the hospital so that independent decisions or actions in an emergency could be taken to save the patient with high expectancy. You will come to know that how there are so many incidences and situations when patients could be saved if autonomy were given to the nurses in their profession and they were not supposed to follow the order of doctors all the time. Applying own wit is also important for the nurses in situations where doctors are serving important surgeries and operations of their patients. Main Body of Nursing Autonomy Essay Here is an essay on autonomy in nursing that will throw light upon the meaning of autonomy in nursing with complete depth along with its benefits and consequences. Those who are curious to know about the importance of autonomy in nursing can go through the complete essay below so that a major thinking capacity could be made by the people or students who are assigned with the assignments on autonomy in nursing. Meaning of Autonomy and its Role in the Nursing Profession The nursing profession is one of the most renowned professions worldwide as they serve an important role to save the lives of people along with the doctors of the world. But unfortunately, nurses are not given autonomy to take free action for their profession and they are always supposed to work under the guidance and instructions of the doctors to whom they are assisting. When autonomy is given to the nurses they can save the lives of more people because in an emergency when the doctor is not available a necessary treatment could be given by the nurses rather than seeking permission for that from the doctors first. So this is how autonomy is nursing can save the lives of people. Buy Customized Essay on Nursing Autonomy At Cheapest Price Order Now How to Get Autonomy is Nursing If someone wants to achieve complete autonomy in nursing it could be given by the doctor under whom a nurse is working. But that is not going to work for a large number of nurses as many doctors are very much sophisticated towards their position and cannot delegate their work to someone other in the hospital. While in other cases nurses have to leave their job if they take certain wrong decisions even it could be by mistake. So to get complete autonomy in the nursing profession it is important for the nurses to have a government rule which backs their autonomy in this profession. This is the high time when nurses should raise their voices to gain the rights associated with them. It is something that is really needed to save the existence of the nursing profession in this world. Obstructions that blocks the way of Autonomy in Nursing The major obstructions that block the way of nursing in getting complete supremacy on their action as professionals are the proof that sometimes nurses take wrong decisions that take away the life of patients. There have been incidences in which nurses were allowed to give the first treatment to the patients and they gave out the wrong medicines or injections as experience and knowledge are very important for this purpose. These few incidences are taken as weapons by the doctors and that is why the government is even in a state of limbo whether to complete rights to the nurses or not. So if you are a nurse make sure to give the exact medicine and other services so that autonomy could be established in this sector. Get Non-Plagiarized Custom Essay on Nursing Autonomy in USA Order Now Conclusion If you are aware of the benefits and flaws of autonomy in nursing you must be in an opinion that autonomy must be allowed to the nursing profession so that lives of innocent people could be saved who have to die due to the not availability of the doctor. Nurses are always there to check the treatment of the patient in an emergency situation so they must not be limited to take action by asking them to take the permission of the doctor first. It must be changed for the current scenario in which we have well-educated and experienced nurses. We cannot ignore their role in the assistance of doctors for supporting them in operation theaters and normal wards.

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Essay on Gratitude

gratitude towards teachers essay

#1 Essay on Gratitude Towards Parents

#2 essay on gratitude towards teachers, #3 essay on gratitude towards friends, #4 essay on gratitude towards god, #5 essay on gratitude towards school, #6 essay on gratitude day.

Gratitude is one of the most underestimated ways anyone can use to enrich their lives. It is the feeling and attitude of appreciation and thankfulness for the good that we receive in life.

Scientists have proven that when we express our gratefulness towards other people, we tend to feel happier, calmer and as a result, it opens up more channels for goodness to enter into our lives.

Imagine going through a day where strangers smile at you, greet you, and people hold the door open for you, and more importantly, you feel that this world is full of kindness and people are willing to help you without expecting any return. How would that make your day?

The best part about being grateful and to live a good life, you can do not have to wait for people to do good to you, instead, be the first one to act and express your thankfulness to them, especially your parents.

Why Do You Need To Show Gratitude Towards Parents

Robert Emmons, one of the world’s leading scientist and expert on the subject of gratitude reveals that feeling grateful have many benefits for your body, mind, and relationships, especially towards your parents.

You have to understand that your parents are the closest people you have when you were young and they are the ones that you spent the most time with. Well, this may not be true for everyone, but it is true for the majority of the people out there.

Kindness and success start from home. Another important point to remember is that you will someday become a parent too. And thus, how you treat your parents will somehow leave an impact on your relationship between you and your children.

If you are grateful for your parents and always be thankful for the good that they have brought into your life, you will feel the same when you become a parent.

What Are The Best Ways To Express Your Gratitude Towards Parents

There are plenty of ways how you can express your gratitude and thankfulness toward your parents. One of the easiest and most effective ways is to just say “Thank you”.

When your parents cook a meal for you, when they help you solve a problem, when they do something for you, when they guide you, when they buy you a new shoe, when they give you money to live, do not forget to say thank you.

Another good way to express your gratitude towards your parents is to spend more time with them and accompany them. You do not have to wait until when their hair turns gray or when they are 80 years old only to spend your time with them. Remember how your parents spend their time and life nurturing you, feeding you and making sure that you grow up becoming who you are today? Do the same and take good care of your parents, this is one of the best ways to express your thankfulness to them.

Some people express their gratitude through composing a song, some write thank you letters, some show it through hugs and kisses, and some bring their parents for vacation. What about you?

Regardless of what you do to show your gratefulness towards your parents, the key is to make sure that you do it before time runs out.

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As you might already know, expressing your gratitude towards people is something that will not only enrich your life but also enrich the lives of the one you express your thanks to.

Studies have shown that expressing your gratefulness toward someone has many benefits including raising your self-esteem, making you happier, and also giving you a sense of fulfillment in life.

And when it comes to showing your appreciation, one of the most important figures you should be thankful for will be your teachers. Most people who practice writing gratitude lists often miss out their teachers in the list because they only interact with their teachers in school. And after they get into the working world, materials and people around them are their main focus.

Do you know that teachers are the people who you spend the most time with besides your parents and friends? More importantly, a teacher’s mission is to educate you and make sure that you learn what you are supposed to learn in school. Their mission also often intertwined with life and inspirational lessons to motivate you to succeed in life.

Take Les Brown, the motivational speaker as an example. In his motivational speech, he often quoted the person who inspired and changed his life, his teacher, Leroy Washington. Brown was born poor and was labeled as “educable mentally retarded”. Despite the fact that Brown was a slow learner, his teacher never abandoned him, instead, he inspired him by telling young Brown, “Never let someone’s opinion of you become your reality”.

As you can see, your teachers play an important role in shaping who you are today. You are where you are right now because of the influence of your teachers. Regardless of whether your teachers have positively impacted your life, you should feel grateful for them at all times.

There are plenty of ways how you can express your gratefulness toward your teachers, including:

1. Write a thank you essay to your teacher. Show your appreciation through words and this is not a test, hence, write with an open heart and sincerity.

2. Buy a best-selling book for your teacher. Somehow, teachers should love to read and always pursue for improvement, be it in career or at life, right?

3. Show your appreciation by doing homework and follow the advice from your teachers. This is one of the easiest ways to show your gratitude towards your teacher. Just do your best and excel in school.

4. Say a simple “Thank you”, after every class. This small and simple act will profoundly change your teacher’s life.

5. Remember your teacher’s birthday and buy him or her a gift as a token of appreciation. And your teacher will remember you for the rest of his or her life.

The above are just some of the ideas on how you can show your thankfulness towards your teacher. It is not the idea that matter, the key is that you do something that your teacher will remember and receive your appreciation. Even if it is as tiny as a simple “thank you”, your teacher will feel it.

As students, many teachers and educators will pass through your life without remembrance. Therefore, starting from now on, do something and to express your gratitude to the people have guided you in life.

There is an old saying, “A friend in need is a friend indeed”, and friends hold a special place in our heart as they are the ones who will always be by our side whenever we need them. We simply cannot live in this world all by ourselves without friends.

Thus, it is important to express our appreciation toward our friends, especially those who have helped us when we needed them. There are many types of friends, some you will want to keep no matter the situation, some you will want to leave or spend less time with, and some are good for social and sharing.

Writing an appreciation essay or letter to express your gratitude toward your friend is not something new. In fact, it has been around for ages and a lot of people are using this method to show their gratitude and build better and more intimate relationship with the people they spend their time with. You do not really have to follow any format when writing the essay to your friends. They are your best friends, they know you and they will accept whatever you good you are trying to tell them.

However, no matter how informal you are, you have to be sincere in writing it. You will lose the point of the gratitude letter if you sound fake and are not serious. All you need to do is to express how you feel about them. Tell your friends how much thankful you are and how much they meant to you in your life.

Besides that, to make your gratitude letter more powerful, you can include a small gift with it. It can be a keychain, a pen, a book, or even just a mint, your friend will appreciate your effort even more. You do not have to wait for the right and perfect moment to do this. If you seriously are grateful for your friends right now, take out a piece of paper, and write down your thoughts and thank them.

There are many blessings that come from being grateful for the good things we enjoy in life. And everyone has their own religion in their hearts. Deep within you, you believe in something, a higher power, a God, or something that has the power to create the world. Simply put, God wants us to learn to be grateful and thankful for all the gifts He has created for us.

This is not only about being spiritual, in fact, science has shown that people who are grateful for their Gods tend to be healthier and happier. You have probably heard the saying, “Count your blessings”, and do you know that when you literally count your blessings, you will increase your emotional and mental health? When people are not grateful, they tend to complain and blame everything and everyone. This is a negative act that will destroy your life. When you think something negative in your mind, you will feel stress, anxious, frustrated, and also angry. This will directly affect your health.

Therefore, learn to be grateful for everything in your life, especially God, the higher power that created you and everything else in the world. When you show your appreciation, you will access a calmer state, you will feel more peaceful and this makes you feel good about yourself, and your life.

One very simple act of showing your gratitude toward God through praying. Depending on what religion you believe in, everyone prays differently. The method how you pray does not really matter, the key is that you are sincere in showing your gratefulness. Furthermore, you can practice writing a gratitude list. Just write down whatever things that you want to be grateful for. It can be your cat, your dog, your house, your wife, your children, your boss, the air you are breathing, the computer you have, or whatever you can think of. Feel the appreciate and express the gratefulness deep within you.

School is one of the most important places in our lives because it is where almost everyone spends the most of their time there. It is a place that is meant to nurture us, guide us, and equip us with the necessary knowledge to prepare for the world. Everyone has their own unique memories about their school, some were meaningful and nostalgic, some were funny, and some were embarrassed.

Whatever thoughts and memories you have about your school, it does not really matter now as you have gone through it and the past will remain history forever. You simply cannot change that, but there is one thing that you can do that will impact your future life, and it is to show your gratitude toward your school and your teachers.

Schools are great places where young people get together and learn not just academically, but also about friendship, teamwork, leadership, life, and also love. On average, a normal person about 12 to 20 years in a classroom and this is where we learn to interact with others and this is also where our characters and attitudes started to grow.

So how can you show your appreciation toward your school and be grateful for what you have gone through? Well, you can start with two parts. First, you can show your gratitude toward your school by helping your school. You can make a donation when you have extra money or you can spend time into helping your school such as cleaning or repainting the building.

Next, you can also show your gratitude by writing appreciation letters to your teachers. You set a good example of being a grateful person by expressing your thoughts and let the new young generation to follow. There are plenty of ways how you can contribute to your schools and teachers. When you have the sincerity, the ideas will automatically come to you.

What is a Gratitude Day? It is a day to show appreciation for all things, big and small. Gratitude Day was first celebrated in 1965, and it was officially adopted by the United Nations Meditation Group and recognized as a day where people from around the world and from all walks of life show their gratefulness on whatever things in life.

Studies have shown that people who are grateful for the things they have and the life they are living right now are happier, calmer, and able to perform and achieve more. According to the Law of Attraction, the more you appreciate what you have, the Universe will give you more of it. For example, if you appreciate and are grateful for the money you have, you will have more of it.

So how can you celebrate this day and make it meaningful and interesting? First, you can take a moment to appreciate your family tree. Pay attention to your family members, notice how they have supported you in the past, and then express your gratefulness to them. Tell your family how much you love them. Buy a gift for them if you want to.

Next, be thankful for your community. From the server at your local restaurant, the policemen, the nurse, to the baker down the street in your neighborhood, say thank you to them. Give and show your gratitude to them. And do not forget about your friends too. Your friends are an important part of your life because you have gone through the thick and thin with them.

Besides that, thank yourself for being who you are right now and for whatever you have had in your life. When you appreciate yourself, you will have more confidence and thus, able to accomplish more. When you show your gratitude toward the things you have in life, you will appreciate them and in return, you will live an abundant life.

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Gratitude and Teacher Sample Essay

gratitude towards teachers essay

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Teachers are one of the greatest people whom you can across in your life. They are non merely the selfless givers but besides the wise mans of your life. At every measure of your life. you come transverse instructors who devote their full life in the enlightenment of pupils like you. For certain. teachers’ definition can’t be limited to a topic instructor because anyone who guides you in your life is a instructor. Many a times in life. you feel like thanking your instructor but you do non happen a proper juncture. So this teachers’ twenty-four hours mark your teachers’ attempts and thank him for being the steering visible radiation in your life. You can show your gratitude for your instructor with the aid of Teacher’s Day messages. They are a sort of “Thank You” messages for instructors. Read the undermentioned messages to thank instructors.

Teachers’ Day Messages

You are the best Teacher in this universe. Wherever I may travel in my life. I will ever retrieve that I had an first-class usher in the signifier of a instructor. you. I found counsel. friendly relationship. subject and love. everything. in one individual. And that individual is you ( name of your instructor ) Without you. we would hold been lost. Thank you teacher for steering us. animating us and doing us what we are today. We will ever be grateful to you for all the difficult work and attempts you have put in. for educating us. You are non merely our instructor. Rather. you are friend. philosopher and usher. all molded into one individual. We will ever be thankful to you for your support. I may non state it ever. But. I mean it whenever I say it. Thank You Teacher for all the things you have done for us.

You have been the wise man of life. Though I did non recognize it earlier. Now it feels great to hold person who guided me to the right path in life. Happy Teacher’s Day! Thankss for being my instructor and steering me towards the right way of life. I am thankful to you teacher! With a great instructor like you. I was certain that life would be a successful journey but I ne’er knew you will besides do the journey to success such a cakewalk. I can’t express my gratitude Sir! You have been more than a teacher- a wise man. usher. and philosopher! Thankss for approvals me. Success is your approval. instructor. I would ever be grateful to you. Best of me. reminds me of you. Happy Teachers’ Day!

Life is a journey and your words have been a guiding visible radiation throughout. Happy Teachers’ Day! Teacher you have ever shown us the right manner. Whatever small we have achieved in your life is because of you merely. Thankss for being our usher and wise man. Happy Teachers’ Day!

This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly . Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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Gratitude and Teacher Sample Essay. (2018, Oct 20). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/gratitude-and-teacher-essay-sample-14659-59246/

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Essay on Gratitude Towards Teacher

gratitude towards teachers essay

Gratitude towards teachers is a feeling of appreciation and respect for those who have nurtured our minds and souls. It encompasses the acknowledgement of the hard work, devotion, and passion that teachers invest in educating their students. Whether it be in primary schools, high schools, colleges, or other educational institutions, teachers play an irreplaceable role in shaping the characters, knowledge, and future of their students.

In many cultures, the teacher holds a position that is revered and held in high esteem. Their responsibility extends beyond merely imparting knowledge; they also shape the values, ethics, and morals of those they teach. The relationship between teacher and student is not just transactional but transformational, for it’s within this sacred bond that a student can find a mentor, a guide, and even a friend.

Teachers are not only responsible for educating students in various subjects but also for instilling in them the critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and emotional intelligence that are required to succeed in life. They often act as a beacon of hope and inspiration, guiding students through the stormy seas of adolescence and young adulthood, helping them navigate the complex realities of life. It’s through the teachers’ tireless efforts, unwavering dedication, and immeasurable patience that students can pursue their dreams and become responsible members of society.

The gratitude towards teachers manifests in many ways. First and foremost, it’s seen in the respect and admiration students feel for their educators. A simple “thank you” or a heartfelt note expressing how a particular lesson or encouragement has impacted a student’s life can mean the world to a teacher. These expressions of gratitude reinforce the teacher’s sense of purpose and remind them that their efforts are not in vain.

Moreover, gratitude towards teachers is reflected in the way former students credit them for their achievements. Many successful individuals, when reflecting on their journey, will point to a particular teacher who inspired them or saw something in them that no one else did. These stories of inspiration are testaments to the profound impact a teacher can have on a student’s life.

Teachers’ work is often laden with challenges, from managing large classes to dealing with administrative pressures, from personalising learning experiences to addressing the diverse needs of students. Yet, they persist, driven by a passion for their subject and a commitment to their students’ growth and well-being. The gratitude we feel towards our teachers is a recognition of these struggles and a celebration of their triumphs.

In many societies, a special day is dedicated to honouring teachers, providing an opportunity for students, parents, and the community to express their gratitude. These celebrations are a reminder of the noble profession that teaching is, and the ceremonies, gifts, and kind words are a small token of appreciation for the monumental role that teachers play in our lives.

In conclusion, the feeling of gratitude towards teachers is both profound and essential. It’s an emotion that acknowledges the sacrifices, passion, and unwavering commitment that teachers make every day to educate and inspire. Without the guidance, support, and encouragement of teachers, many would falter in their pursuit of knowledge and personal growth. It’s only fitting that we take the time to express our gratitude, honouring the people who have shaped our minds, enriched our souls, and helped us become who we are today.

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gratitude towards teachers essay

Short Essay: Teachers’ Day

Three short essay examples on Teachers’ Day.

Table of Contents

Example 1: teachers’ day essay.

Teachers play a vital role in shaping the future of individuals and societies. Their dedication, hard work, and commitment to education are often underappreciated. However, there is one day set aside each year to recognize and honor the invaluable contributions of teachers – Teachers’ Day. This special day not only celebrates the teachers but also highlights their impact on the lives of students and the development of nations. In this essay, we will explore the importance of Teachers’ Day, delve into its history and significance, and discuss various ways to celebrate this significant occasion.

Importance of Teachers’ Day holds great importance as it provides an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the role of teachers in society. Teachers are responsible for imparting knowledge, shaping young minds, and nurturing the future leaders of our world. They play a crucial role in molding the character and values of students, instilling in them a love for learning and a desire for personal growth. Teachers’ Day is a chance to acknowledge the tireless efforts of these educators and express gratitude for their unwavering commitment to their profession. Furthermore, this day serves as a platform to celebrate the dedication and hard work of teachers. Teaching is not merely a profession; it is a vocation that requires immense passion, patience, and perseverance. Teachers spend countless hours preparing lessons, grading assignments, and providing guidance and support to their students. Their unwavering commitment to their students’ success deserves recognition and appreciation. Moreover, Teachers’ Day highlights the impact teachers have on shaping the future of individuals and the nation as a whole. Teachers play a pivotal role in nurturing the talents and abilities of students, helping them unlock their full potential. The knowledge and skills imparted by teachers lay the foundation for the success of individuals in their personal and professional lives. Additionally, well-educated individuals contribute to the progress and development of a nation, making teachers essential in building a brighter future for society.

