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Kerry Howells

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Kerry Howells

Kerry Howells

Senior Lecturer, Curriculum and Pedagogy

Room 516, Hytten Hall, Sandy Bay Campus

+61 3 6226 2567 (phone)

+61 3 6226 2569 (fax)

Kerry.Howells@utas.edu.au

Kerry Howells is a Senior Lecturer in Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education where she teaches in the Masters of Teaching and the Bachelor of Education programs in the areas of professional studies, practitioner research, teacher leadership, and gratitude. She has developed a unique approach to teaching, learning and leading which advocates the role that gratitude can play in student engagement and teacher effectiveness. As a philosopher of education, Kerry also researches the dilemmas of the recent emphasis on gratitude in other fields, when considered within complex, stressful and pluralistic educational contexts.

Biography

Dr Howells has been teaching in various university contexts for the past two decades. Before taking up her position at the University of Tasmania in 2006, she was Director of Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Commerce and Economics at the University of New South Wales and lecturer in the UNSW Graduate Certificate of University Learning and Teaching. From 1991 to 2001 Kerry was a lecturer in philosophy and learning strategies at Bond University.
Dr Howells has applied her approach on the potential of gratitude in enhancing teaching and learning to many teaching and leadership roles and in invited presentations at ten different universities and seven schools in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, many of which have participated in her research on the role of gratitude in education.  Kerry was awarded the Faculty of Education Research Award in 2014 in acknowledgement of the national and international impact of her research on gratitude. Kerry was also a 2014 TILT Fellow, where she was involved in creating communities of practice that focus on book clubs where UTAS academics from a wide variety of faculties read and discussed her book, Gratitude in Education: A Radical View, and the role of gratitude in enhancing the student experience.

Career summary

Qualifications

  • PhD (2001) 'A state of preparedness: An exploration of the relationship between thinking and being in university education', University of Sydney, Australia
  • GradCert University Teaching and Learning (2005), University of New South Wales, Australia
  • DipEd (1983), University of Sydney, Australia
  • BA (Hons) (1980) 'If chimpanzees could speak: A philosophical analysis of the role of speech', Macquarie University, Australia

Memberships

Professional practice

  • World Educational Research Association
  • European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction
  • European Educational Research Association
  • International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  • International Positive Psychology Association

Administrative expertise

  • Managing large projects relating to university teaching and learning
  • Managing large units of teaching as unit coordinator
  • Leading diverse groups of academics as a Director of Learning and Teaching in a large university faculty

Teaching

Professional Studies; Teacher Leadership; Practitioner Research; Gratitude in Education; Reflective practice

Teaching expertise

Dr Howells has been a leader in the development and implementation of integrated curricula and resources both at UTAS and other universities. Since her commencement at UTAS in 2006, she been unit coordinator for six different units, including Foundations of Teaching, Preparing for the Profession, and Practitioner Research. 

Dr Howells has received eleven teaching awards since her commencement at UTAS, including a UTAS Teaching Excellence award and three national awards - most recently the 2013 OLT award for Programs that Enhance Learning and Teaching. These awards acknowledge Kerry's expertise in leading and developing programs and units of work that incorporate innovative strategies to facilitate student engagement.

Teaching responsibility

Kerry coordinates and teaches in the following units:

Research Invitations

  • United Nations, New York, for the NGO Spirituality. Values and Global Concerns
  • Positive Schools Conferences: Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney
  • TEDx, Launceston
  • Mind and its Potential, Sydney
  • Transpersonal Psychology Conference, Bali
  • Tasmanian Primary Principals' Conference
  • Australian Primary Principals Conference
  • Presbyterian Ladies College (PLC) Sydney, Opera House Speech Day address
  • Visiting Scholar, University of South Africa, Pretoria
  • Teacher Education Conference, University of South Africa
  • Restorative Practices Group, Hobart
  • Festival of Teaching, Australian National University, Canberra
  • Teaching and Learning Unit, University of New South Wales
  • Batchelor Institute, Charles Darwin University
  • Faculty of Education, University of South Australia
  • Faculty of Education, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand

View more on Dr Kerry Howells in WARP

Expertise

Dr Howells has published academic papers that report on the findings of her research on the role of gratitude in the areas of school leadership, pre-service teacher education, and school education. Her book, Howells, K. (2012) Gratitude in Education: A Radical View outlines an exploration of the meaning and role of gratitude when it is placed in different contexts, and furthers our understanding of both the complexities and possibilities of gratitude for both education and other fields. This book has been at the centre of 14 book clubs initiated by separate groups of school principals, teachers, and academics.