The history of Teachers’ Day dates back to ancient times. In many cultures, teachers have been revered and respected for centuries. For example, in India, Teachers’ Day is celebrated on September 5th, the birth anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a renowned philosopher, scholar, and the second President of India. Dr. Radhakrishnan himself was a teacher and believed that “teachers should be the best minds in the country.” His birthday was chosen as a day to honor all teachers and recognize their contributions to society. Different countries celebrate Teachers’ Day in various ways, but the underlying purpose remains the same – to honor and appreciate teachers. In the United States, National Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated in May, with the first Tuesday of the week designated as National Teacher Day. In China, Teachers’ Day is observed on September 10th, while in Mexico, it is celebrated on May 15th. These dates may vary, but the sentiment behind the celebration remains constant – to express gratitude to teachers for their tireless efforts in educating and inspiring students. The cultural and historical significance of Teachers’ Day cannot be overlooked.

Example 2: Teachers’ Day Essay

Teachers Day is an annual celebration that recognizes and honors the invaluable contributions of educators in society. It is a day dedicated to expressing gratitude and appreciation towards teachers for their tireless efforts in shaping the lives of individuals and the future of our society. This essay will delve into the importance of Teachers Day celebration, explore the historical background of this commemoration, and discuss various ways in which Teachers Day can be celebrated.

Teachers Day holds immense significance as it provides an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the hard work and dedication of teachers. Educators play a crucial role in shaping individuals’ lives, imparting knowledge, and fostering personal growth. They serve as mentors, guiding students in their academic pursuits and helping them develop essential life skills. Teachers also contribute to the overall development of society by nurturing responsible citizens who can actively participate in the betterment of their communities. By celebrating Teachers Day, we promote respect and gratitude towards educators. It is a day to recognize their selfless efforts and the impact they have on the lives of countless individuals. Through this celebration, we encourage students, parents, and the community at large to express their appreciation for teachers, thereby fostering a culture of gratitude and respect for the teaching profession.

The concept of Teachers Day has its roots in ancient civilizations, where teachers were revered and held in high esteem. In India, the celebration of Teachers Day can be traced back to the ancient Gurukul system, where students lived with their teachers and received education in a holistic manner. This system emphasized the importance of the teacher-student relationship and the role of teachers in imparting knowledge and moral values. The modern observance of Teachers Day in many countries can be attributed to the efforts of key individuals and events. For instance, in India, Teachers Day is celebrated on the birth anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a renowned philosopher, scholar, and the second President of India. Dr. Radhakrishnan’s deep respect for education and teachers led to the establishment of this commemoration as a way to honor the teaching profession.

Different ways to celebrate Teachers Day can be celebrated in various ways to express appreciation and honor teachers. Traditional customs and practices include organizing special assemblies or events in schools, where students present cultural performances, speeches, and heartfelt messages to their teachers. These activities not only showcase the talents of students but also provide an opportunity for them to express their gratitude and admiration for their teachers. In modern times, there are innovative ideas for recognizing and honoring teachers on this special day. Schools can organize workshops or training sessions where teachers can share their expertise and experiences with their colleagues. Additionally, community events can be organized to involve parents and community members in showing appreciation for teachers. Online platforms and social media can also be utilized to create awareness about the importance of teachers and to encourage people to share their stories and experiences with educators.

Teachers Day is a significant celebration that acknowledges the vital role of teachers in society. By honouring and appreciating educators, we not only express gratitude for their tireless efforts but also inspire future generations to value education and respect the teaching profession.

Example 3: Teachers’ Day Essay

Teacher’s Day is a special occasion celebrated in many countries around the world to recognize and appreciate the invaluable contributions of teachers. It is a day dedicated to honoring the hard work, dedication, and commitment of educators who play a crucial role in shaping the minds and futures of individuals. This essay will explore the importance of celebrating Teacher’s Day, discuss various ways in which it can be celebrated, and highlight the positive impact of such celebrations on teachers and students alike.

Importance of celebrating Teacher’s Day is an important event as it provides an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the tireless efforts of teachers. These dedicated professionals work tirelessly to impart knowledge, inspire curiosity, and instill important values in their students. By celebrating Teacher’s Day, we acknowledge the significant role teachers play in shaping individuals and society as a whole. Teachers are not only responsible for imparting academic knowledge but also for nurturing the holistic development of their students. They provide guidance, support, and mentorship, helping students navigate through challenges and discover their true potential. By celebrating Teacher’s Day, we foster a positive and supportive environment for teachers and education as a whole, emphasizing the importance of their role in society.

There are various ways in which Teacher’s Day can be celebrated to show appreciation for teachers. One way is by organizing special events and activities in schools and educational institutions. These events can include performances, skits, or presentations by students to showcase their gratitude towards their teachers. Such events not only provide an opportunity for students to express their appreciation but also create a sense of camaraderie and unity within the school community. Another way to celebrate Teacher’s Day is by presenting gifts, cards, or tokens of appreciation to teachers. These gestures can range from simple handwritten notes expressing gratitude to more elaborate gifts that reflect the individuality and interests of each teacher. By giving these tokens of appreciation, students and parents can convey their heartfelt thanks for the dedication and hard work of teachers. Furthermore, hosting ceremonies or assemblies to honor exceptional teachers and their contributions is another way to celebrate Teacher’s Day. These ceremonies can include speeches, awards, or certificates of recognition for outstanding teachers. By publicly acknowledging and highlighting the achievements and impact of exceptional teachers, we inspire and motivate other educators to strive for excellence.

Celebrating Teacher’s Day has a profound impact on both teachers and students. Firstly, it boosts teacher morale and motivation. When teachers feel appreciated and valued, they are more likely to be motivated and enthusiastic about their work. This, in turn, translates into better teaching practices, improved student engagement, and overall positive classroom dynamics. Secondly, Teacher’s Day celebrations strengthen the student-teacher relationship. By expressing gratitude and appreciation, students develop a deeper sense of respect and admiration for their teachers. This fosters a positive and nurturing learning environment where students feel comfortable seeking guidance and support from their teachers. Lastly, celebrating Teacher’s Day promotes a culture of respect and gratitude towards educators. It raises awareness about the importance of education and the role teachers play in shaping the future of society.

An English teacher from Scotland, currently based in Hong Kong, teaching in an International Kindergarten and tutoring Primary students. Owner of Mr Greg's English Cloud & Eczemafeed

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It’s been quite a year; with too much Zoom, trying to teach in-person and online. But, teachers are a resilient bunch and have reasons to be thankful.

It’s been quite a year. I think most of us hoped we’d be back to normal by now in our lives and in our classrooms. Teachers are reporting high levels of burnout. This year wiped us out with too much Zoom, trying to teach in-person and online. Even if we are back in the classroom, we may still be in masks or worried about our health. We are certainly dealing with students who are showing the effects of pandemic isolation and loss of learning. 

Teaching is not for the faint of heart even in the best times. Throughout the pandemic we have risen to the occasion — revamping lesson plans, learning how to teach online, using new technology to teach and communicate. 

Teachers are a resilient bunch. 

And teachers have reason to be thankful. 

It’s been quite a year; with too much Zoom, trying to teach in-person and online. But, teachers are a resilient bunch and have reasons to be thankful.

Reasons to be thankful

I’m thankful I’m not on Zoom all day. 

I am thankful for the supportive community of educators I get to work with. 

I’m thankful for all the little moments when I realized I got through to a student — the aha moments with a new reader, the kid who “hates” math getting multiplication, their eagerness to play a learning game. 

I’m thankful for coffee to help through long days and for my family at the end of a long day. 

I’m thankful for the times my students made me laugh (and sometimes for the moments when they made me cry). I’m touched sometimes by what they share. I’m proud sometimes of what they do. 

Gratitude for teachers in 2022

I’m also thankful for any and all tools that make teaching easier — so thankful in fact, that I wanted to share a few with you. I hope these give you reasons to be thankful too!

You’ve got enough on your plate. Make life easier for yourself with a Top Notch Teaching Membership — proven resources at your fingertips means less time prepping and searching. You deserve more ease in the new year. Join here. 

You could be thankful you don’t have to worry about phonics homework next year with Fun Phonics Homework for the ENTIRE Year . Get done for you phonics activities that are designed to review and reinforce key phonics skills and concepts. With 100 weeks of activities, you have enough to fill your lesson plans, center activities, and homework!

It’s been quite a year; with too much Zoom, trying to teach in-person and online. But, teachers are a resilient bunch and have reasons to be thankful.

Looking for other phonics worksheets and games? The Long Vowels Bundle covers phonics prep for you with posters and word wall cards, worksheets, and games.

It’s been quite a year; with too much Zoom, trying to teach in-person and online. But, teachers are a resilient bunch and have reasons to be thankful.

I know I would be grateful to have my PE Lesson Plans done for me. These grab-and-go activities mean you can be ready wherever you teach PE. 

It’s been quite a year; with too much Zoom, trying to teach in-person and online. But, teachers are a resilient bunch and have reasons to be thankful.

These Brain Break Cards are just what you need to help kids stay focused. Use in-person or online, individually or in groups. Your students will have reason to be thankful for these too!

It’s been quite a year; with too much Zoom, trying to teach in-person and online. But, teachers are a resilient bunch and have reasons to be thankful.

Teaching your students how to do a project doesn’t have to be a project for you. The Natural Disasters Research Project lesson walks students through every step of the process. And it comes in a print and digital version, making it easily adaptable to different learning environments. 

It’s been quite a year; with too much Zoom, trying to teach in-person and online. But, teachers are a resilient bunch and have reasons to be thankful.

Or start with a FREE sample of fun phonics homework activities: 

FREE Phonics Worksheets & Activities

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It’s been quite a year; with too much Zoom, trying to teach in-person and online. But, teachers are a resilient bunch and have reasons to be thankful.

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Greater Good Science Center • Magazine • In Action • In Education

Education Articles & More

How to foster gratitude in schools, when students are thankful, they feel more connected to their schools and teachers, explain researchers jeffrey j. froh and giacomo bono ..

Your optimism is infectious. You’re like the first domino in the domino effect. You impact my life every class with the theories we learn, and I subsequently pass on this knowledge to my family and friends. Thank you for always giving our class 100%.

A note like this is every teacher’s dream—and one of us (Jeffrey Froh) was fortunate enough to receive it from a student recently. The note didn’t only warm Jeff’s heart; it illustrated to him how establishing positive relationships and feelings of connection in schools can help transform youth.

gratitude towards teachers essay

But with budget cuts intensifying the demands on teachers and other school personnel, how can schools strengthen students’ connections to their teachers, schools, and communities?

We propose one answer that’s not only free but can be infused into existing curricula across subjects and grade levels: gratitude.

The two of us have been among the first researchers to study gratitude among youth. Since we started our research program in 2006, we’ve worked with thousands of children and adolescents across the United States (and we’re now expanding this work to Australia, Britain, Japan, and Singapore). Though the field is still new, we’re already learning how gratitude does more than just make kids feel good; it also improves their mood, mental health, and life satisfaction, and it can jumpstart more purposeful engagement in life at a critical moment in their development, when their identity is taking shape.

For instance, a recent study of ours found that teens who had high levels of gratitude when entering high school had less negative emotions and depression and more positive emotions, life satisfaction, and happiness four years later when they were finishing high school. They also had more hope and a stronger sense of meaning in life. Another study of ours , which followed students over six months, shows that feeling grateful motivates adolescents to help others and use their strengths to contribute to society.

That’s wonderful for the grateful students. But what about the others? Can students learn to cultivate gratitude—and reap the benefits?

In our research, we’ve tested concrete ways that educators can actually make youth more grateful—with very positive results. This research points to specific practices and principles that educators can weave into their classrooms.

Perhaps the most commonly used technique for boosting gratitude—among adults and youth alike—is a gratitude journal .

In one early study , we asked middle school students simply to list five things for which there were grateful daily for two weeks, and we compared these students to others who were writing about hassles in their life or basic daily life events. Keeping a gratitude journal was related to more optimism and life satisfaction and to fewer physical complaints and negative emotions. Most significantly, compared to the other students, gratitude journalers reported more satisfaction with their school experience immediately after the two-week period, a result that held up even three weeks later.

This exercise is easy to implement. Regardless of the subject, educators can have students jot down what they are grateful for before class begins. To make the exercise more potent students can describe why they are grateful for the things they list. Entries could even be posted on a gratitude wall as an artful reminder. We have solid scientific evidence that these practices boost students’ moods, broaden their thinking, and energize greater learning.

Another exercise we’ve tested is the gratitude visit , in which students write a letter to someone who had helped them but whom they’d never properly thanked; the students read their letter to them in person, then later discuss their experience with others who also completed a gratitude visit.

When we conducted a study of the gratitude visit, we found that students who began the study low in positive emotions reported more gratitude and positive emotions immediately after the study, and greater positive emotions two months later, compared with students who didn’t do a gratitude visit.

Try our Gratitude Journal!

Learn more about gratitude journals by participating in the GGSC's online, shareable gratitude journal, Thnx4 .

Building on this research, and research by colleagues, we have identified several key principles that educators can use to promote gratitude in their students—principles that we’ve incorporated into our own gratitude curriculum . This curriculum is intended to subtly instill grateful thinking in youth without requiring an explicit focus on gratitude. It emphasizes three key principles that can support a gratitude journal, a gratitude visit, or simply the practice of gratefulness in everyday life. They are:

1. Notice intentions. Try to encourage students to appreciate the thought behind gifts they receive—to consider how someone noticed their need and acted on it. Research suggests this goes a long way toward cultivating “an attitude of gratitude” among children and adults alike. For students in particular, knowing that others believe in them and their potential motivates self-improvement. To get students to reflect on the intentions behind the gifts they receive, teachers can prompt them with a question such as, “Can you think of a time when a friend (or parent, teacher, or coach) noticed something you needed (e.g., lunch), or remembered something you care about (e.g., collecting feathers) and then provided you with those things?” As students give examples, teachers could have them elaborate: “How did you know they helped you on purpose? How did you feel after they helped you?”

2. Appreciate costs. We also find it important to emphasize that when someone is helpful, that person usually sacrifices time or effort to provide the help. For example, teachers could ask, “What are some things your friend gave up to help you with that project?” Playground aids could say, “Wow, for your friend to come play tag with you, he had to stop playing soccer, which I know is his favorite game.” A librarian could point out “how nice it was for that student to let you use the computer instead.”

3. Recognize the value of benefits. Teachers can also foster gratitude by reminding students that when others help us, they are providing us with “gifts.” This is one reason why, in our gratitude curriculum, we prompt students to focus on the personal value of the kind acts of others. One way teachers can bring this up is to have students complete the sentence stem “My day (or life) is better because…” and give examples such as, “… my teacher helped me when I didn’t understand something” or, “… my coach showed me how to be a better basketball player.”

Studies of our gratitude curriculum have found that children’s ability to think gratefully can be strengthened, and with this change comes improvements in their moods. A weekly version of the curriculum produced these effects up to five months later. A daily version had immediate effects (two days later) and led children to write 80 percent more thank you cards to their PTA; even their teachers found them happier. That it can be infused into any program focused on kind, helpful—or “pro-social”—behavior makes it practical, too.

What’s more, we believe the benefits of gratitude can spread beyond students to teachers and staff, not only improving their work but helping to prevent burnout. This, in turn, can influence parents, providing common ground for investing in youth.

Perhaps most of all, gratitude is a social emotion—it brings people together. After reading his student’s thank you note, for instance, Jeff became inspired. Knowing the student was stressed about graduate school applications, he treated her to some coffee and guidance—first-hand evidence that expressing gratitude can strengthen ties between teachers and students.

By promoting gratitude in schools, we’ll foster these kinds of connections on a much wider scale, helping both students and schools to thrive.

About the Authors

Giacomo Bono

Giacomo Bono

Giacomo Bono, Ph.D., is an associate professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills, who studies positive youth development with an emphasis on prosocial behavior and relationships. His is the co-author, with Jeffrey Froh, of Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character .

Jeffrey Froh

Jeffrey Froh

Jeffrey J. Froh, Psy.D. , is a writer and professor of psychology at Hofstra University. He’s the founder, past clinical director, and now research director of the Positive Psychology Institute for Emerging Adults. His books include Making Grateful Kids and Thrive: 10 Commandments for 20-Somethings to Live the Best-Life-Possible .

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Thank you for sharing this article as well as the live links.

I have been working on a program with my Grade 7 students which incorporates Gratitude, the Gratitude Journal and a letter at the end of the program.

Your resources are an added bonus for me (and the 7’s, of course!).

Thanks again -

Nicky | 2:26 pm, November 21, 2012 | Link


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25 Simple Ways to Say Thank You to Teachers

Suggestions explain how to show gratitude to educators

  • Community Involvement
  • An Introduction to Teaching
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  • M.Ed., Educational Administration, Northeastern State University
  • B.Ed., Elementary Education, Oklahoma State University

Most teachers do not receive the admiration and respect that they deserve. Many of them work extremely hard, dedicating their lives to educating youth . They do not do it for the paycheck; they do not do it for the praise. Instead, they teach because they want to make a difference . They enjoy putting their stamp on a child whom they believe will grow up and make a significant difference in the world.

Why Show Gratitude

Teachers have likely impacted their students in more ways than most people understand. Most adults have had teachers who have inspired them in some manner to be a better person. So, teachers deserve praise. It's important to say thank you to teachers as often as possible. Teachers love to feel appreciated. It makes them confident , which makes them better. Parents and students can have a hand in this. Take the time to show your gratitude and say thank you to your teachers and make them feel appreciated. 

25 Ways to Thank a Teacher

These 25 suggestions provide a way of showing teachers, past and present, that you care. They are in no particular order, but some are more practical if you are currently a student and others will work better if you are an adult, and no longer in school. You will need to seek permission from or interact with the school principal for a few of these ideas.

  • Give teachers an apple. Yes, this is cliché, but they will appreciate this simple gesture because you took the time to do it.
  • Tell them that you appreciate them. Words are powerful. Let your teachers know what you love about them and their class.
  • Give them a gift card. Find out what their favorite restaurant or place to shop is and get them a gift card to indulge. 
  • Bring them their favorite candy/soda. Pay attention to what they drink/snack on in class and keep them supplied periodically.
  • Send them an email. It does not have to be a novel, but tell them how much you appreciate them or let them know what kind of impact they have made on your life.
  • Send them flowers. This is a terrific way to say thank you to a female teacher. Flowers will always put a smile on a teacher's face.
  • Do something memorable for their birthday whether it is giving them a cake, having the class sing happy birthday or getting them a special gift. Birthdays are momentous days that should be recognized.
  • Write them a note. Keep it simple and let them know just how much they mean to you.
  • Stay late and help them get organized for the next day. Teachers have plenty to do after students leave for the day. Offer to help straighten their room, empty trash, make copies or run errands.
  • Mow their lawn. Tell them that you would like to do something special to show your appreciation and ask them if it would be OK to come over and mow their lawn.
  • Give them tickets. Teachers love to get out and have a good time. Buy them tickets to see the newest movie, their favorite sports team or a ballet/opera/musical.
  • Donate money toward their classroom. Teachers spend a lot of their own money on classroom supplies. Give them some cash to help ease this burden.
  • Volunteer to cover a duty. This is a fabulous way for parents to say thank you. In general, teachers are not excited about covering duties, such as acting as the scorekeeper at a game or chaperoning a prom, so they will be extra excited when you do. Ask the principal first if it is OK.
  • Buy them lunch. Teachers get tired of eating cafeteria food or bringing their lunch. Surprise them with a pizza or something from their favorite restaurant.
  • Be an exemplary student . Sometimes this is the best way to say thank you. Teachers appreciate students who are never in trouble, enjoy being at school and are excited to learn.
  • Buy them a Christmas present. It does not have to be elegant or expensive. Your teacher will appreciate anything that you get her.
  • Volunteer. Most teachers will appreciate the extra help. Let them know that you are willing to help in any area that you may be needed. Elementary school teachers will especially appreciate this help.
  • Bring donuts. What teacher does not love donuts? This will provide an excellent, tasty start to any teacher’s day.
  • Contact them when they are sick. Teachers get sick too. Check on them via email or social media or text and let them know you hope they get well soon. Ask them if they need anything. They will appreciate that you took the time to check on them.
  • Post on social media. If your child’s teacher has a Facebook account, for example, let him know how much you appreciate all the things he does.
  • Be a supportive parent. Knowing that she has tremendous parental support makes a teacher’s job much easier. Backing a teacher's decisions is an excellent way to show your appreciation.
  • Tell the principal how much you appreciate your teacher. The principal  evaluates teachers  regularly, and this type of positive feedback can factor into evaluations.
  • Give them a hug or shake their hand. Sometimes this simple gesture can speak volumes in showing your appreciation. Be cautious when giving a hug that it is appropriate.
  • Send them a graduation invite. Let your teachers know when you have reached a milestone such as graduating high school and/or college. They played a role in getting you there, and including them in this celebration will let them know just how much they meant to you.
  • Do something with your life. Nothing says thank you like being a success. Teachers want the best for every student that they teach. When you are successful, they are successful because they know they had some influence on you for at least nine months of your life.
  • Simple Ways to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week
  • 10 Ways to Impress a Teacher
  • How Principals Can Provide Teacher Support
  • 'Gracias' and Other Words for Saying 'Thank You'
  • 50 Important Facts You Should Know About Teachers
  • Learning How and When to Say No
  • The Best Gifts You Can Buy Mom on a Student's Budget
  • Strategies for Building Rapport With Students
  • Quotes About the Importance of Good Friendships
  • Characteristics of a Highly Effective School Principal
  • Thanking a Professor for Writing a Recommendation Letter
  • Guidelines for Establishing Effective School Discipline for Principals
  • Teacher Appreciation Ideas
  • 14 College Graduation Gifts for Yourself
  • How to Say Thank You in Japanese
  • How to Change Your Habits and Improve Your Grades

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best short stories of 2020

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best short stories of 2020

The Best Reviewed Short Story Collections of 2020

Featuring nicole krauss, stephen king, emma cline, zora neale hurston, and more.

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Nicole Krauss’ How to Be a Man , Stephen King’s If It Bleeds , Emma Cline’s Daddy , and Zora Neale Hurston’s Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick all feature among the best reviewed short story collections of 2020.

Brought to you by Book Marks , Lit Hub’s “Rotten Tomatoes for books.”

To Be A Man ribbon

1. To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss (Harper)

18 Rave • 6 Positive • 2 Mixed

Read an interview with Nicole Krauss here

“… like talking all night with a brilliant friend … Krauss imbues her prose with authoritative intensity. In short, her work feels lived. Some of these stories appeared earlier, in the New Yorker and elsewhere. But re-encountering them in a collection lets us absorb them as siblings … Krauss’s explorations of interior struggle press on, unflinching; aperçus feel wrested from depths … With chilling casualness, Krauss conveys the murderous realities lurking behind the scrim of social surfaces, that young women routinely face … Settings range globally without fanfare, as do Krauss’s gelid portraits of modern arrangements … the hallucinatory ‘Seeing Ershadi,’ in which a dancer and her friend become obsessed with an Iranian actor, seems to distill the strange urgency of Krauss’s art … What Ershadi represents to the women slowly unfurls, and (like much of this fine collection) continues to haunt a reader’s mind and heart.”

–Joan Frank  ( The Washington Post )

2. The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans (Riverhead)

14 Rave • 4 Positive

“… a new collection that is so smart and self-assured it’s certain to thrust her into the top tier of American short story writers. Evans’ stories feel particularly urgent at this moment of national reckoning over race. While they aren’t specifically about being Black any more than Alice Munro’s are about being white, many of the characters are shaped by the social, economic and cultural conditions unique to African American life … she brings an anthropologist’s eye to the material conditions of her characters’ lives … The hands-down masterpiece of the collection is the title novella … Reading these stories is like [an] amusement park ride—afterward, you feel a sense of lightness and exhilaration.”

–Ann Levin  ( USA Today )

3. I Hold a Wolf By the Ears by Laura Van den Berg (FSG)

14 Rave • 2 Positive

Listen to a conversation between Laura Van den Berg and Catherine Lacey here

“The terrain of Van den Berg’s difficult, beautiful and urgent new book, I Hold a Wolf by the Ears , is an ecosystem of weird and stirring places you’ll want to revisit, reconsider, maybe even take shelter in. It’s easy to get going, because Van den Berg is such a master of setups … Possessing some of Karen Russell’s spookiness and Otessa Moshfegh’s penchant for unsettling observations about the way we live now—personally incisive but alive with a kind of ambient political intelligence—Van den Berg feels like the writer we not only want but maybe need right now … There is range here, particularly in characters and relationships: single people, mothers and daughters, loners, but also people engaged in the long dance of marriage … Van den Berg is so consistently smart and kind, bracingly honest, keen about mental illness and crushing about everything from aging to evil that you might not be deluded in hoping that the usual order of literary fame could be reversed: that an author with respectable acclaim for her novels might earn wider recognition for a sneakily brilliant collection of stories.”

–Nathan Deuel  ( The Los Angeles Times )

Verge Lidia Yuknavitch

4. Verge by Lidia Yuknavitch (Riverhead)

12 Rave • 5 Positive • 1 Mixed

Read a story from Verge here

“With the powers of her prose on full, incandescent display, 6½ pages is all Yuknavitch needs to illuminate the connections between the body and the spirit, the fists and the heart, both beating in their losing battles … In these 20 efficient and affecting stories, Yuknavitch unveils the hidden worlds, layered under the one we know, that can be accessed only via trauma, displacement and pain. There is a vein of the wisdom of the grotesque throughout … the damaged beauty of these misfits keeps the reader leaning in.”

–Nicholas Mancusi  ( TIME )

5. Sorry For Your Trouble by Richard Ford (Ecco)

11 Rave • 4 Positive • 3 Mixed

“The finest and most substantial story here is ‘The Run of Yourself.’ One could say is has the richness and breadth of a novel, but that would be to slight the short-story form, of which Mr. Ford has repeatedly proved himself a master … However understated and oblique, Sorry for Your Trouble —which is what Irish people say to the bereaved at a funeral—is both a coherent work of art and a subtle and convincing portrait of contemporary American life among the moneyed middle class. None of the main characters has to worry about money, which highlights the emotional malaise that underlies their lives and their frequent and almost absent-minded couplings and uncouplings. In the background are wars, financial crises, natural vicissitudes. This is America, and Richard Ford is its chronicler. In these superbly wrought tales he catches, with exquisite precision…the irresistible melancholy that is the mark of American life.”

–John Banville  ( The Wall Street Journal )

Daddy Emma Cline

6. Daddy by Emma Cline (Random House)

9 Rave • 8 Positive

Read Emma Cline on Anaïs Nin’s erotic fiction and John Cheever’s journals here

“In an era whose ascendant short-story practitioners lean into high-concept experiments of genre and form, Emma Cline represents something of a throwback. The 10 stories that constitute her first collection, Daddy , are almost classical in structure—you won’t find a fragmentary collage, list or screenplay among them. Though she’s not one for a sudden, curious departure of voice or dissolution of the fourth wall, Cline has an unnerving narrative proprioception, and her stories have the clean, bright lines of modernist architecture … As for her style, she seems to eschew the telegraphic mode made popular by writers like Sally Rooney or Rachel Cusk for something at once direct and musical. Cline’s idiom is earnestness punctuated by millennial cool—but nothing too fussy, everything in just the right place … The aesthetic pleasure of Cline’s writing is anesthetizing. So much so that one could conceivably read these stories with the same drugged passivity with which one shuffles through a lifestyle catalog. But that would be a mistake … Cline is an astonishingly gifted stylist, but it is her piercing understanding of modern humiliation that makes these stories vibrate with life … the characters shift uncomfortably through the beautifully appointed shoe box dioramas of their lives, aware at once of their own insignificance and also of their desire for prominence. They ask if anything matters as though nothing does, and yet hope to be contradicted. But perhaps we all do. Perhaps, in these brilliant stories, that is the most daring and human thing of all.”

–Brandon Taylor  ( The New York Times Book Review )

7. You Will Never Be Forgotten by Mary South (FSG Originals)

9 Rave • 6 Positive • 1 Mixed

Listen to an interview with Mary South here

“South writes as though she has always been where we find ourselves now: looking back on a world where we believed we might gain personal agency over technology’s dominion, entering one where such agency is a luxury we might never again hope to afford … stories of exceptional loss, spilling out at the point of conflict between the cool detachment of the technological world and the tender vulnerability of the users living within it … This collection’s power, though, comes from South’s dark sensibility, her comfort with brutality, and her narrative insistence that, while the nightmare of tech capitalism won’t wholly eradicate the personal and the private, it will compress beyond recognition the spaces where personal, private moments can unfold … South writes with the assurance of someone who knows she has no answers to give. But instead of resulting in a shrugging ambivalence, You Will Never Be Forgotten  mounts an ever more effective critique of technology-amplified structural inequality … [the] stories are united by South’s keen examination of the thrill and risk of human connection—between lovers, siblings, parent and child, care-giver and care-receiver, and digitally connected strangers—under increasingly cruel conditions … Still, You Will Never Be Forgotten  shows us there is still tenderness to be found, and protected, in the brave new world to come.”

–Jennifer Schaffer  ( The Nation )

8. If It Bleeds by Stephen King (Scribner)

6 Rave • 10 Positive • 1 Mixed

“Nobody does novellas like Stephen King … a quartet of stories that are a little too long to be labelled short, all of which are packed with that uniquely King combination of fear and empathy … One of the joys of King’s novella collections is the reminder that he, perhaps more than any of his bestselling peers, has a tremendous gift for giving stories exactly the amount of space they need to be properly told. Sometimes, that results in 700-plus page epics. Other times, just 70. Whatever it takes to get the story from his head to the page—that’s what King gives you. It’s remarkable really, that an author can create stories that cause a reader to shiver, to smile and to shed a tear in the space of a few pages—but really, should anything Stephen King does surprise us anymore? … practically pulses with the humanistic empathy that marks the best of King’s work. It’s an outstanding quartet, featuring four tales that are wildly different from one another, yet undeniably bound together by the voice of our finest storyteller. There is much to fear in the worlds created by Stephen King, but even in the depth of his darkest shadows, a light of hope steadily glows. More exceptional work from the maestro … Keep ‘em coming, Mr. King.”

–Allen Adams  ( The Maine Edge )

9. Show Them a Good Time by Nicole Flattery (Bloomsbury)

7 Rave • 7 Positive • 2 Mixed

“Nicole Flattery’s publisher paid big money for these debut stories (plus a novel-in-progress), and it’s not hard to see why: they’re often extremely funny—peculiar as well as ha-ha—and highly addictive … Flattery’s themes are work, womanhood and early-to-midlife indirection, all tackled slantwise … It’s easy to read but trickier to get a handle on: Flattery’s off-kilter voice blends chatty candour and hard-to-interpret allegory (think Diane Williams or 90s Lorrie Moore), with the deadpan drollery and casually disturbing revelations heightened by her fondness for cutting any obvious connective tissue between sentences … Trauma lurks in the background, with allusions to attempted suicide, abuse and a 13-year-old’s miscarriage … Yet Flattery’s stories don’t depend on bringing such things to light; they’re just there—part of a woman’s life—which ultimately proves more disconcerting … Flattery…doesn’t seem too bothered about sewn-up narratives running from A to B; it’s a mark of her art in these strange, darkly funny stories that we aren’t either.”

–Anthony Cummins  ( The Guardian )

10. Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston (Amistad)

7 Rave • 4 Positive

Read a story from Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick here

“..a revelation not just in its celebration of Hurston’s lesser-known efforts as a writer of short stories but also in the subjects and settings that it takes on … Hurston’s stories do not merely document black experience in the early 20th century; they testify to larger truths about black life … tender and wry … Fans and scholars of Hurston’s work and the uninitiated alike will find many delights in these complex, thoughtful and wickedly funny portraits of black lives and communities … this book is a significant testament to the enduring resonance of black women’s writing.”

–Naomi Jackson  ( The Washington Post )

The Book Marks System: RAVE = 5 points • POSITIVE = 3 points • MIXED = 1 point • PAN = -5 points

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10 Outstanding Short Stories to Read in 2020

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Edwidge Danticat

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The #longreads hashtag on Twitter is filled with great story recommendations from people around the world. Pravesh Bhardwaj is a longtime contributor — throughout the year he posts his favorite short stories, and then in January we’re lucky enough to get a list of his favorites to enjoy in the year ahead.

For many years now, I’ve been posting short stories on Twitter. It’s a habit now: Before sitting down to write — my Hindi language ten-part Audible Original Thriller Factory is up and running, written and directed under series director and presenter Anurag Kashyap ’s stewardship with narrators including Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Tabu — I look around for a story, read it, then share it. I end up reading almost every day, irrespective of whether I am able to write something or not.

Starting with Kristen Roupenian’s The Good Guy , to Etgar Keret’s Pineapple Crush , I posted 297 stories in 2019. Here are ten that I enjoyed the most:

The Pinch by Dina Nayeri ( The Yale Review )

Four siblings of the Amirzadeh family plan to get together in Niagara falls to meet their elderly father who is traveling from Iran.

Parvin and Suraya rented a small but comfortable Niagara Falls cottage kissing the American border, just as their older sister Goli had instructed. Their father, Baba Ardeshir, had managed only a Canadian visa, so he wouldn’t be able to cross over to see their homes in Pompano Beach and rural Georgia. Instead, he would stay in Toronto with Goli, self-appointed matriarch since that 1972 day when their mother vanished into Holland or Germany, leaving Baba Ardeshir alone with four teenagers in Tehran–this was years before the Revolution, so Maman’s departure was no spectacle: no midnight Jeep ride into Turkey, no crossing borders under utility blankets. This was curled hair, the good suitcases, in-flight meal. (Just run-of-the-mill, ordinary abandonment, Suri said. Be kind, Pari begged her sister.) “Maybe we can get a photo of all of us,” Babak suggested. The last time all four had appeared in a photo with Baba Ardeshir had been as young children. In black and white, their parents looked hardly out of their twenties. Every detail was professionally arranged, all six smiling obediently, except one: in the left side of the photo, Goli’s fingers on Suri’s forearm, her fingers closing together in a secret pinch. Over the years, the photo had become Amirzadeh family legend. They had all seen it once or twice, but despite attic searches and calls to Iran, no one could find a copy.

The Revenant by Edwidge Danticat ( Granta)

The story is set in strife-torn Haiti, the native country and muse of Edwidge Danticat.

Doctor Berto came with a new stethoscope to check Victoria’s heart. He was shocked to learn that she had died. After examining Rafael, the surviving twin, he sat with Señor Pico in the parlour, while Señora Valencia took her infant son upstairs with her for a siesta. ‘I don’t understand it,’ Doctor Berto said as I served them each a cup of coffee. ‘She was gaining weight, getting bigger.’ ‘What about Rafael? How does he seem now?’ Señor Pico asked about his son. ‘When I look at him, I see a sadness that a child shouldn’t have.’ ‘There is nothing physically wrong with him.’ ‘I tell you, there is this sadness. I saw it yesterday.’ ‘Perhaps he misses his sister. They grew in the womb together.’ ‘Will it go away, his sadness?’

Pineapple Crush by Etgar Keret ( Electric Lit )

(Translated from Hebrew by Jessica Cohen.) Etgar Keret is my favourite contemporary short-story writer. His new collection, Fly Already , is out now.

The first hit is the one that colors your world. Save it for the evening—and any piece of trash flickering across your TV screen will be riveting. Puff it at midday, before you get on your bike, and the world around you will feel like one big adventure. Smoke it as soon as you wake up in the morning, before your coffee, and it’ll give you the energy to crawl out of bed or dive back in for another few hours of sleep. The first hit of the day is like a childhood friend, a first love, a commercial for life. But it’s different from life itself, which is something that, if I could have, I would have returned to the store ages ago. In the commercial it’s made-to-order, all inclusive, finger-licking, carefree living. After that first one, more hits will come along to help you soften reality and make the day tolerable, but they won’t feel the same.

The Migration of the Stork by Ismail Kadare ( Asymptote )

(Translated from Albanian by Ani Kokobobo.) Ismail Kadare was the winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2005. I love his novel The Palace of Dreams , but this short story is very different from that.

“Hello, how are you?” he said, shaking my hand. “Hello, how are you?” I repeated, without bothering to hide my lack of interest. Bastard! I thought to myself. Why can’t you understand the misery you cause? The most maddening thing about this man was precisely his obliviousness to the vexation he provoked in people, a vexation that many displayed quite openly. If you yourself know how you are, why bother going out? (And if you don’t know, that is worse yet.) “So, anything new,” he asked for the third or fourth time in a row, while I kept thinking: How can such a person be alive; how can the ground hold him up? “Nothing much, anything new with you,” I said. “Nothing much, just the usual.” Villain! I wanted to scream. What terrible stroke of fate put you in my path, on a day as hopeless as this, when I so desperately need the antithesis of monotony. “Well, see you,” I said with the same droning voice, surprised at how the sentiment “I hope never to see you” could be so calmly translated into its opposite. “See you,” he replied and shook my hand, after which I almost groaned in his face. I had already advanced several steps when I heard him calling me. I spun around as if someone had shot me in the back. I could not believe my ears—could this evil really be so insistent? My dismay was so grossly apparent that he couldn’t help but ask, “What’s wrong?” What’s wrong with you? I almost yelled. But he, cheerful as always, continued: “I forgot to tell you. Did you hear? Lasgush Poradeci has been having an affair this summer.”

best short stories of 2020

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Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu ( io9 )

If you plan to read one story from this list, then please make sure you read this one. You might need a drink or two after reading it. Had to make do with two shots of coffee.

Dad had picked Mom out of a catalog. One time, when I was in high school, I asked Dad about the details. He was trying to get me to speak to Mom again. He had signed up for the introduction service back in the spring of 1973. Flipping through the pages steadily, he had spent no more than a few seconds on each page until he saw the picture of Mom. I’ve never seen this picture. Dad described it: Mom was sitting in a chair, her side to the camera, wearing a tight green silk cheongsam. Her head was turned to the camera so that her long black hair was draped artfully over her chest and shoulder. She looked out at him with the eyes of a calm child. “That was the last page of the catalog I saw,” he said. The catalog said she was eighteen, loved to dance, and spoke good English because she was from Hong Kong. None of these facts turned out to be true.

Lois and Varga by Lisa Taddeo ( Granta )

Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women , a journalistic account of the sex lives of three women, made waves in 2019.