Kerry works mainly in the area of qualitative research using methods of case study, ethnography and narrative inquiry. She has conducted her research in schools and universities nationally and internationally. Many working in the fields of Positive Education and Positive Psychology use her work to further their understanding of the concept of gratitude and its place in enhancing resilience, wellbeing and social connection.

In the area of teacher education, Kerry's scholarship of learning and teaching encompasses a range of topics including: epistemological beliefs of pre-service teachers; first-year university experience; technology in teacher education; mentorship; and school-university partnerships.

Research Themes

Kerry's research aligns to the University's research theme of Creativity, Culture and Society. Her research focuses on the particular way in which the notion of 'gratitude' can be conceptualised and applied in the educational context. There is burgeoning academic interest in a number of disciplines in the role gratitude can play in enhancing our relational and personal wellbeing, with over 638 academic articles counted from 1999 to 2011, and hundreds more since. Dr Howells is one of the first in the world to investigate the role of gratitude in enhancing educational outcomes and the first to have demonstrated that it has a powerful place to play in teaching effectiveness. Presenting it as a 'gift paradigm' where teachers and students reflect on what they receive in the process of education and how they can give back, Kerry contends that gratitude is a powerful alternative to the 'exchange paradigm' and accompanying resentment that currently dominates many educational processes and relationships. In the course of this research Kerry has provided extensive philosophical analysis of the term 'gratitude' when considered in the context of education.

Dr Howells has published several academic papers that report on the findings of her research on the role of gratitude in the areas of school leadership, pre-service teacher education, and school education. Her book, Howells, K. (2012) Gratitude in Education: A Radical View is the first full text to be written on this topic, and has been hailed by reviewers around the world as 'ground-breaking'. Kerry draws on a range of case studies in different levels of education – from primary to university – to outline a phenomenology of gratitude when it is placed in different contexts, and furthers our understanding of both the complexities and possibilities of gratitude for both education and other fields. Many in the field of Positive Psychology have been using this text in their practice and teaching courses. In her most recent work, Kerry has been exploring the implications for education of cultural differences in expressions of gratitude. She has conducted her investigation in the areas of Australian Aboriginal and Maori cultures, and following on from her time as a visiting scholar at the University of South Africa in 2014, in indigenous African culture. In June 2015 Kerry was invited by an NGO to speak at the United Nations on the relationship between gratitude and human dignity.

Collaboration

Kerry is currently working with scholars at the University of South Africa, Pretoria, where research is being conducted on the role of gratitude in low socio-economic black South African regional schools in the Mpalanga district.

Awards

  • 2014 Faculty of Education Research Award
  • 2012-2015 Faculty of Education Research Merit Certificate

Current projects

  •  An exploration of the role of gratitude in enhancing the relationships between PhD students and their supervisors (a collaborative project with Professor Michael Breadmore and Dr Rosanne Guijt – to investigate the effectiveness of gratitude with PhD students from the Faculty of …(with a forthcoming jointly-written journal article).
  • The role of book clubs as a process to enable the development of a Community of Practice
  • The role of gratitude in facilitating effective school leadership 
  • An exploration of the differences between African and Australian indigenous notions of gratitude and western notions of gratitude, and the implications for education (a collaborative project with Dr Vussy Nkonyone, University of South Africa).
  • Investigation of how gratitude can enhance restorative practice and justice processes
  • Investigation of the place gratitude may have in transpersonal psychology

Fields of Research

  • Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators (130313)
  • Higher Education (130103)
  • Specialist Studies in Education (130399)
  • Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
  • Education (139999)
  • Educational Technology and Computing (130306)
  • Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy (130201)
  • Education Assessment and Evaluation (130303)
  • Technical, Further and Workplace Education (130108)
  • Special Education and Disability (130312)
  • Sport and Exercise Psychology (170114)
  • Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development (130202)
  • Education Systems (130199)
  • Comparative and Cross-Cultural Education (130302)
  • Educational Administration, Management and Leadership (130304)