It was a regular old bar, except there was a stripper pole in an unremarkable corner of the room. The reason for its existence had a lot to do with how Al lost his wife. The other thirty percent of the reason was that the stripper who lived in the town, Varga, had suggested it to Al. She said it would be good for the economy of the island, that it would be interesting and fun for regulars and, during the high season, it would bring in a load of business. But most of the time, Varga said, it would be super chill. Most of the time nobody would even know it existed. The regulars would drink Pabst and casually glance over from time to time. This is not, she said, about selling sex. I’m just going to season the room with it. It was only topless. Varga kept thong panties on. She wore a regular rotation of panties in primary colors with girlish and white eyelet scalloping, which the regulars joked was a good way of knowing what day it was if they hadn’t read the paper that morning. She did about four stripteases a night. Each dance lasted two songs, one of which was almost always a Springsteen.

Tiger Bites by Lucia Berlin ( Lithub )

The horrors of a backstreet abortion clinic in Mexico come alive in this moving story.

The train slowed down outside of El Paso. I didn’t wake my baby, Ben, but carried him out to the vestibule so I could look out. And smell it, the desert. Caliche, sage, sulphur from the smelter, wood fires from Mexican shacks by the Rio Grande. The Holy Land. When I first went there, to live with Mamie and Grandpa during the war, that’s when I first heard about Jesus and Mary and the Bible and sin, so Jerusalem got all mixed up with El Paso’s jagged mountains and deserts. Rushes by the river and huge crucifixes everywhere. Figs and pomegranates. Dark-shawled women with infants and poor gaunt men with sufferer’s, savior’s eyes. And the stars at night were big and bright like in the song, so insistently dazzling it made sense that wise men couldn’t help but follow any one of them and find their way. My uncle Tyler had cooked up a family reunion for Christmas. For one thing he was hoping my folks and I would make up. I dreaded seeing my parents… they were furious because my husband, Joe, had left me. They had almost died when I got married at seventeen, so my divorce was the last straw. But I couldn’t wait to see my cousin Bella Lynn and my uncle John, who was coming from L.A.

Slingshot by Souvankham Thammavongsa ( Harper’s )

Souvankham Thammavongsa won the O. Henry Award in 2018 for this short story.

“There’s no such thing as love. It’s a construct,” Richard told me one day when I went over to his apartment. I had gotten a package of his in my mail. “You know anyone who is in love?” I thought of Rose, who always said she was in love whenever she met a new guy and then would wait by the phone all day, crying. Then I thought of my friends and my own experience. We had all known it, but it was something that happened a long time ago, not something we sat around thinking about. It happened, and when it’s happened, there is no need to think too hard about it. “Maybe,” I said, “you haven’t had much time to know a range of people.” He told me he knew a lot of people. Thousands was the number he gave me. I got the feeling that what I wanted to say to him was about the quality of closeness, not what he was talking about. A few minutes passed between us, and he said, “People say that they are in love all the time, but they’re not. I don’t believe them. They think they should say it because it’s what you say. Doesn’t mean they really know what it is.”

best short stories of 2020

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Lulu by Te-Ping Chen ( The New Yorker )

Te-Ping Chen’s story charts the destiny of two siblings whose lives follow different paths although they are born just a few minutes from each other. I look forward to her short story collection, Land of Big Numbers .

Dr. Feng had operated on our mother as a favor to our uncle, his old classmate. Otherwise we would have been born in the hospital down the street, where a woman had bled to death after a botched Cesarean the previous year. The family had been in the waiting room for hours, and at last the father-to-be pounded on the doors of the operating room. When no one responded, the family pushed them open to find the lifeless woman on the table, blood pooling on the ground. She was alone: the staff had stripped the medical certificates that bore their names from the wall and fled as soon as the surgery went wrong. From the start we were lucky, not least because we had each other. As twins we’d been spared the reach of the government’s family-planning policies. For the first few weeks of our life, our skulls had matching indentations from where they’d been pressed against each other in the womb, like two interlocking puzzle pieces. Later in life, when we were apart, I used to touch my hand to the back of my skull when I thought of her, as if seeking a phantom limb.

Shakespeare, New Mexico by Valeria Luiselli ( Guernica )

(Translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeny.) The Mexican-born Valeria Luiselli’s highly rated Lost Children Archive was on the longlist of the 2019 Booker prize.

At times, as we progressed through this enormous country, their father told them stories—also thinning and wavy, uninspiring. When it was my turn to provide some entertainment, I didn’t tell them any stories because I don’t know how. Instead, I set them riddles I’d learned so many lives ago that I couldn’t even remember the answers: A cowboy goes into a saloon. He’s soaked through. He asks for a glass of water, and the bartender hands him a pistol. Then, the cowboy says, “Thank you,” and leaves the saloon. “That’s it?” asked the eldest. “That’s it,” I confirmed. “That’s the end of the story?” said the little one. “Yes, my love, that’s the end of the riddle,” I said.

My story picks from 2019 , 2018 , 2017 , 2016 and 2015 .

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Electric Lit’s Favorite Short Story Collections of 2020

best short stories of 2020

Staff and contributors voted on their picks for best short fiction of the year.

best short stories of 2020

Did everyone else notice that the New York Times list of 100 notable books from 2020 only included one short story collection? Weird, right? There were actually so many great collections this year—but with the help of votes from Electric Lit staff, former staff, and contributors, we’ve narrowed it down to 20. In roughly ascending order (we had a lot of ties), here are our favorites of the year. (When you’re done, check out our picks for nonfiction books and novels .)

Shop the books on this list:

best short stories of 2020

Everyone on the Moon Is Essential Personnel by Julian K. Jarboe

Recommending Julian K. Jarboe’s satirical queer science fiction collection in Recommended Reading , Casey Plett writes that “Jarboe’s writing makes me weepy and laugh deliriously at the same time.” Read the title story, “ Everyone on the Moon Is Essential Personnel .”

best short stories of 2020

F*ckface by Leah Hampton

Leah Hampton brings rage but also a sense of humor to stories about life, death, sex, and sadness in Appalachia. Read “ Twitchell ,” about a chemical company that may or may not be giving generations of people cancer (recommender Deb Olin Unferth called it “gut-wrenching”), and “ Meat ,” about interning at a slaughterhouse, in Recommended Reading .

best short stories of 2020

Fraternity by Benjamin Nugent

Fraternity is a set of linked stories about the Delta Zeta Chi brothers, and how their toxic performative masculinity affects their lives. Read an interview between Nugent and Genevieve Sly Crane, author of Sorority , about taking inspiration from Greek life .

best short stories of 2020

How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa

Thammavongsa’s tautly-written collection focuses on the stories of Laotian refugees who have made it to the United States. Read an interview with the author , or read the story “ Randy Travis ” in Recommended Reading , where Vinh Nguyen praised her “heartbreak, humor, and defiance all condensed in the most crystalline language and imagery.”

best short stories of 2020

Sansei and Sensibility by Karen Tei Yamashita

Sansei and Sensibility blends the stories of third-generation Japanese Americans with the characters of Jane Austen. Borders and realities collide in this beautiful collection, which deals with everything from class dynamics to what we really inherit from our ancestors. 

best short stories of 2020

Show Them A Good Time by Nicole Flattery

Recommending a story about a woman trying to date during the apocalypse, Colin Barrett writes: “‘ Not the End Yet ,’ like all the stories in Show Them A Good Time , is a story that is both funny peculiar and funny haha. The world is ending, but there is still time.” These are strange stories that upend the familiar.

best short stories of 2020

Sleepovers by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips

Sleepovers focuses on stories set in rural North Carolina. In these bold, frank stories, characters navigate friendships and relationships, shedding light on a part of the forgotten South without being afraid to dig deep into its darkness.

Verge by Lidia Yuknavitch

Verge by Lidia Yuknavitch

The stories in this spiky, magnetic collection deal with characters about to go over the edge, whether that means the edge of their bodies (as in a story about searching for organs on the black market) or the edge of reality. 

best short stories of 2020

Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda

“If there is a specific subgenre of ghost story of which I am inordinately fond, it is the one in which the protagonist has sex with a ghost,” writes Carmen Maria Machado, recommending Aoko Matsuda’s story “ Peony Lanterns .” Matsuda’s spirited (in a few senses) collection is inspired by traditional Japanese ghosts, and she also curated a list for us of female ghosts from folklore .

I Know You Know Who I Am

I Know You Know Who I Am by Peter Kispert

Kispert’s debut collection is all about lies and the (queer) liars who tell them. Recommending one of these stories, Kristen Arnett summed up Kispert’s work: “Peter Kispert is a funny writer, but he’s also ready to sucker punch you with feeling.” Read “ In the Palm of His Hand ,” about a man pretending to be Catholic for love, in Recommended Reading .

best short stories of 2020

Likes by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum

This fantastical collection Likes marries fairy tales the and modern world, illuminating the experiences of girls and women by pairing them with the strangeness of fable—or simply highlighting the strangeness of real life.

best short stories of 2020

How to Walk on Water by Rachel Swearingen

Caitlin Horrocks praised the “delicious mystery” of Swearingen’s story “ Advice for the Haunted ” in Recommended Reading . The rest of this debut collection likewise balances eeriness, danger, and uncertainty with minutely-observed descriptions of everyday life.

best short stories of 2020

A House Is a Body by Shruti Swamy

“Through Shruti Swamy’s collection, A House Is a Body , her varied characters share a singular quality—their painful desire to reach the reader with the secrets, shame, and truths they can share with no one else,” writes Laura Furman, recommending “ The Neighbors ” from this intense and groundbreaking book. Swamy also curated a list of books that take women’s bodies seriously .

And I Do Not Forgive You

And I Do Not Forgive You by Amber Sparks

The surreal, funny, genre-bending stories in And I Do Not Forgive You combine history, ghosts, fables, urban legends, time travel, and video games in perfect magical realist alchemy. Read an interview with Sparks about reimagining happily-ever-after .

best short stories of 2020

To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss

Krauss is well-known as a novelist, and she brings the same deftness with literary fiction about flawed, conflicted characters to her first short story collection. The characters in To Be a Man aren’t all men, but the collection does wrestle with ideas about masculinity and what it means for individuals and society.

best short stories of 2020

You Will Never Be Forgotten , Mary South

Mary South’s stories are dark and funny, both absurd and way too real—Karen Russell meets Black Mirror . “I don’t feel like I have to invent much or stretch the world too far past recognition in my stories—our current reality is often a horrifying dystopia,” she said in her Electric Lit interview . 

Daddy by Emma Cline

Daddy by Emma Cline

This provocative collection is fascinated with bad guys who don’t know that they’re bad. In her interview with Electric Lit , Cline said she wanted to investigate “that distance between how people think of themselves and how they actually are in the world.”

best short stories of 2020

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

Recommending Philyaw’s story “ When Eddie Levert Comes ,” about a mother with dementia who is infatuated with the soul singer she believes to be her lover, Rion Amilcar Scott suggests that the reader brace for an emotional walloping. Philyaw’s National Book Award–nominated collection pulls no punches as it deals with the complex relationships and desires of Black women in a conservative church. Read an interview with the author about church ladies and secret sex .

best short stories of 2020

I Hold a Wolf by the Ears by Laura van den Berg

The stories in this collection are about violence, desperation, dark secrets, and attempted escapes, but mostly they’re about death—imminent death, actual death, the fear of death. “I want to tell you about the night I got hit by a train and died,” begins “ Last Night ,” which you can read in Recommended Reading . This book is as insightful as it is unsettling, and you can’t look away. Read an interview with van den Berg about which of her characters is the biggest Karen.

The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans

The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans

The characters in these stories, writes recommender Kelly Link, “are not submerged in or extinguished by loss. They are, in fact, so urgent, so bright, so compelling that they linger long after I close the book.” Evans deftly weaves race, love, grief, and history in this rich and remarkable collection. Read the recommended story “ Anything Could Disappear ,” or read our interview with the author .

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NOV. 10, 2020

by Danielle Evans

Necessary narratives, brilliantly crafted. Full review >

best short stories of 2020

AUG. 4, 2020

by Randall Kenan

Ten artful stories conjure contemporary North Carolina, mouthwatering and matter-of-factly haunted. Full review >


MAY 5, 2020

by Karen Tei Yamashita

A humane vision of people and their stories traveling, learning, sometimes suffering, and always changing. Full review >


SEPT. 1, 2020

by Deesha Philyaw

Tender, fierce, proudly Black and beautiful, these stories will sneak inside you and take root. Full review >


MARCH 10, 2020

by Ho Sok Fong ; translated by Natascha Bruce

Straddling the surreal and the pointedly political, Ho reveals herself to be a writer of immense talent and range. Full review >


NOV. 3, 2020

by Shirley Hazzard

Sharply intelligent, nuanced, precise, and subtly hilarious. Full review >


MARCH 3, 2020

by Lorrie Moore

This expansive, exquisite collection cements Moore’s standing as one of the greatest short story writers of our time. Full review >


SEPT. 15, 2020

by Walter Mosley

The range and virtuosity of these stories make this Mosley’s most adventurous and, maybe, best book. Full review >


OCT. 6, 2020

by Lynne Sharon Schwartz

Wise, wry, and witty—theses stories in all their stylistic variations are perfect. Full review >

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best short stories of 2020

Auxiliary Memory

Things I want to remember – James Wallace Harris

Auxiliary Memory

The Best American Short Stories 2020

best short stories of 2020

by James Wallace Harris, Friday, November 6, 2020

Once again I’m turning my reading of The Best American Short Stories (BASS) into a blogging project. See my review for the 2019 volume. The series editor is Heidi Pitlor , who has held that post since 2007, and this year’s 2020 guest editor is Curtis Sittenfeld . Each year, the series editor reads hundreds of stories and passes on what they consider to be the top 120 stories to the guest editor, who in turn picks their favorite twenty stories to publish as The Best American Short Stories for the year. It’s a kind of literary playoff where the winners of the Final 20 are chosen by us readers.

best short stories of 2020

I’ve always wanted to write fiction, especially short stories, but I’ve never felt I was any good at it. Reading these stories teaches me about the best of literary prose. For each of the past three years I’ve read hundreds of short stories and I’m slowly learning what goes into good storytelling. I doubt I’ll ever write a story worthy of being published but I keep trying. To succeed at 69 or 70 would be very satisfying as an extremely late blooming boomer.

My intended project is to read The Best American Short Stories 2020 and study how each story works. This means twenty blog posts, something that should take me months to complete. I’m aware of two other bloggers also analyzing each BASS story ( Karen Carlson , Jacob Weber ). If other readers of this blog are also reviewing this BASS edition, please let me know in the comments.

To understand each story at an artistic level will require multiple readings. I’ve already learned it takes two or three readings to do justice to a good story, and it will take even more readings to reveal everything the author intended. Most readers rush through their fiction. That’s how I’ve read most of my life. It’s only since I started listening to audiobooks in 2002 that I’ve learned that slower is better. I’ve read the first story in this volume, “Godmother Tea” by Selena Anderson three times now, and I’m only beginning to comprehend why it’s the lead story.

My plan is to read each story via the printed book first. This will give me the general idea of the story, the flyover view. Then, I’ll listen to the audio version of the anthology. That will give me the voice and drama of the story. Professional narrators are highly skilled at interpreting that. And, finally, I’ll read the story again on the Kindle where I can highlight, take notes, and copy quotations. This is where I’ll deconstruct the writing and look for examples of what I want to learn.

I highly recommend buying BASS 2020, but if you don’t want to make such a commitment, some of the stories are available to read online. Try reading one of them. Then read it again. Did a lot more of the story pop out that you didn’t notice when you read it the first time? Try reading it yet again. Were you surprised by even more being revealed? These stories have amazing depth to them.

  • “ Godmother Tea ” by Selena Anderson ( my review )
  • “The Apartment” by T. C. Boyle ( my review )
  • “A Faithful but Melancholy Account of Several Barbarities Lately Committed” by Jason Brown ( my review )
  • “Sibling Rivalry” by Michael Byers ( my review )
  • “ The Nanny ” by Emma Cline ( my review )
  • “Halloween” by Marian Crotty ( my review )
  • “ Something Street ” by Carolyn Ferrell ( my review )
  • “ This is Pleasure ” by Mary Gaitskill ( my review )
  • “ In the Event ” by Meng Jin
  • “ The Children ” by Andrea Lee
  • “ Rubberdust ” by Sarah Thankam Mathews
  • “ It’s Not You ” by Elizabeth McCracken
  • “Liberté” by Scott Nadelson
  • “ Howl Palace ” by Leigh Newman
  • “The Nine-Tailed Fox Explains” by Jane Pek
  • “The Hands of Dirty Children” by Alejandro Puyana
  • “Octopus VII” by Anna Reeser
  • “ Enlightenment ” by William Pei Shih
  • “ Kennedy ” by Kevin Wilson
  • “The Special World” by Tiphanie Yanique

Normally, I read science fiction, but literary fiction usually reflects the cutting edge on the art of writing. Literary fiction also focuses on getting inside the heads of characters, and since we’re in the middle of a diversity boom, that means we’re seeing a wider range of perspectives, writing styles, and experimentation.

Few people read short stories today. It’s a dying art form that has a thriving subculture, albeit small. Before television Shanghaied popular entertainment in the 1950s, newsstands were filled with hundreds of magazine titles devoted to endless variety of short stories subjects, and most general interest and special focus magazines carried a handful of stories.

I consider short stories to be messages in a bottle from one soul to another. They are intricate little communiques where the writer sculps a small vision they want to share with the world. Great stories are multifaceted with layers and textures that required effort, concentration, and contemplation to reveal.

For some reason at my fading end of life I’ve found reading short stories to be far more interesting than any other art form. That’s partly due to the limits of what my aging mind can handle. Short and precise is good. But I also cherish what each writer expresses. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so each story is a handful of mental portraits and landscapes painted in words.

There is far more to short stories than finding out what happens in the plot. And once they are carefully decoded you have to ask why did the writer write this, and also ask yourself, what does it mean to me.

It’s all deliciously multiplex.

Other Bloggers Reviewing BASS 2020 This Year :

  • A Just Recompense  – Karen Carlson
  • Workshop Heretic  – Jake Weber
  • Short Story Magic Tricks  – Ben Walpole

Share this:

17 thoughts on “the best american short stories 2020”.

No Henry James, the master of psychology without much emphasis on plot? His “The Beast in the Jungle” is one of my favorite short stories. And it is pertinent to your interests.

Thank you for this article, James. i appreciate the links to the stories.

  • Pingback: Cut to BASS in the Crazy Year 2020 | A Just Recompense

I used to read the BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES series faithfully every year. But about five or six years ago, I gave up. Too many of the stories did not resonate with me. And, there’s just too much other stuff to read. I do, however, continue to read BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS each year.

Oh, I burn out on BASS too. It comes and goes with me.

  • Pingback: BASS 2020: “A Faithful but Melancholy Account of Several Barbarities Lately Committed” by Jason Brown – Auxiliary Memory
  • Pingback: BASS 2020: “Godmother Tea” by Selena Anderson – Auxiliary Memory
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best short stories of 2020

The theme of a short story is essentially the way that a writer is able to communicate with the readers on a common ground. The theme can be different if the short story is meant to be a moral story or if the short story is one that is fict...

The five elements of a short story are character, plot, setting, conflict and theme. Short stories are works of fiction that are shorter than novels. The first element of a short story is the character. The character is a person or animal t...

The bazaar in the short story “Araby” symbolizes the disillusionment that accompanies the journey from childhood to adolescence.

Lara Erlich, Animal Wife (Red Hen Press) ; Nicole Flattery, Show Them A Good Time (Bloomsbury) ; Leah Hampton, F*ckface (Henry Holt) ; Randall

Featuring Nicole Krauss, Stephen King, Emma Cline, Zora Neale Hurston, and more · 1. To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss · 2. The Office of Historical

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Electric Lit's Favorite Short Story Collections of 2020 · Everyone on the Moon Is Essential Personnel by Julian K. · F*ckface by Leah Hampton.

The Best American Short Stories 2020 [Sittenfeld, Curtis, Pitlor, Heidi] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The Best American Short

"To read their stories felt to me the way I suspect other people feel hearing jazz for the first time," recalls Curtis Sittenfeld of her initial encounter

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The Kirkus Prize is among the richest literary awards in America, awarding $50,000 in three categories annually. Great Books & News Curated For You. Be

The Best American Short Stories 2020 · “Godmother Tea” by Selena Anderson (my review) · “The Apartment” by T. C. Boyle (my review) · “A Faithful

The Best Reviewed Short Story Collections of 2020 · Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from... · Show Them a Good Time · If It Bleeds: Mr.

All the titles listed below were published between 2020 and this September, with the newer books up top. ... Have a great short story collection

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Gratitude and Teacher


  • Word count: 476
  • Category: Gratitude Teaching

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Teachers are one of the greatest people whom you can across in your life. They are not only the selfless givers but also the mentors of your life. At every step of your life, you come cross teachers who devote their entire life in the enlightenment of students like you. For sure, teachers’ definition can’t be limited to a subject teacher because anyone who guides you in your life is a teacher. Many a times in life, you feel like thanking your teacher but you do not find a proper occasion. So this teachers’ day commemorate your teachers’ efforts and thank him for being the guiding light in your life. You can express your gratitude for your teacher with the help of Teacher’s Day messages. They are a kind of “Thank You” messages for teachers. Read the following messages to thank teachers.

You are the best Teacher in this world. Wherever I may go in my life, I will always remember that I had an excellent guide in the form of a teacher, you. I found guidance, friendship, discipline and love, everything, in one person. And that person is you (name of your teacher) Without you, we would have been lost. Thank you teacher for guiding us, inspiring us and making us what we are today. We will always be thankful to you for all the hard work and efforts you have put in, for educating us. You are not only our teacher. Rather, you are friend, philosopher and guide, all molded into one person. We will always be grateful to you for your support. I may not say it always. But, I mean it whenever I say it. Thank You Teacher for all the things you have done for us.

You have been the mentor of life. Though I did not realize it earlier. Now it feels great to have someone who guided me to the right track in life. Happy Teacher’s Day! Thanks for being my teacher and guiding me towards the right path of life. I am grateful to you teacher! With a great teacher like you, I was sure that life would be a successful journey but I never knew you will also make the journey to success such a cakewalk. I can’t express my gratitude Sir! You have been more than a teacher- a mentor, guide, and philosopher! Thanks for blessings me. Success is your blessing, teacher. I would always be thankful to you. Best of me, reminds me of you. Happy Teachers’ Day!

Life is a journey and your words have been a guiding light throughout. Happy Teachers’ Day! Teacher you have always shown us the right way. Whatever little we have achieved in your life is because of you only. Thanks for being our guide and mentor. Happy Teachers’ Day!

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Gratitude for Students

What is it.

Gratitude means more than simply saying thank you. Researchers usually define it as a feeling or state that results from both (1) recognizing a good thing, such as a positive outcome or gift we’ve received, and (2) recognizing that this good thing came from outside ourselves. Although we most often experience gratitude in response to the actions of other people, we can feel grateful to nonhuman sources, too, such as nature, a higher power, or the universe.

Several studies have investigated the nuances of gratitude, finding that three factors tend to increase the amount of gratitude people feel for benefits they’ve received: the more purposefully someone has helped us (as opposed to unintentionally or with an ulterior motive), the more they’ve sacrificed to do it, and the more the outcome benefits us, the more grateful we feel.

A high school student writes a gratitude letter to his grandmother for taking over his evening responsibilities while his parents worked so that he could study for his finals. She missed her weekly gatherings with friends and instead watched his younger siblings and made them dinner every night, leaving the high schooler ample time to study. As a result, he passed his finals with flying colors!

Though even toddlers can be taught to say thank you, children seem to first experience and express true gratitude at around 6-8 years old , when they are more capable of taking another person’s perspective and have a greater understanding of another’s emotions. Gratitude curriculum has been shown to work with students as young as eight, increasing not only their levels of gratitude but also their social and emotional well-being.

Why Is It Important?

In the past couple of decades, hundreds of studies have documented the social, physical, and psychological benefits of gratitude. Although research on gratitude with young people has lagged behind the research with adults, the past several years have seen a surge of interest in youth gratitude—and studies reveal corresponding benefits.

Gratitude promotes emotional well-being.

  • Youth (ages 10-19) who are more grateful report greater happiness and life satisfaction and more positive emotions overall, as well as less depression and envy .

Gratitude relates to physical health.

  • As with adults, youth who are more grateful feel better physically, and practicing gratitude helps adolescents eat more healthily .

Gratitude helps students do better in school.

  • Gratitude makes students more satisfied with their school experiences, and, on average, more grateful students get better grades .

Gratitude cultivates altruism.

  • Refuting the idea that gratitude is selfish, more grateful adolescents feel more connected to their communities and more motivated to use their gifts to contribute to society.
  • Practicing gratitude also helps make adolescents less materialistic and more generous .

Gratitude strengthens relationships.

  • More grateful young people report feeling higher levels of social support; they also show more prosocial , or kind and helpful, behavior towards others.

Practice Collections

Gratitude practices for lower elementary students

A Gratitude Poem to the World

Students identify the many ways that exist to express gratitude.

A Song of Gratitude

Students define gratitude and give an example of a time they felt grateful.

A Time I Felt Grateful

Students draw and write about ways they have acted with kindness towards others.

Acts of Kindness

Students learn to say “thank you” in American Sign Language and brainstorm non-verbal ways to express gratitude.

Another Way of Saying Thanks

Students practice a mindful body scan and express gratitude for what their bodies allow them to do.

Appreciating Our Bodies: A Body Scan with Gratitude

Students express gratitude through singing.

Beauty Everywhere

A diverse group of people standing, with their backs facing the viewer

Behind Your Back

Students consider the intentions of characters in a story who are kind to others.

Caring Intentions: Being Kind to Others

Students identify their strengths to increase self-understanding.

Discover Your Great Full Self

Students reflect on why another person acted kindly towards them, and practice gratitude both verbally & in writing.

Expressing Gratitude

Students identify emotions related to gratitude.

Feelings of Gratitude

Students practice turning complaints into gratitude statements.

Flipping Complaints Into Gratitude

Students define gratitude and name things they’re grateful for.

Giving Thanks

Students reflect on acts of kindness and how they often require intention and effort on the part of the person who does them.

Giving is Receiving

Students interview an older person about gratitude, deepening their own understanding of gratitude.

Gratitude Interview

Students write five things they’re grateful for once a day for two weeks.

Gratitude Journal for Students

Students write a letter of thanks and deliver it in person.

Gratitude Letter for Students

Students deepen their understanding of gratitude by “embodying” it.

Gratitude Mirror

Students take a mindful walk in nature, noting what they are grateful for, and create a collaborative art piece of their experience.

Gratitude Nature Walk

Students interpret and role-play a variety of quotes about gratitude.

Gratitude Quotes

Students express gratitude towards the many people whose efforts have brought them food.

Gratitude for Our Food

Neighborhood homes surrounded by flood water

Inspiring Climate Awareness Through Gratitude

Students get a secret kindness buddy to do a kind act for during the week.

Kindness Buddy

Students walk silently around school, noticing people they are grateful for and telling them so.

Looking for Gratitude in School

Students learn that when someone does something kind, it takes time and effort.

Making a Difference

Students identify ways that they have acted with kindness towards others.

Noticing Kindness

Students explore ways to overcome what keeps us from expressing our thanks.

Obstacles to Expressing Gratitude

Abraham Lincoln memorial

People Who Made a Difference

Students recognize the costs and benefits involved in a kind act.

See the Good Challenge

Students look for the good in others by acknowledging each other’s strengths.

Seeing the Good in Others

Students share stories about a time they felt grateful.

Sharing Gratitude Stories

Discussion questions for families to deepen their child’s experience of gratitude

Take-Home Skill: Gratitude Questions for Kids

Students learn how to think gratefully.

Thank You for Believing in Me

Students learn how the positive emotions from gratitude create a cycle of giving.

The Cycle of Gratitude

Students record three good things that happened to them each day for a week.

Three Good Things for Students

Students learn how kindness and gratitude strengthen friendships through reading a book.

What Friends Do

Students imagine what life would be like without certain things in our classrooms or schools.

What If We Didn’t Have This

Students identify what gets in the way of expressing gratitude.

What Really Matters

Students define gratitude and the many forms it takes.

What is Gratitude?

Through stories, discussion, and creative presentations about true heroes, students foster their compassion for others and see brave community involvement as an admirable, heroic way of life.

Who Are Your Heroes?

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Question and Answer forum for K12 Students

Teachers Day

Celebrating And Honoring Those Who Inspire Us To Learn: Teachers Day Paragraph

Teachers Day Paragraph: Teachers play a crucial role in shaping the future generation. They are the ones who inspire and guide us toward our goals, nurturing us into becoming better individuals. To honor their contributions, Teachers’ Day is celebrated worldwide. In this article, we will explore the significance of Teachers Day, the role of teachers in our lives, and creative ways to celebrate this special day.

In this blog, we include the Teachers Day Paragraph, in 100, 200, 250, and 300 words. Also cover the Teachers Day Paragraph belonging to classes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and up to the 12th class. You can read more essays in 10 lines, and about Essay Writing sports, events, occasions, festivals, etc… Teachers Day Paragraph is also available in different languages.

The Significance Of Teachers’ Day

Teachers’ Day is celebrated in various countries to honor educators and acknowledge their contributions to society. In India, Teachers Day is celebrated on September 5th, which is the birth anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a renowned philosopher, and the second President of India. He was an advocate of education and believed that teachers should be treated with the utmost respect. On this day, students across India pay tribute to their teachers by organizing cultural programs, presenting gifts, and expressing gratitude towards them.

The importance of honoring teachers cannot be overstated. Teachers are the backbone of any education system, and their dedication and hard work shape the future of the nation. Their passion for teaching and nurturing students should be celebrated and acknowledged regularly. Through Teachers Day, we can express our gratitude towards them and recognize their contributions.

The Role Of Teachers In Our Lives

Teachers play a significant role in our lives. They are not only educators but also mentors, guides, and friends. Teachers inspire us to achieve our goals and help us navigate through life’s challenges. They provide us with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed and instill in us the values that shape our character.

We all have that one teacher who has had a profound impact on our lives. For me, it was my history teacher who taught me not just about the past, but also about the importance of critical thinking and questioning the status quo. His dedication and passion for teaching left a lasting impression on me, and I will always be grateful for his guidance.

The Role Of Teachers In lives of us

The qualities that make a great teacher include patience, empathy, and a passion for teaching. Great teachers are dedicated to their students and work tirelessly to ensure that they receive the best education possible. They believe in their students and inspire them to reach for the stars.

Ways To Celebrate Teachers Day

There are many creative and thoughtful ways to express gratitude towards our teachers on Teachers Day. One way is to write a handwritten note expressing our appreciation for their hard work and dedication. We can also organize cultural programs or events to celebrate their contributions. Gifts such as books, flowers, or personalized mugs can also be a great way to show our gratitude.

Beyond Teachers Day, we can give back to the community of teachers by volunteering at local schools or donating to educational causes. It is essential to recognize and appreciate the work of our teachers beyond this special day.

Teachers play an indispensable role in shaping our future. They inspire us to learn, grow and become better individuals. Through Teachers Day, we can express our gratitude towards them and recognize their contributions to society. Let us honor and celebrate our teachers not just on Teachers Day, but every day.

Also Read: 

  • 10 Lines on Teachers Day
  • About My Favourite Teacher

FAQs On Teachers Day Paragraph

Question 1. How do you write a Teacher’s Day paragraph?

Answer: To write a Teacher’s Day paragraph in 4 lines, you can start by introducing the significance of the day and expressing gratitude towards teachers. Then, mention the importance of a teacher in shaping the lives of students and the impact they have on society. Finally, end with a heartfelt message of appreciation and respect for all the teachers who have made a difference in your life.

Example: “Teacher’s Day is a special occasion to honor and appreciate the contributions of teachers towards society. I am grateful for all the teachers who have dedicated their lives to imparting knowledge and shaping the future of students. They play an important role in guiding and inspiring us to become better individuals. On this day, I express my heartfelt gratitude and respect to all the teachers who have made a positive impact on my life.”

Question 2. What can I write about Teachers Day?

Answer: Teachers Day is celebrated on September 5th every year to honor and appreciate the hard work and dedication of teachers. It is a day to acknowledge the role of teachers in shaping the future of the nation. The day is marked by various events and activities organized in schools and colleges to show gratitude towards teachers. It is an opportunity to express our love, respect, and gratitude to our teachers.

Question 3. How to write 10 lines about Teachers Day?

Answer: Here are 10 lines about Teachers Day:

  • Teachers Day is celebrated on 5th September every year in India.
  • It is the birth anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a renowned teacher and philosopher.
  • The day is dedicated to celebrating the contribution of teachers in shaping the lives of students.
  • It is a day to express gratitude and respect towards our teachers for their hard work and dedication.
  • Schools and colleges organize various cultural programs, speeches, and other activities to celebrate the day.
  • Many students present gifts, cards, and flowers to their teachers as a token of appreciation.
  • Teachers are regarded as the backbone of any society, as they play a vital role in educating the future generations.
  • Teachers not only impart knowledge but also instill values and ethics in their students.
  • On this day, we acknowledge the importance of teachers in our lives and vow to never take them for granted.
  • The day is a reminder that teachers are not just professionals, but they are also mentors, friends, and guides who shape our personalities and help us achieve our goals.

Question 4. What is the teacher’s full form?

Answer: The full form of a teacher is “Talented Educated Adorable Cherished Helpful Encouraging Resourceful.”

Question 5. What is a teacher’s short essay?

Answer: A teacher is a person who guides and imparts knowledge to their students. They play an important role in shaping the future of society. They have the power to inspire, encourage and empower their students to achieve their goals. Teachers are respected and valued in every culture and are often considered as role models.


6 Reasons Why I'm Grateful for My School


Mai Bucheeri

14 December, 2021

Springring Students' Blog

From extracurricular to academics, my school has assisted me in exploring a multitude of skills and activities. As a result, I am thankful for school since it has helped me discover my passions, pushed me to seek new experiences, and altered my personality. I am grateful for:


As a child, I struggled with confidence and social awkwardness. On the other hand, participating in activities in school provided me with the opportunity to meet other students who shared my hobbies and interests. I gradually transitioned from an introverted position to a more social one through increasing interaction, making new acquaintances and gaining confidence. I can’t thank my school enough for having such a positive impact on my personality.

Furthermore, the activities I have participated in at school have provided me with leadership opportunities, competitions, and partnerships. For example, serving as vice president of the Student Council taught me to be a leader and take command.

Springring Students' Blog


The education process, which we started by learning to read and write, continues throughout life. We complete these processes with our teachers. As a result, I would like to thank everyone, especially my teachers, whose efforts I can not ignore. The people who have built me into the person I am. As a school teacher and as an educator who had the power to influence my mind to a great extent. Thank you to all teachers that created an environment of enthusiasm for learning, appreciation for growing and room for making mistakes along the way.

Springring Students' Blog


I am grateful to my friends for being there for me in my happy and challenging times. The ones that stood by my side and supported me in every decision I made. I am grateful for being able to cry with them over an exam we didn’t do well on. I am thankful to them for making my school experience memorable and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Springring Students' Blog


My school had an incredibly diverse community which taught me about acceptance. I discovered that not everyone speaks the same language, dresses the same way, or eats the same foods at break time. I graduated from high school as a global citizen, interacting with people from many backgrounds and perspectives.

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My school did more than just teach me the academic curriculum. It gave me lessons in life that I would not have learned at home. But, it aided in my development as a responsible global citizen. For example, you can become or achieve anything if you work extremely hard and put all of your efforts into it.


I never anticipated feeling grateful for my IBDP curriculum because it is a lot of work and sometimes more than a student can handle. But, I am aware that the quantity of work I had to complete during the last two years of school cannot be compared to the amount of work I would be assigned during college. Even though it required me to pull all-nighters, I am grateful for the knowledge and abilities I received from my subjects.

It is painful to know that my school life is coming to an end and that a new chapter of my life will begin. However, I believe that school truly prepared me for my future chapters. As a result, I am prepared to embark on my new journey.


Are you passionate about creative writing? Are you interested in being a Springring Student guest blogger? Reach out to us at  [email protected] . We'd love to have you on board!

Do you know someone who loves to write? Refer a friend who has a way with words! Their voice deserves to be heard.

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A student at Naseem International School. Independent and determined. I am curious and love to explore and discover new things. My curiosity, helped me gain new knowledge, and is the main factor in building my personality. As an extrovert, I love communicating & meeting new people.

gratitude towards teachers essay

Prayer Of Gratitude For Teachers

Prayers for teachers, students and schools: free downloads.

Prayer Of Gratitude For Teachers

How to pray for teachers, students, and schools consistently 

I’ve been a student, a teacher, and now a parent of a student, and through it all I’ve learned that everyone involved in the education of school-age children could use our prayers. Whether you are a public school, private school, or homeschool family, a great way to start the school year is to pray for teachers, students, and schools. Our classrooms need our prayers!

If you need a little inspiration for how to pray for teachers, students, and schools, here are three of my favorite ways to do it:

Jericho-style prayer walk around the school

No marching needed, but head out to the school grounds and pray while walking around the school! Go with a list of seven different areas to pray for and and pray for one each time you walk around, or go without a plan and let God lead your prayers. And if you homeschool, you can do this around the perimeter of your home. For inspiration, watch this video of pastor Mark Batterson talk about his prayer walk around Washington D.C., from his video bible study, The Circle Maker.

Pray through the school

My last year of teaching, I had the privilege of walking through the elementary school where I worked along with some parents from the community during the week before school started and pray over each classroom.

We received permission from the administration to do this after work hours and it was amazing. We prayed for each teacher by name and prayed over common areas such as the lunch room, gym, and playground as well. This can be done throughout the home for homeschoolers.

And ask someone to pray for YOU as the teacher in that case, too!

Pray for teachers and students with Scriptures – 5 Bibles verses

There are so many areas where this could be applied, but here are five examples of scriptures for teachers:

The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. — Romans 13:4

The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. — Matthew 10:24

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. — 2 Timothy 3:16

Command and teach these things. — 1 Timothy 4:11

Pick out specific scriptures when praying for students, teachers, aides, staff, and administration. Keep them on notecards in the car with you to pray while you wait in line to pick up your kids after school.