Research Objectives

  • Teacher and Instructor Development (930202)
  • Education and Training Systems (930599)
  • Moral and Social Development (incl. Affect) (930104)
  • Learner and Learning Achievement (930101)
  • Management and Leadership of Schools/Institutions (930401)
  • Pedagogy (930201)
  • Education and Training Systems Policies and Development (930501)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education (939901)
  • Learner Development (930103)
  • Learner and Learning Processes (930102)
  • Education and Training Theory and Methodology (939902)
  • School/Institution Community and Environment (930402)
  • Learner and Learning (930199)

Publications

The past two decades of Kerry's research on gratitude in many educational contexts have culminated in a book publication, Howells, K. (2012) Gratitude in education: A radical view (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers). This is the first full text to ever be devoted to the topic. Research outcomes have also been reported within the context of university students (Howells, 2001, 2004b, 2004c); school leaders (Howells 2009, 2013b); high school teachers (Howells 2007, 2013a, 2014a); pre-service teachers (Howells & Cumming, 2012); and indigenous education (Howells 2014b).  In the field of education, publications in professional journals are considered to be of worthy importance as they have a higher impact in reaching practitioners in the field. Kerry's publications in such journals (Howells, 2007, 2009, 2013a, 2013b) have exemplified this approach.

Kerry's second area of research relates to teacher education where my scholarship of learning and teaching encompasses a range of topics including: epistemological beliefs of pre-service teachers (Watson et al, 2009); first-year university experience (Howells, 2003, 2004a); technology in teacher education (2007), and school-university partnerships (Allen, Howells & Radford, 2013).

Total publications

26

Journal Article

(11 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2017Howells K, Stafford KE, Guijt R, Breadmore M, 'The role of gratitude in enhancing the relationship between doctoral research students and their supervisors', Teaching in Higher Education, 22, (6) pp. 621-638. ISSN 1356-2517 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2016.1273212 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Stafford KE; Guijt R; Breadmore M

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2016Howells K, Fitzallen N, Adams C, 'Using assessment to develop social responsibility as a graduate attribute in teacher education', Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 41, (6) pp. 52-67. ISSN 0313-5373 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.14221/ajte.2016v41n6.4 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Fitzallen N; Adams C

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2014Howells K, 'Exploring cultural diversity through the lens of the practice of gratitude in education', The International Journal of Diversity in Education, 13, (2) pp. 41-52. ISSN 2327-0020 (2014) [Refereed Article]

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2014Howells K, 'An exploration of the role of gratitude in enhancing teacher-student relationships', Teaching and Teacher Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies, 42, (August) pp. 58-67. ISSN 0742-051X (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.tate.2014.04.004 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 9Web of Science - 12

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2013Allen JM, Howells K, Radford R, 'A 'Partnership in Teaching Excellence': ways in which one school-university partnership has fostered teacher development', Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 41, (1) pp. 99-110. ISSN 1359-866X (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/1359866X.2012.753988 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 8

Co-authors: Allen JM

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2013Howells KM, 'The role of gratitude in helping school leaders strengthen relationships', Perspectives on educational leadership, 6 pp. 1-3. ISSN 1448-0476 (2013) [Professional, Non Refereed Article]

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2013Howells KM, 'Enhancing teacher relationships and effectiveness through the practice of gratitude', Teachers Matter pp. 58-59. ISSN 1990-1496 (2013) [Professional, Non Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

2012Howells K, Cumming J, 'Exploring the role of gratitude in the professional experience of pre-service teachers', Teaching Education, 23, (1) pp. 71-88. ISSN 1047-6210 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/10476210.2011.638370 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7

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2009Howells KM, 'Strengthening relationships and resilience through gratitude', Principal Matters, 80, (Spring) pp. 2-7. ISSN 1322-2481 (2009) [Professional, Non Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

2009Walker S, Brownlee J, Lennox S, Exley B, Howells K, et al., 'Understanding first year university students: personal epistemology and learning', Teaching Education, 20, (3) pp. 243-256. ISSN 1047-6210 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/10476210802559350 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 12

Co-authors: Cocker F

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2007Howells KM, 'Practising Gratitude to Enhance Teaching and Learning', Education Connect, 1, (8) pp. 2-16. ISSN 0011-3565 (2007) [Professional, Non Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Book

(1 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2012Howells K, 'Gratitude in education: A radical view', Sense Publishers, United Kingdom, pp. 170. ISBN 978-94-6091-812-4 (2012) [Authored Research Book]

[eCite] [Details]