Pray for Teachers and Students – Sample Prayer # 1 

Lord, I pray the students in this school would show proper respect for the authorities you have placed over them and recognize all authority comes from you. Help them to speak and act in a way that is respectful of all teachers, administrators, and other school staff. (Inspired by Romans 13:1-5)

Pray for Teachers and Students – Sample Prayer # 2

Almighty God, You have given my kids all the talents, abilities, and spiritual gifts they need to follow Your plan for their lives. Lord, help them use those gifts to serve You first and others second, so that Your will is accomplished in their lives.

Lord, fill their lives with trusted teachers and advisers who can lead them toward You and Your promises. Help them turn to you as they learn and grow so they can lead fruitful and prosperous lives. Amen.

 — by Erin MacPherson, excerpted with permission from The Christian Mama’s Guide to the Grade School Years

Pray for Teachers and Students – Sample Prayer # 3

Almighty God, because we love our children, because our hearts yearn for their schools, we cannot remain silent. We will not stop praying until their righteousness shines the dawn, and their salvation blazes a burning torch.

May they be called the Holy People and the People Redeemed by the Lord. And may their schools be known as the Desirable Place and the City No Longer Forsaken (Isaiah 62:1, 12). In Jesus’ name, amen.

– by Fern Nichols, excerpted with permission from Moms in Prayer: Standing in the Gap for Your Children

Get the FREE Printables: 10 Powerful Prayers for Your Child’s School Year + 5 Bonus Prayers for Teachers

How should parents pray for their child’s school year? How can we engage in spiritual warfare on their behalf and pray for all the social and academic challenges they will face?

These prayers are Scriptures and will teach you to pray with confidence for your child’s protection, spiritual growth, and intellectual development in the new school year.

Get the FREE printable school-year prayers now…

In what ways do you pray over your kids and their teachers at the start of the school year and throughout the year? Leave a comment on our blog. We’d love to hear from you!

10 Blessings to Pray for Teachers, Students, and Parents – Counting My Blessings

Prayer Of Gratitude For Teachers

As you organize, prep, and purchase for the new school nothing you do is more important than adding a covering of prayer. For many praying for their children and grandchildren is second nature, but praying for teachers and friends is equally important. As is praying for God-given wisdom for ourselves as we guide our kiddos through the educational obstacle course.

10 Blessings to Pray for Teachers, Students, and Parents

These are things which apply whether your family home-schools or your children attend private or public schools. Blessings that are important for all ages and positions.

Prayer Of Gratitude For Teachers

List of Essays on Gratitude for Students and Teachers.

Robert Emmons, one of the world’s leading scientist and expert on the subject of gratitude reveals that feeling grateful have many benefits for your body, mind, and relationships, especially towards your parents.

Another good way to express your gratitude towards your parents is to spend more time with them and accompany them. You do not have to wait until when their hair turns gray or when they are 80 years old only to spend your time with them.

Gratitude And Teacher

Filed Under: Essays

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gratitude towards teachers essay

55 Inspiring Words of Gratitude for Teachers | Thank You Notes From Parent, Principal or Student

A teacher is a speaker, a listener, a demonstrator, and most of all, an influencer. A good teacher is passionate, compassionate, dedicated, understanding, and supportive when it comes to their jobs and their students. Therefore it is thoughtful to send some words of gratitude for teachers.

To state all the importance of a teacher would be to completely deviate from the purpose of this article because they are an important part of society in more ways than one. This is why you might need to show gratitude to a teacher with some words of gratitude for teachers. That way, when the opportunity to be grateful presents itself, you won’t be at a loss for the right words.

Thanking a teacher is a commendable attitude as a student, a parent, a principal, or a school owner. Without teachers, the world would be at a huge loss. There will be no one to impart knowledge to the young ones and monitor their progress. There will be no one to make a school or educational institution whole. There will be little to no positive influencers on earth.

The truth is, you can’t ever fully repay a teacher. You can however take time to remind them of how important they are by dedicating some ‘words of gratitude for teachers’ to them.

Teachers are not limited to a defined educational system; there is a teacher in everyone. For this article, you’ll be learning some words of gratitude for teachers that work as part of a school system. Whether you’re a principal, a parent, or a student, there’s a section you can read through and use to show your appreciation to that great teacher.

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Words of Appreciation for Teachers from Principal

Short notes / appreciation letter to teacher from management, thank you note to teacher from student, short heart-touching quotes for teachers, farewell short letter to my favorite teacher, nice words of appreciation for school, positive comments for teacher observations.

“Everyone who remembers his own education remembers teachers, not methods, and techniques. The teacher is the heart of the educational system.” – Sidney Hook

As a principal, if you can remember this quote, all your final speeches for the school term would be perfect. Perfect because you will prepare them with the thought that, “This school will not stand without my teachers”. Your speech will have words of gratitude for teachers, and you will deliver it in a way that moves the soul.

Browse through, and take your pick.

1. To all the teachers that have changed lives this school year; thank you for your selfless service.

2. My dear teachers, thank you for choosing to be a part of this community. The futures you have remodeled can never be altered.

3. Fellow teachers, your passionate service have put these children in a position to succeed. You did an amazing job. You are the celebrants of today.

4. Without you teachers, this school is just a random building filled with young ones that have no direction in life. You have given them a purpose, and for that, we are all grateful.

5. No matter how talented a child might be, it will never blossom without the help of a trained motivator. You, teachers, are the critical success factor for this establishment. Thank you for all that you do .

6. You have made it your responsibility to simplify the learning process for your students. You’re not just teachers, you are guardians. Thank you for your service.

7. No amount of money can truly appreciate the value you give to your students. We, therefore, use this opportunity to say, we respect you and we cherish you.

8. For the love, patience, and passion that you bring to work every day. You all deserve recognized awards. Thank you for choosing this profession.

9. It is easy to give notes and walk away. The hard part is making sure your students learned something new, and every day, you manage to do that. You are invaluable. We appreciate you.

10. I couldn’t have asked for a better set of teachers in this school. You have been amazing. Thank you.

Related Post: Appreciation To Team Members

No amount of salary can fully appreciate a teacher. However, words of appreciation for teachers from principal or school management shows that you acknowledge their work and you respect them.

This is a sincere and effective way to boost morale and make them want to do better in the next session/term.

1. Your profession deserves to be mentioned and appreciated every day. You are society builders. We say thank you.

2. Every year, I am grateful for your presence in my school. You make my job easy because you’re so good at yours. Well-done and keep it up.

3. Our students have brought home many trophies from competitions. That would not be possible without you. Thank you for the unending support of your students.

4. The school year has come to an end, and I know that instead of resting, you’ll start getting ready for the next term. That’s how amazing you are; thank you for that.

5. Every day, you come to school fully prepared to impact a life. Today, I’m assuring you that I can see your influence on these students. Thank you dear teachers for being who you are.

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Words of Gratitude for Teachers

A “thank you” note is a very intimate form of appreciation to anyone on the receiving end. It shows that the giver cares for, appreciates, and holds you in high regard. It is not unusual that you feel the need to use this method to pass across some words of gratitude for teachers.

If you ever question what to write in a thank-you note to teacher from student, you’re in the right place to get answers.

1. The passion for your job is unexplainable. It has been a great pleasure learning from you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

2. For your support, your involvement, your understanding, and your dedication throughout the year; I say… Thank you.

3. I wanted you to know that all the memories I have of you are pleasant. And all the feelings I have towards you are that of gratitude. Thank you for being amazing.

4. Your job is stressful, but you never count the hours. You’re always attentive, and for that you deserve accolades. I can’t give you accolades. All I can say sincerely is Thank you, for everything.

5. Thank you for enriching me in knowledge and providing guidance for me this year. I really appreciate it.

6. You inspired me. You gave me confidence in myself, and you gave me the zeal to learn. Thank you for everything.

7. Thank you for showing me the key to success. Thank you for believing in your abilities to pass knowledge across, and thank you for doing an awesome job. You are a gem.

Related Post: Thank You Notes To Principal And School Management

Words of Gratitude for Teachers

Sending out words of gratitude for teachers might seem inadequate for you. You feel like you should use something tangible to show appreciation; a thoughtful gift. There is nothing wrong with that idea. It just means you like to make bold gestures.

Heart-touching quotes for teachers are good means to support the gifts you may have to present. Here are a few you can pick from:

1. You’re a candle. You burn yourself out to light the path for others.

2. You don’t just fill your students with educational facts. You light a fire that makes them want to learn.

3. Without teachers, life would have no class.

4. Teachers encourage minds to think, hands to create, and hearts to love. You are a true teacher.

5. “If you have to put someone on a pedestal, put teachers. They are society’s heroes.” – Guy Kawasaki. You are my hero.

6. As a teacher, you awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. You are indeed a blessing.

7. “Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach” – Aristotle. You teach because you understand.

8. You’re the best teacher. You show us where to look, and then you let us discover. Nothing is more creative than letting the mind see without conditioning.

9. “Education doesn’t make us smarter. It makes us whole ” – Jill Biden. You are the core element of education. You make us whole.

10. You’re a good teacher. I know because you always worry about being a good teacher.

Farewell Short Letter To My Favorite Teacher

You’re leaving school and there’s this one teacher that has helped you through a lot of stuff. Some random words of gratitude for teachers might not be enough for you. What you need is a “farewell short letter to my favorite teacher”. That’s what this section gives you.

This is somewhat formal. You can personalize it with some substitutions, or you can remove the formality and use only the body. Your choice.

Title: Acknowledgement/ Appreciation

(Teacher’s name)

1. I wanted to thank you with all my heart for the support you have given me in (subject), throughout the school year. Without you, my results and entire story today would be very different, in a bad way.

Your support was valuable to my success in your subject and other aspects of the school. For that, I will be forever grateful.

I wish you a smooth continuation of your service and I ask that you continue to touch lives with your kindness.

Thank you again.

(Your name)

2. These few years I spent learning from you will be the most memorable for me. You taught me science and you taught me life.

I am grateful for the relationship we had, and I hope that nothing comes in between us. I still have a lot to learn, and I look forward to every bit of it.

From the depth of my heart, I say thank you.

3. My time as your student has come to an end. I couldn’t leave without letting you know how much impact you have made in my life.

I appreciate your patience for the times I was stubborn and impossible. I appreciate your kind words of wisdom and support. I don’t know where I would be without you. Thank you so much.

4. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for the necessary strength you gave me. Thank you for the courage to push on. Thank you for always being there.

I will never forget you.

5. I have argued with you. I have given you the silent treatment. I have been irrational. All through those times, you never cease to be my voice of reason.

Thank you for all you did. You will always be my favorite teacher.

6. Your life wasn’t perfect this year. So much emotional and psychological baggage to handle. Despite all these, you never took out your frustrations on me, no matter what I did.

Thank you so much.

7. A new era of my life has arrived and I have to move on. My dear teacher, we will be separated by distance, but all your wisdom will always be held intact in my heart.

Thank you for being there.

8. The education you have given me is an incredible thing that will serve me for eternity, no matter how many places I travel to.

Thank you for your support. I hope we stay in touch.

9. It’s time to part ways, but you will always be with me. Because you taught me to understand myself, have a vision, and choose a career.

It’s impossible to forget you. You will be missed.

10. I am leaving with tears in my eyes. I may not see you again, and I may never meet another teacher like you. Your teachings will forever be in my heart and my head.

Thank you for being my candle in the dark .

11. You are a memory that will never fade. Because of your teachings, your love, and your dedication to me and many other students.

You are one in a million, (Teacher’s name). Thank you so much.

12. Your classes changed my life. Your friendship changed my way of thinking. We might not be teacher-student anymore, but you will always be important.

Thank you for being you Sir/Ma.

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Here are sweet words, messages, quotes or letter of appreciation to school principal and staff to show your appreciation and let them know how much you appreciate their effort.

You can write some words of gratitude for teachers individually, or simply write some words of appreciation for the school. Dedicating your appreciation to the whole school is more formal and inclusive.

With that kind of appreciation, it’s less likely for any teacher to feel left out or disregarded.

1. This school is more than an institution. The commitment of its teachers and owners goes beyond ordinary. Thank you for all the support.

2. For the education inside and outside the classroom, and for the staff that makes this school whole; I sincerely appreciate your efforts.

3. I say thank you to everyone that makes up this prestigious institution. And I say a word of prayer that your influence continues to resonate in our lives.

4. The dedication shown by this school is worthy of admiration. I greatly appreciate the fortune of having the support you gave me. Thank you.

5. I appreciate the conscious effort you put into training the leaders of tomorrow. You are a role model as an institution.

6. The knowledge we received from the great staff and teachers of this school cannot be overemphasized. For this, we offer our thanks and admiration.

7. It is a great privilege to have been a member of this great school. Throughout the years, you have shown support and care. Thank you for everything.

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Teachers dedicate their lives to making other lives better and worthwhile. Sometimes it is difficult for them to know that they’re doing a good job or they’re lacking in some aspects. It is your duty as parents, principals, school board, and even students to make comments on teachers’ performances.

You can commend and criticize. The important thing is that you accompany all comments with words of gratitude for teachers, I mean the teacher(s) in question.

The supporting appreciation will make it easier to stomach any comments that come before or after it. Take a look at some examples.

1. Your patience is remarkable. The way you handle problematic students in class is something every other teacher should learn. You’re one of the good ones.

2. There is no comparison with the methods you choose to deliver your message. Your students are all grateful. Thank you .

3. You’re a talented educator. No matter the time of the day, you always manage to keep your class engaged from start to finish. It’s safe to say you’re a genius.

4. You never say no to your students. That is a weakness, but also a strength. It has made you the go-to person for students in need of emotional or psychological support. Thank you for that.

5. It is not easy to educate. It takes patience, love, and education. We see all of those things in you and more. You are appreciated.

5. You have done exceptionally well this year. Students have commented, and parents are eager to meet you. Keep up the good work. You are a rare virtue.

Related Post: Comments From Teacher On Student’s Performance

Throughout our schooling, teachers mark our minds with life-changing knowledge. They are capable of passing across all they have learned from schools and life generally, without hesitation. They make unwilling students want to learn. They understand their students and help boost self-confidence. They are builders of destinies.

It is only fair that they should be appreciated. This article on words of gratitude for teachers is here to get you started. You don’t have to stop where each message or appreciation stopped. You can take it a step further by specifically narrating what that teacher did for you. It will make your gratitude more personal and heartfelt. It will also increase the chances that this teacher will touch the life of another student the same way yours was touched.

Gratitude is a powerful drive for happiness. If you feel it, you have to express it.

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150 Thank You Message For Teachers & Mentors to Appreciate Their Efforts

50 Thank you message for teacher to appreciate their dedication and passion in shaping the future. Thank them for their constant support and positivity.

Thank You Message For Teachers

Teachers and mentors are vital in shaping our lives, providing knowledge, guidance, and support along our educational journey. They dedicate countless hours to nurturing our growth, inspiring us to reach our full potential, and instilling values that stay with us forever.

However, their tireless efforts often go unnoticed or underappreciated. It's time we express our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the remarkable teachers and mentors who have significantly impacted our lives.

In this blog, we present 150 heartfelt thank you messages for teachers and mentors who have made a difference. Whether they have challenged your intellect, encouraged your creativity, or supported you during difficult times, these messages will help you express your gratitude in a meaningful and heartfelt way.

We understand that finding the right words to express your appreciation can be challenging, which is why we have compiled this extensive collection of thank you messages. Whether you're a student, a former pupil, or simply someone who a remarkable teacher or mentor has influenced, you'll find the perfect message to convey your gratitude and acknowledge their profound impact.

So, take a moment to reflect on the teachers and mentors who have shaped your life.

Let's seize this opportunity to express our deep appreciation and gratitude for their unwavering dedication, passion, and belief in our abilities. Together, let's honor the educators and mentors who have made a lasting difference and inspire them to continue their noble work of shaping future generations.

20 Thank you message for teacher

1. "Dear ma'am/Sir, thank you for being an inspiration in my life. Your dedication and passion for teaching have made a lasting impact on me. I am grateful for the knowledge and guidance you've provided."

2. "To my amazing teacher, thank you for making learning fun and exciting. Your creativity and enthusiasm have helped me discover a love for education that I never knew I had."

3. "Thank you, ma'am/Sir, for believing in me even when I doubted myself. Your encouragement and support have given me the confidence to reach for my dreams."

4. "I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to you, ma'am/Sir, for your patience and understanding. Your willingness to go the extra mile to ensure I understood the lessons has been invaluable."

5. "Dear ma'am/Sir, your kindness and compassion have touched my heart. Thank you for not only teaching me academics but also important life lessons that will stay with me forever."

6. "I can't thank you enough, ma'am/Sir, for your unwavering dedication to our education. Your hard work and commitment have made a significant difference in our lives."

7. "Thank you for being more than just a teacher; you've been a mentor and a friend. Your guidance has helped me navigate challenges and grow as a person."

8. "To my wonderful teacher, thank you for making the classroom a place of warmth and encouragement. Your positive energy has created a learning environment where I felt comfortable to ask questions and explore new ideas."

9. "I am grateful to have had you as my teacher, ma'am/Sir. Your passion for teaching is evident in every lesson, and I admire the way you genuinely care for your students."

10. "Thank you, ma'am/Sir, for being the reason why I look forward to coming to school every day. Your dedication to education has left a lasting impression on me, and I will always remember the impact you've had on my life."

11. "Dear ma'am/Sir, thank you for being a beacon of knowledge and guiding me through the maze of learning. Your expertise and passion have inspired me to become a lifelong learner."

12. "To my extraordinary teacher, thank you for igniting my curiosity and fostering a love for discovery. Your ability to make complex concepts simple has made a lasting impact on my academic journey."

13. "Thank you, ma'am/Sir, for not only teaching me the subject matter but also instilling in me the importance of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Your dedication to shaping well-rounded individuals is truly remarkable."

14. "I am incredibly grateful to have had you as my teacher, ma'am/Sir. Your ability to make learning enjoyable and engaging has transformed the way I perceive education."

15. "Thank you for recognizing my potential, ma'am/Sir, and pushing me beyond my limits. Your unwavering belief in me has given me the strength to overcome obstacles and strive for excellence."

16. "Dear ma'am/Sir, your passion for teaching shines through in every lesson. Thank you for not only imparting knowledge but also nurturing a love for the subject matter that will stay with me forever."

17. "I want to express my deepest gratitude to you, ma'am/Sir, for creating a safe and inclusive classroom environment. Your commitment to fostering a sense of belonging has made a significant impact on my personal growth."

18. "Thank you, ma'am/Sir, for your unwavering patience and dedication to my education. Your ability to adapt your teaching methods to cater to my individual needs has made a world of difference in my learning journey."

19. "To my exceptional teacher, thank you for being a mentor and a role model. Your guidance and wisdom have not only shaped my academic success but also influenced my character development."

20. "Thank you, ma'am/Sir, for going above and beyond to ensure my success. Your tireless efforts and genuine care for your students have left an indelible mark on my heart."

20 Thank you message for teachers from students

1. "Dear [Teacher's Name], Thank you for being an incredible teacher! Your passion for teaching and dedication to helping us learn has made a lasting impact on our lives. We are grateful for everything you've taught us and the support you've given us throughout the year."

2. "To our amazing teacher, Thank you for making learning fun and engaging. Your creative teaching methods and constant encouragement have inspired us to reach for our dreams. We appreciate all the time and effort you invest in our education."

3. "Dear [Teacher's Name], You've not only been a teacher but also a mentor and a friend. Thank you for guiding us through challenges and celebrating our achievements. Your belief in us has given us the confidence to strive for excellence."

4. "We want to express our deepest gratitude to our teacher. Your kindness and patience have made the classroom a safe and welcoming place for us to learn and grow. Thank you for always being there for us."

5. "To our exceptional teacher, Thank you for seeing the potential in each of us and pushing us to do our best. Your unwavering belief in our abilities has motivated us to achieve more than we ever thought possible."

6. "Dear [Teacher's Name], Your passion for teaching is infectious, and it's evident in the way you present each lesson. Thank you for instilling in us a love for learning and encouraging us to explore the world around us."

7. "To the best teacher ever, Thank you for going above and beyond to ensure we understand the subjects and overcome our challenges. Your dedication and enthusiasm have made a significant impact on our education."

8. "Dear [Teacher's Name], Your guidance and wisdom have shaped not only our academic lives but also our characters. Thank you for being a positive influence and teaching us important life lessons beyond the textbooks."

9. "To our incredible teacher, Thank you for making us believe in ourselves and for fostering an environment where we feel comfortable to ask questions and learn without fear. Your passion for teaching is truly inspiring."

10. "Dear [Teacher's Name], As the school year comes to an end, we wanted to express our gratitude for your unwavering support and encouragement. Thank you for being an exceptional teacher and leaving a lasting impression on our hearts."

11. "Dear [Teacher's Name], Thank you for igniting our curiosity and nurturing our love for learning. Your passion for education is contagious, and we are grateful to have had you as our teacher."

12. "To our wonderful teacher, Thank you for being patient with us as we navigate through challenges and mistakes. Your understanding and guidance have helped us grow not only academically but also as individuals."

13. "Dear [Teacher's Name], Thank you for creating a classroom environment where we feel valued and respected. Your genuine care for each student has made a significant impact on our lives."

14. "To our dedicated teacher, Thank you for challenging us to push our limits and strive for excellence. Your high expectations have motivated us to work harder and achieve great things."

15. "Dear [Teacher's Name], Thank you for recognizing our unique strengths and helping us develop them further. Your encouragement and belief in our abilities have given us the confidence to pursue our passions."

16. "To our exceptional mentor, Thank you for being a role model and inspiring us to become the best version of ourselves. Your guidance and wisdom have left a lasting impression that will guide us throughout our lives."

17. "Dear [Teacher's Name], Thank you for making learning an enjoyable and enriching experience. Your creative and innovative teaching methods have made even the most challenging subjects exciting."

18. "To our incredible educator, Thank you for taking the time to understand each student's needs and providing individualized support. Your dedication to our success is truly commendable."

19. "Dear [Teacher's Name], Thank you for creating a safe space where we feel comfortable expressing our thoughts and opinions. Your openness and acceptance have fostered a sense of belonging within the classroom."

20. "To our remarkable teacher, Thank you for not only imparting knowledge but also for nurturing our character and instilling important values. Your impact reaches far beyond the classroom, and we are grateful for your guidance."

20 Thank you message for teacher appreciation

1. "Dear [Teacher's Name], thank you for being such an inspiring and dedicated educator. Your passion for teaching has made a significant impact on my life, and I will always cherish the knowledge and life lessons you've imparted. You're the best!"

2. "To my amazing teacher, thank you for believing in me when I doubted myself. Your encouragement and support have given me the confidence to reach for the stars. I am truly grateful for your guidance."

3. "Thank you, [Teacher's Name], for making learning fun and engaging. Your creative approach to education has made a lasting impression on me. I look forward to every class with excitement!"

4. "Words cannot express how grateful I am to have had you as my teacher. Your patience and understanding have helped me grow academically and personally. Thank you for being an exceptional mentor."

5. "Thank you for going above and beyond to ensure our success, [Teacher's Name]. Your dedication and commitment to your students' well-being are truly remarkable. You are a role model for us all."

6. "Dear [Teacher's Name], your passion for your subject is infectious, and it has ignited a love for learning within me. Your enthusiasm in the classroom is contagious, and I'm thankful for the knowledge you've shared."

7. "I want to express my gratitude for your unwavering support during both the highs and lows of my educational journey. Your belief in my potential has motivated me to strive for excellence. Thank you, dear teacher!"

8. "To the best teacher ever, thank you for not only teaching the curriculum but also life skills that will stay with me forever. Your wisdom and guidance have been invaluable."

9. "Thank you for being more than just a teacher; you are a mentor, a friend, and a source of inspiration. Your compassion and empathy have made a significant difference in my life."

10. "As the school year comes to an end, I wanted to extend my sincerest gratitude to you, [Teacher's Name]. Your dedication to your profession has made a lasting impact on me, and I'll always remember the positive influence you've had."

11. "Dear [Teacher's Name], thank you for instilling in me a love for learning and for pushing me to reach my full potential. Your belief in me has given me the confidence to pursue my dreams. I am forever grateful."

12. "Thank you, [Teacher's Name], for your unwavering patience and understanding. You always took the time to ensure that every student felt heard and supported. Your kindness has made a lasting impact on me."

13. "To my extraordinary teacher, thank you for making a difference in my life. Your dedication to education and your genuine care for your students have left an indelible mark. I am blessed to have been your student."

14. "I wanted to express my heartfelt appreciation for the passion and enthusiasm you bring to the classroom every day. Your ability to make even the most challenging topics interesting and accessible is truly remarkable. Thank you for making learning exciting."

15. "Thank you, [Teacher's Name], for being a mentor and guiding me through both academic and personal challenges. Your wisdom and advice have been invaluable, and I am grateful for the impact you've had on my life."

16. "Dear [Teacher's Name], thank you for fostering a positive and inclusive learning environment. Your commitment to creating a safe space where every student feels valued and respected is commendable. You are truly an exceptional teacher."

17. "I want to extend my deepest gratitude for your dedication to helping me grow not only academically but also as an individual. Your belief in my abilities has given me the confidence to face any challenge that comes my way. Thank you for being an incredible teacher."

18. "Thank you for always challenging me to think critically and to strive for excellence. Your high expectations and unwavering support have pushed me to achieve more than I ever thought possible. I am forever grateful for your guidance."

19. "To my extraordinary teacher, thank you for making learning a joyous experience. Your enthusiasm and energy in the classroom have made even the toughest subjects enjoyable. I will always remember your vibrant spirit."

20. "Thank you, [Teacher's Name], for being a source of inspiration and for igniting a passion for lifelong learning within me. Your dedication to your craft and your genuine care for your students have left an indelible mark. I am truly fortunate to have had you as my teacher."

20 Short thank you message for teacher

1. "Thank you for being an inspiring and caring teacher. Your passion for teaching has made a lasting impact on my life."

2. "Your dedication to educating and supporting your students is truly admirable. Thank you for being an amazing teacher!"

3. "I am grateful for all the knowledge and wisdom you've shared with me. Thank you, teacher, for shaping my future."

4. "Your patience and encouragement have been instrumental in my growth as a student. Thank you for believing in me."

5. "Thank you for making learning fun and engaging. You've transformed the way I see education."

6. "Your guidance and mentorship have guided me through challenges and successes. Thank you for being an exceptional teacher."

7. "I appreciate your unwavering support and belief in my abilities. You've inspired me to strive for excellence."

8. "Your kindness and understanding have created a safe and nurturing learning environment. Thank you, teacher!"

9. "Thank you for going above and beyond to ensure I understand the subjects. Your commitment to teaching is remarkable."

10. "I will always cherish the memories and knowledge you've shared with me. Thank you for being a remarkable teacher and role model."

11. "Your passion for teaching is contagious, and I'm grateful to have had you as my teacher. Thank you for igniting my love for learning."

12. "Thank you for going the extra mile to make lessons engaging and interactive. You've made learning an enjoyable experience."

13. "I appreciate your patience and willingness to explain concepts until I fully understand them. Your dedication is truly commendable."

14. "You have not only taught me academic lessons but also life lessons that I will carry with me. Thank you for being an exceptional teacher."

15. "Your enthusiasm and energy in the classroom have inspired me to dream big and work hard. Thank you for being an incredible mentor."

16. "Thank you for believing in my potential even when I doubted myself. Your unwavering support has made all the difference."

17. "I'm grateful for your guidance and encouragement throughout my educational journey. Thank you for shaping my path."

18. "Your creativity and innovative teaching methods have made learning a delightful adventure. Thank you for making education exciting."

19. "Thank you for taking the time to understand each student's unique needs and helping us reach our full potential. You are an extraordinary teacher."

20. "Your kindness and compassion have made the classroom a safe haven for learning and growth. Thank you for making a difference in my life."

20 Thank you messages for teachers on the occasion of Teachers Day

1. "Dear teacher, your dedication and passion for teaching have left a lasting impact on my life. Thank you for being a guiding light and inspiring me to reach for the stars. Happy Teacher's Day!"

2. "To my wonderful teacher, thank you for your unwavering support and belief in my abilities. Your encouragement has been the driving force behind my success. Happy Teacher's Day!"

3. "On this special day, I want to express my gratitude to the best teacher ever! Your patience, understanding, and wisdom have shaped me into a better person. Thank you for everything!"

4. "Dear teacher, you've not only imparted knowledge but also instilled a love for learning in me. Your enthusiasm and creativity have made every lesson enjoyable. Happy Teacher's Day!"

5. "Thank you, dear teacher, for being more than just an educator; you've been a friend, a mentor, and a role model. Your kindness and compassion have touched my heart. Happy Teacher's Day!"

6. "I'm truly grateful for the time and effort you've invested in my growth. Your belief in my potential has given me the confidence to face any challenge. Happy Teacher's Day!"

7. "To my incredible teacher, you've made the classroom a place of inspiration and discovery. Your dedication to teaching has influenced my life in ways I can't express enough. Thank you and Happy Teacher's Day!"

8. "Your lessons have extended beyond textbooks; you've taught me valuable life skills and the importance of integrity. I'm grateful for having such a remarkable teacher in my life. Happy Teacher's Day!"

9. "Dear teacher, your passion for teaching has made learning a joyous experience. Your words of wisdom continue to resonate with me long after leaving your classroom. Thank you and Happy Teacher's Day!"

10. "Today, I want to thank you for being the guiding force behind my dreams and aspirations. Your support and belief in me have made all the difference. Wishing you a wonderful Teacher's Day!"

11. "To the teacher who goes above and beyond, thank you for pushing me to reach my full potential and for showing me that learning is a lifelong journey. Happy Teacher's Day!"

12. "Dear teacher, your ability to make even the most complex concepts understandable is truly remarkable. Thank you for making education both enlightening and enjoyable. Happy Teacher's Day!"

13. "On this special day, I want to acknowledge the impact you've had on my life. Your guidance and mentorship have shaped my character and prepared me for the future. Thank you, and Happy Teacher's Day!"

14. "To my extraordinary teacher, thank you for fostering an environment of curiosity and critical thinking. You've taught me to question, explore, and never stop seeking knowledge. Happy Teacher's Day!"

15. "I'm grateful for the countless hours you've invested in shaping not just my mind but also my character. Your belief in me has given me the confidence to overcome any obstacles. Thank you and Happy Teacher's Day!"

16. "Dear teacher, your patience and understanding have made the classroom a safe space for me to grow and learn. Thank you for your unwavering support and for believing in my potential. Happy Teacher's Day!"

17. "To the teacher who encouraged me to dream big and chase my ambitions, thank you for inspiring me to believe in myself. Your guidance has made all the difference in my journey. Happy Teacher's Day!"

18. "Thank you, dear teacher, for teaching me the value of perseverance and resilience. Your dedication and commitment to your students are truly admirable. Happy Teacher's Day!"

19. "On this Teacher's Day, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for your ability to make each student feel seen and valued. Your kindness and compassion have touched the lives of many. Thank you!"

20. "To my favorite teacher, your passion for your subject and your infectious enthusiasm have ignited a lifelong love for learning within me. Thank you for being an inspiration. Happy Teacher's Day!"

15 Thank you message for teacher after result

1. “Dear [Teacher's Name], thank you for guiding me throughout the year. Your support and dedication have played a vital role in my success. I am truly grateful to have you as my teacher.”

2. “Thank you, [Teacher's Name], for your patience and belief in me. Your encouragement has helped me achieve these results. I appreciate all the hard work you put into teaching and inspiring me.”

3. “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to you, [Teacher's Name]. Your wisdom and guidance have shaped my academic journey, and I am grateful for your unwavering support.”

4. “I am deeply thankful to you, [Teacher's Name], for your passion and commitment to education. Your innovative teaching methods and encouragement have contributed to my achievements.”

5. “Thank you for being an exceptional teacher, [Teacher's Name]. Your expertise and dedication have made a significant impact on my academic growth. I am grateful for all that you have taught me.”

6. “Dear [Teacher's Name], I wanted to extend my sincere appreciation for your mentorship and guidance. Your belief in my abilities has motivated me to strive for excellence and achieve these results.”

7. “Thank you, [Teacher's Name], for inspiring me to reach new heights. Your enthusiasm and passion for teaching have instilled a love for learning within me. I am grateful for your influence on my success.”

8. “I am truly grateful to you, [Teacher's Name], for your patience and understanding. Your willingness to go the extra mile to help me understand challenging concepts has been invaluable. Thank you for making a difference in my education.”

9. “Dear [Teacher's Name], I cannot thank you enough for your dedication and commitment to my academic growth. Your support and guidance have been instrumental in my success. I am deeply grateful for everything you have done.”

10. “Thank you, [Teacher's Name], for being an extraordinary educator. Your ability to engage and inspire students is truly remarkable. I feel privileged to have been your student and to have achieved these results under your guidance.”

11. “I wanted to express my deepest appreciation to you, [Teacher's Name]. Your belief in my abilities and constant encouragement have made a world of difference. Thank you for being an exceptional teacher.”

12. “Dear [Teacher's Name], I am indebted to you for your guidance and mentorship. Your passion for teaching and your commitment to my success have made a profound impact on my educational journey. Thank you for everything.”

13. “Thank you, [Teacher's Name], for believing in me when I doubted myself. Your words of encouragement and support have pushed me to achieve more than I thought possible. I am grateful for your unwavering belief in my abilities.”

14. “I want to express my sincere gratitude to you, [Teacher's Name]. Your ability to make learning enjoyable and your dedication to our growth have made a significant difference in my results. Thank you for being an exceptional teacher.”

15. “Dear [Teacher's Name], I am immensely grateful for your guidance and mentorship. Your expertise and commitment to my education have played a vital role in my achievements. Thank you for being an outstanding teacher.”

10 Thank you teacher cards messages

1. "Thank you, teacher! You made learning fun and showed us the true meaning of education. You rock!"

2. "To our amazing teacher, thank you for being patient with us and inspiring us to reach for the stars!"

3. "You've been more than a teacher; you've been a mentor and friend. Thank you for your guidance and support!"

4. "Thanks a bunch, teacher! You always believed in us even when we didn't believe in ourselves."

5. "Dear teacher, you made a difference in our lives. Thanks for being the best!"

6. "Thank you for all the hard work you put into teaching us. Your dedication is truly appreciated!"

7. "We may not always say it, but we're grateful for everything you do. Thanks for being an awesome teacher!"

8. "You've sparked a love for learning in us that will last a lifetime. Thank you for being such an incredible teacher!"

9. "To the best teacher ever, thank you for making the classroom feel like a second home."

10. "Thank you, teacher, for investing in our future and shaping us into better individuals. You're a true gem!"

10 Thank you message to students from teacher on teachers day

1. "Dear students, on this Teacher's Day, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for being such amazing individuals. Thank you for your enthusiasm, curiosity, and dedication to learning. You make teaching a joyous experience!"

2. "To my incredible students, thank you for brightening up my days with your smiles, laughter, and genuine eagerness to explore new knowledge. Your enthusiasm and growth inspire me every day. Happy Teacher's Day!"

3. "As a teacher, I feel blessed to have such a fantastic group of students like you. Your commitment to education and the respect you show for each other and me are truly remarkable. Thank you for making my job fulfilling and rewarding!"

4. "On this special occasion, I want to extend my deepest appreciation to my extraordinary students. Your creativity, perseverance, and unique perspectives continue to amaze me. Thank you for reminding me why I chose this noble profession. Happy Teacher's Day!"

5. "To my wonderful students, thank you for making the classroom a vibrant and dynamic space. Your questions, discussions, and diverse experiences contribute to a rich learning environment. I feel privileged to be your teacher. Wishing you a joyful Teacher's Day!"

6. "Dear students, your enthusiasm for learning is infectious, and your thirst for knowledge is inspiring. Thank you for reminding me why education is so vital. Your success is my ultimate reward. Happy Teacher's Day!"

7. "To the incredible students I have the privilege of teaching, thank you for being the reason I look forward to coming to school every day. Your kindness, determination, and genuine interest in learning make all the difference. Enjoy this Teacher's Day!"

8. "As a teacher, I am grateful for the opportunity to guide and support such exceptional students like you. Your hard work, resilience, and dedication to self-improvement are truly admirable. Thank you for making teaching an immensely fulfilling journey. Happy Teacher's Day!"

9. "To my amazing students, thank you for your unwavering trust and belief in my abilities as your teacher. Your willingness to learn, grow, and overcome challenges fuels my passion for education. Wishing you a joyful and memorable Teacher's Day!"

10. "On this Teacher's Day, I want to express my deepest appreciation to my incredible students. Your individual strengths, talents, and dreams make our classroom a remarkable place. Thank you for making teaching the most rewarding profession in the world!"

15 Short thank you message for teacher from student

1. “Hey teacher, just wanted to say thanks for being awesome! You rock!”

2. “Thank you, dear teacher! You make learning fun and exciting!”

3. “Hey, teacher! Thanks for making the classroom feel like a second home.”

4. “Thank you for being patient with me, even when I get things wrong. You're the best!”

5. “Hey, thanks for not just teaching us lessons but also life skills. You're incredible!”

6. “Thanks, teacher! Your passion for teaching is inspiring and contagious.”

7. “Thank you for believing in me and helping me grow. I appreciate it so much!”

8. “Hey teacher, you make learning a breeze. Thanks for being so supportive!”

9. “Thanks for making every day at school an adventure. You're a true superhero!”

10. “Thank you, teacher, for making our journey through education so memorable.”

11. “Hey, just wanted to say thanks for the encouragement and motivation. You're amazing!”

12. “Thank you, teacher, for helping me discover my strengths and talents.”

13. “Hey teacher, your dedication to your students is truly commendable. Thanks a bunch!”

14. “Thanks for being more than just a teacher - you're a mentor and a friend.”

15. “Thank you for making a positive impact on my life. You mean a lot to me!”

Tips to write best thank you message for teacher

1. Begin with a warm greeting

Start your message with a kind and personal greeting, such as "Dear [Teacher's Name]," or "Hello [Teacher's Name]."

2. Express your gratitude

Clearly state that you're writing to express your sincere gratitude. You can begin by saying, "I wanted to take a moment to thank you for..."

3. Be specific and mention the impact

Highlight specific instances or actions that had a positive impact on you. For example, you could say, "Your passion for the subject matter and engaging teaching style made every class enjoyable and inspiring."

4. Share personal experiences

Share personal anecdotes or moments where your teacher's guidance made a difference in your learning journey. This could include instances when they went above and beyond to help you or provided valuable advice.

5. Acknowledge their dedication

Recognize the effort and dedication your teacher put into their work. Let them know that you appreciate their commitment to their students' growth and development.

6. Mention how their teaching influenced you

Explain how their teaching and mentorship have influenced you personally. Whether it's a newfound love for the subject or newfound confidence, make sure to mention the positive impact they had on your life.

7. Express gratitude for their support

Thank your teacher for their support and encouragement throughout the academic year or period of learning. Let them know that their belief in your abilities has meant a lot to you.

8. Convey future implications

Share how their teaching and guidance will continue to benefit you in the future. Express your excitement for applying the knowledge and skills they've imparted to you.

9. Conclude with appreciation and well wishes

Close your message by expressing your heartfelt appreciation once again. You can end with phrases like "Thank you once again for everything you've done".

10. Sign off with your name

Sign your message with your full name or the name by which your teacher knows you.

1. How do you say thank you to a teacher?

1. Be sincere

Express your gratitude genuinely and from the heart. Teachers appreciate genuine appreciation.

2. Keep it simple

You don't need to overcomplicate your message. A straightforward "Thank you" can go a long way.

3. Personalize your message

Include specific examples of how the teacher has made a positive impact on your learning or personal growth. This shows that you've been paying attention and value their efforts.

4. Be specific

Instead of a generic thank you, mention the specific actions or qualities that you appreciate about the teacher. It could be their patience, dedication, or ability to explain complex concepts effectively.

5. Use a heartfelt message

If you feel comfortable, you can write a longer message expressing your gratitude and how the teacher has influenced your life or inspired you.

6. Consider a handwritten note or card

Taking the time to write a personal note can be a meaningful gesture. It shows thoughtfulness and effort.

7. Deliver your message in person if possible

Face-to-face communication allows you to convey your gratitude directly and with sincerity. If that's not feasible, a well-crafted email or message can also be effective.

2. How to write a thank you message for a teacher?

1. Start with a warm greeting

Begin your message with a polite and friendly salutation, addressing your teacher by their name. This sets a positive tone for your appreciation message.

2. Express genuine gratitude

Clearly and sincerely express your gratitude for their teaching and support. Let them know that their efforts have made a positive impact on your education and personal growth.

3. Be specific and mention examples

Include specific examples of how the teacher has influenced your learning journey. Highlight particular lessons, activities, or moments that were memorable or particularly beneficial to you. This shows that you have been attentive and appreciative of their efforts.

4. Share personal anecdotes

If possible, share personal stories or instances where the teacher's guidance or support made a difference in your life. This adds a personal touch to your message and reinforces the teacher's significance in your educational experience.

5. Acknowledge their dedication and expertise

Recognize the teacher's dedication, expertise, and passion for teaching. Let them know that their commitment to their profession has not gone unnoticed and has inspired you to strive for excellence.

6. Mention the impact on your personal growth

Highlight how the teacher's influence has extended beyond academics and positively affected your personal growth. Whether it's boosting your confidence, developing critical thinking skills, or nurturing your passions, acknowledge the broader impact they have had on your life.

7. Keep it concise and organized

While it's important to express your gratitude in detail, try to keep your message concise and well-structured. Use paragraphs or bullet points to organize your thoughts and make it easier for the teacher to read and understand.

8. Conclude with a heartfelt closing

Wrap up your thank-you message with a heartfelt closing. Reinforce your appreciation and let the teacher know that their efforts will be remembered and valued.

9. Sign off with your name

Finally, sign off with your name to personalize the message and show that it comes from you.

3.How do you appreciate the best teacher?

1. Show respect

Treat your teacher with respect and kindness. Be polite, attentive, and considerate in your interactions. Respect their expertise and acknowledge their authority in the classroom.

2. Support their endeavors

Teachers often go beyond their regular duties to provide additional resources or organize extracurricular activities. Show your appreciation by actively participating in these initiatives and offering assistance whenever possible.

3. Share positive feedback

If your teacher has made a positive impact on your learning experience, consider sharing your feedback with school administrators or writing a testimonial. Let others know about the exceptional work your teacher is doing.

4. Give a thoughtful gift

Consider giving a small gift or token of appreciation to your teacher. It could be a handwritten letter, a meaningful book, or a personalized item that reflects their interests or teaching style. Remember, it's the thought and effort that counts.

5. Stay in touch

Even after you move on from their class or graduate, maintain a connection with your teacher. Update them on your achievements and let them know how their guidance has influenced your life. Teachers often derive great joy from seeing their students succeed.

6. Advocate for them

If your teacher is deserving of recognition or support, consider advocating for them within the school or community. Nominate them for awards, highlight their accomplishments, or provide feedback to relevant authorities.

7. Be a positive influence

Teachers appreciate students who create a positive learning environment. Help foster a respectful and inclusive atmosphere by being kind to your classmates, supporting others, and actively participating in creating a harmonious classroom.

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Speech On Appreciation of Teachers [Best Example]

We live in a culture where appreciation is overlooked and mistakes are highlighted. Humans are social creatures who need help, support and appreciation from others. Appreciation is an important factor in the personal growth of an individual. It also helps in the evolution of society.

In this article, we will learn how you can compose a speech for the appreciation of an individual, a group or a team. We use an easy-to-understand English Language for this type of composition.

Speech On Appreciation Of Teachers for 1 to 2 Minute

Good morning to the honourable principal, respected teachers and loving friends and all of you present here today. I am here to express my gratitude towards my teachers by presenting my deep thoughts about them.

First of All, I confess that the more I speak about my teachers, the less it will be. All the adjectives in the dictionary are insufficient to express the qualities of my teachers. The favour teachers do to their students can never be paid off. Thank you, teachers!

When I took admitted to a school, I was stupid and had a blunt brain. But today, I feel proud to tell you that I am considered one of the most intelligent students moulded by my teachers. “It takes a big heart to help shape little minds. Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.” Thank you again, my teachers!

There is a saying that our true well-wishers are only our parents. I disagree with this statement. My teachers never made me feel like that. In fact, they taught their students to face the real world more than the parents do. Dear teachers, I am thanking you on behalf of all the students for this.

Sometimes teachers turn harsh towards their students. To this, I want to state the first law of Newton which says, “ every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force .” Actually, this harshness acts as an external force to push us forward. Thanks Again for pushing us forward.

“A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils.” I am very thankful to God for sending me to this school where I met my great teachers who taught us not only the educational content but also helped their student to find out their talents. Again, Thank you, dear teachers.

At last, Thank you Ramesh Sir for explaining to me the play of numbers. Thank you Vikas Sir for improving my English language. Thank you Pankaj Sir for teaching me geography. Thank you Abhijit Sir for explaining physics. Thank you Sudhakar Sir for simplifying chemistry’s concepts. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you , my teachers!

Appreciation of Teachers- Short Speech

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Contents #1 Essay on Gratitude Towards Parents #2 Essay on Gratitude towards Teachers #3 Essay on Gratitude Towards Friends #4 Essay on Gratitude towards God #5 Essay on Gratitude Towards School #6 Essay on Gratitude Day #1 Essay on Gratitude Towards Parents Gratitude is one of the most underestimated ways anyone can use to enrich their lives.

Gratitude and Teacher Sample Essay Teachers are one of the greatest people whom you can across in your life. They are non merely the selfless givers but besides the wise mans of your life. At every measure of your life. you come transverse instructors who devote their full life in the enlightenment of pupils like you.

Happy Teacher's Day! Thanks for being my teacher and guiding me towards the right path of life.

Gratitude towards teachers is a feeling of appreciation and respect for those who have nurtured our minds and souls. It encompasses the acknowledgement of the hard work, devotion, and passion that teachers invest in educating their students. Whether it be in primary schools, high schools, colleges, or other educational institutions, teachers play an irreplaceable role

Example 1: Teachers' Day Essay Teachers play a vital role in shaping the future of individuals and societies. Their dedication, hard work, and commitment to education are often underappreciated. However, there is one day set aside each year to recognize and honor the invaluable contributions of teachers - Teachers' Day.

Gratitude for teachers in 2022 I'm also thankful for any and all tools that make teaching easier — so thankful in fact, that I wanted to share a few with you. I hope these give you reasons to be thankful too! You've got enough on your plate.

© Steve Debenport In our research, we've tested concrete ways that educators can actually make youth more grateful—with very positive results. This research points to specific practices and principles that educators can weave into their classrooms.

25 Ways to Thank a Teacher These 25 suggestions provide a way of showing teachers, past and present, that you care. They are in no particular order, but some are more practical if you are currently a student and others will work better if you are an adult, and no longer in school.

My former teacher, I'm writing to you as a former student and a friend. Too often, we climb through life without a look back to express our connection with others and our gratitude for their presence in our lives. You engage, inspire, and empower your students daily, and I wanted you to know that we notice how much you care.

Gratitude towards teachers is a feeling of appreciation and respect for those who have nurtured our minds and souls. It encompasses the acknowledgement of the hard work, devotion, and passion that teachers invest in educating their students.... List of Essays on Gratitude for Students and Teachers. Contents #1 Essay on Gratitude Towards Parents #2 Essay on Gratitude towards Teachers #3 Essay ...

Happy Teacher's Day! Thanks for being my teacher and guiding me towards the right path of life. I am grateful to you teacher! With a great teacher like you, I was sure that life would be a successful journey but I never knew you will also make the journey to success such a cakewalk. I can't express my gratitude Sir!

Gratitude means more than simply saying thank you. Researchers usually define it as a feeling or state that results from both (1) recognizing a good thing, such as a positive outcome or gift we've received, and (2) recognizing that this good thing came from outside ourselves. Although we most often experience gratitude in response to the actions of other people, we can feel grateful to ...

There are many creative and thoughtful ways to express gratitude towards our teachers on Teachers Day. One way is to write a handwritten note expressing our appreciation for their hard work and dedication. We can also organize cultural programs or events to celebrate their contributions.

The people who have built me into the person I am. As a school teacher and as an educator who had the power to influence my mind to a great extent. Thank you to all teachers that created an environment of enthusiasm for learning, appreciation for growing and room for making mistakes along the way.

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I can't express my gratitude Sir! You have been more than a teacher- a mentor, guide, and philosopher! Thanks for blessings me. Success is your blessing, teacher. I would always be thankful to you. Best of me, reminds me of you. Happy Teachers' Day! Life is a journey and your words have been a guiding light throughout.

1. To all the teachers that have changed lives this school year; thank you for your selfless service. 2. My dear teachers, thank you for choosing to be a part of this community. The futures you have remodeled can never be altered. 3. Fellow teachers, your passionate service have put these children in a position to succeed. You did an amazing job.

First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude towards the organisers for giving me the chance to deliver a speech on behalf of the entire student body on... Save Paper; 2 Page; 351 Words; NARRATIVE ESSAY AND FACTUAL ESSAY. for your favourie English teacher who is retiring . You have been asked to give a farewell speech .

1. How do you say thank you to a teacher? 2. How to write a thank you message for a teacher? 3.How do you appreciate the best teacher? Teachers and mentors are vital in shaping our lives, providing knowledge, guidance, and support along our educational journey.

100+ Thank You Teacher Messages & Quotes A great teacher is a treasure to students, parents, and the community. Express your appreciation to excellent educators with a card of thanks - shared online, texted, or printed and posted. Choose a message that suits this teacher, not just any teacher.

Speech On Appreciation Of Teachers for 1 to 2 Minute. Good morning to the honourable principal, respected teachers and loving friends and all of you present here today. I am here to express my gratitude towards my teachers by presenting my deep thoughts about them. First of All, I confess that the more I speak about my teachers, the less it ...

Experiencing gratitude is a wonderful way to improve our lives.It describes a disposition of appreciation and gratitude for all that is good in life. Science has shown that expressing our thanks to others makes us happier and more at peace with ourselves. It permits goodness to enter our life as a result. For instance, you feel glad when a ...

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Autonomy Theses Samples For Students

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Thesis On My Sister's Keeper Ethical Issues

Free thesis on critical reflective inquiry.

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A Case Study of the US, Bahrain and India (Author name) (Supervisor name)

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Good Thesis On Guiding Customers

Free thesis about the effect of bilingualism in a minority language on third language acquisition.

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The effects of bilingualism in a minority language on third language acquisition

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autonomy thesis statement

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autonomy thesis statement


  1. The Autonomy Thesis in Syntax

    autonomy thesis statement

  2. How to Write a Good Thesis Statement

    autonomy thesis statement

  3. Thesis Statement: Definition and Useful Examples of Thesis Statement

    autonomy thesis statement


    autonomy thesis statement

  5. 🎉 What is a thesis statement in an essay examples. 15 Thesis Statement

    autonomy thesis statement

  6. The Best Way to Write a Thesis Statement (with Examples)

    autonomy thesis statement


  1. How to Write a Thesis Statement in Two Minutes

  2. How to Write a STRONG Thesis Statement

  3. How to write a STRONG & CREDIBLE Thesis Statement: Step-by-step guide

  4. How to Write an Effective Thesis Statement for Your Essay

  5. Thesis Statement Formats: 3 Main Types With Examples

  6. How to write a thesis statement in 4 minutes


  1. Understanding Autonomy: An Urgent Intervention

    This thesis is fundamentally at odds with an overwhelming consensus in contemporary bioethics that the principle of respect for autonomy, while important in everyday clinical encounters, must be 'curtailed', 'constrained', or 'overridden' by other principles in times of crisis. ... This conception of autonomy leads straightforwardly ...

  2. PDF Title: The development of autonomous vehicles

    Based on theories of innovation and dominant design, the thesis will analyze the development of autonomous vehicles with a focus on the interplay between technology developers, ride-hailing service providers, and automakers.

  3. AI Thesis Statement Generator

    1. Availability heuristic: When people overestimate the importance of information that is readily available to them, they may make decisions based on incomplete or inaccurate information. A thesis statement on this topic could explore how the availability heuristic can impact decision-making in areas such as finance, marketing, and public policy.

  4. Autonomy in Moral and Political Philosophy

    Autonomy is the source of all obligations, whether moral or non-moral, since it is the capacity to impose upon ourselves, by virtue of our practical identities, obligations to act (Korsgaard 1996). Traditional critiques of autonomy-based moral views, and Kant's in particular, have been mounted along various lines.

  5. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Essay How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan. A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay. It usually comes near the end of your introduction.

  6. The Relationship Between Remote Work and Job Satisfaction: The



    autonomy support, the underlying thought behind the theoretical articulations of autonomy support refer to a deeper, more genuine way of thinking of autonomy that extends beyond means and ends, and connects with something broadly and essentially human. Although autonomy support is considered important for motivation and engagement,

  8. Stating Your Thesis

    A thesis is a statement of purpose, one to two sentences long, about your research, that is often presented at the beginning of your essay to prepare your audience for the content of your whole research paper. Your thesis is often presented at the end of your introductory paragraph or paragraphs. Your thesis statement should state your topic ...

  9. PDF The Graduate Students' Autonomy Development in A Thesis Writing Course

    The Graduate Students' Autonomy Development in A Thesis Writing Course For Postgraduate Students at EMU Funda Toprak Submitted to the ... This chapter introduces the background of the study, the problem statement and the purpose of the study, respectively. It also presents the significance of the study as

  10. PDF Learner Autonomy in Language Learning: Teachers' Beliefs

    understanding about learner autonomy and there was an alignment between teachers' beliefs and their actual teaching practices regarding learner autonomy, resulting in little evidence of learner autonomy found in any of the case study classrooms. The findings of this study will

  11. IV: The Autonomy Thesis

    This site uses cookies. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. No content on this site may be used to train artificial intelligence systems without permission in writing from the MIT Press.


    cannot rationally explain the normativity of the autonomy thesis as an internal statement of law. Third, in order to provide such an explanation, the autonomy thesis is r econceptualised as an 'internal recognitional statement' by which the ECJ asserts a normative formulation of an autonomous EU rule of recognition. Fourth, within

  13. 25 Thesis Statement Examples That Will Make Writing a Breeze

    What that means is that you can't just put any statement of fact and have it be your thesis. For example, everyone knows that puppies are cute. An ineffective thesis statement would be, "Puppies are adorable and everyone knows it." This isn't really something that's a debatable topic. Something that would be more debatable would be, "A puppy's ...

  14. Syntactic change and the autonomy thesis

    Extract. I. Despite much activity, the recent attention paid by generativists to diachronic syntax has led to no significant implications for a general theory of grammar and, from a purely historical viewpoint, has failed to focus on any well-defined concepts of historical change. The papers in this field stand largely in isolation from each ...

  15. Reproductive autonomy and the ethics of abortion

    Abortion is one of the most controversial issues in today's world. People tend to turn to the law when trying to decide what is the best possible solution to an unwanted pregnancy. Here the author's views on abortion are discussed from a lawyer's and a woman's point of view. By taking into consideration the rights of the fetus an "antagonistic relationship" between the woman and her unborn ...

  16. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    1 Brainstorm the best topic for your essay. You can't write a thesis statement until you know what your paper is about, so your first step is choosing a topic. If the topic is already assigned, great! That's all for this step. If not, consider the tips below for choosing the topic that's best for you:

  17. Nursing Autonomy Essay Sample

    Thesis Statement of Nursing Autonomy Essay. Autonomy in nursing is very important to take certain independent decisions by the Nurses. It could be a life-saving step for the patient in the medical science profession to give Autonomy to the nurse. Introduction of Nursing Autonomy Essay.

  18. 12 Argumentative Thesis Statement Examples

    These argumentative thesis statement examples are meant to serve as possible inspiration-don't use them verbatim. That would be plagiarism, and besides, it would rob the world of your unique thoughts about the issues at hand. Look at each example and note what they have in common-each states a clear position on a given issue and then ...

  19. PDF Understanding Mental Health Care Use and Outcomes Among Individuals

    vulnerable populations. In this thesis, I studied mental health care use and outcomes among individuals with reduced access to care, focusing specifically on individuals who are transgender, gender diverse, or living with serious mental illness. Chapter 1 characterized the health status of privately insured gender minority (i.e.,

  20. Essays on Autonomy

    1 Autonomy as an Important Concept by Theodor W. Adorno 7 pages / 3362 words Autonomy, a word, a concept to ponder, a basic human right and one of the principles of bioethics, a concept tangible and with such real power that creates a wide social impact on our contemporary society. (John.M. Last, 2007). Autonomy is a compound word deriving...

  21. autonomy thesis statement

    Creating a thesis statement can be a daunting task. It's one of the most important sentences in your paper, and it needs to be done right. But don't worry — with these five easy steps, you'll be able to create an effective thesis statement ..... Writing a thesis statement can be one of the most challenging parts of writing an essay. A thesis statement is a sentence that summarizes the ...

  22. Autonomy Thesis Examples That Really Inspire

    Thesis On My Sister's Keeper Ethical Issues. Jodi Picoult's novel, My Sister's Keeper, introduces many complex themes such as ethical dilemmas, medical autonomy and justice. The story introduces Anna Fitzgerald, a thirteen year old girl, as the protagonist. Anna wishes to sue her parents for medical emancipation as Anna's parents expect ...

  23. Autonomy Thesis Statement

    We also encourage you to support Ukraine in its defense of democracy by donating at #StandWithUkraine. Autonomy Thesis Statement, Resumix Resume Examples, Emergency Case Study Nursing, Why Africa Is Poor Essay, Glory Of Womanhood Essay, Essay About Greatest Inventions, Model Literary Essay. Toll free 1 (888)499-5521 1 (888)814-4206.