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Chapter in Book

(4 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2017Howells KM, 'The use of dialogical inquiry to acknowledge diversity when researching gratitude in indigenous cultures', SAGE Research Methods Cases, Sage Publications Inc, United Kingdom, pp. 1-15. ISBN 9781473997851 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.4135/9781473997851 [eCite] [Details]

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2015Howells KM, 'Researching the place of gratitude in the personal domain of the educator: Tales from the field', Mainstreams, Margins and the Spaces In-between: New possibilities for education research, Routledge, K. Trimmer, A. Black & S. Riddle (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 36-49. ISBN 9781138021389 (2015) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

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2007Howells KM, 'PowerPoint: Friend or Foe?', Technology and Teaching, Nova Science Publishers, Jeff Sigafoos, Vanessa Green (ed), New York, pp. 137-145. ISBN 978-1-60021-699-2 (2007) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

2007Howells KM, Mason C, 'A Multi-layered Approach to a University Tutor Training Program', UNSW Compendium of Good Practice in Learning and Teaching, UNSW, UNSW (ed), Sydney, pp. 31-52. ISBN 978 0 7334 2444 1 (2007) [Other Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

Conference Publication

(7 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2014Howells KM, Nash RE, Williams Danielle, Jones Colin, 'Reading and reflecting together as a community of practice through participation in a book club', Teaching Matters 2014 - 'Spaces and Places', 2 December 2014, Tasmania (2014) [Keynote Presentation]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Nash RE; Williams Danielle; Jones Colin

2013Howells KM, 'How thanking awakens our thinking', http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/How-Thanking-Awakens-Our-Thinki, 6 December 2013, Launceston, Tasmania, pp. 1. (2013) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

2008Fitzallen NE, Brown NR, Booth SL, Howells KM, 'Transforming Professional Practice: What Profiling Tells Us', AARE 2007 Conference Proceedings, 25-29 November 2007, Fremantle EJ (2008) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Fitzallen NE; Brown NR

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2007Howells KM, Booth S, Brown NR, Fitzallen NE, Satterthwait DR, 'The enhancement of generic attributes through assessment tasks and reflective learning', Teaching Matters 2007: Showcasing Innovation, Friday 30th November, Hobart Tasmania EJ (2007) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Booth S; Brown NR; Fitzallen NE; Satterthwait DR

2007Howells KM, Mason CM, 'Attending to Self-Management in a University Tutor Development Program', ISSOTL, 2-5 July 2007, The University of NSW ISBN 0-908557-72-8 (2007) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

2004Howells KM, 'The role of gratitude in higher education', Research and Development in Higher Education, July 2004, Malaysia, pp. 164-173. (2004) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

2004Howells KM, 'Facilitating a smoother transition to University by asking students the right questions', Continutiy and Change:Transitions in Education, November 2004, Sydney, pp. CD ROM. ISBN 1741080711 (2004) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Contract Report, Consultant's Report

(1 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2017Howells KM, 'Enhancement of gratitude in the context of elite athletes', Australian Institute of Sport, Launceston, Tasmania (2017) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Other Public Output

(2 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2017Howells K, Gibson M, 'The role of gratitude in the development of Early Childhood educators and leaders', The role of gratitude in the development of Early Childhood educators and leaders., Anglican Schools Commission, Australia, pp. 1-33. (2017) [Government or Industry Research]

[eCite] [Details]

2017Howells KM, 'Enhancing relationships through gratitude in the early childhood context', Reflections, Gowrie Australia, Hobart, Tasmania, 2017, 5, pp. 1-2. (2017) [Magazine Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants

5

Total funding

$70,096

Projects

The role of gratitude in High Performance Sport (2018)$7,500
Description
This project builds on two decades of research that investigates the role of gratitude in learning, teaching and leadership. Outcomes within this context show that gratitude has an important role to play in enhancing social and emotional wellbeing as well as building on teacher and learner effectiveness. Although there has been a burgeoning body of research on the role of gratitude in other fields, little investigation has taken place in the area of sport.
Funding
Tasmanian Institute of Sport ($7,500)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Howells KM
Year
2018
The role of gratitude in the development of Early Childhood educators (2017)$52,978
Description
This is pioneering work where the application of gratitude will be investigated in a new context: leadership in Early Childhood settings. The project is a collaboration between Dr Kerry Howells at the University of Tasmania, Dr Megan Gibson from Queensland University of Technology and the Anglican Schools Commission in Brisbane. A group of 16 participants from a range of different Early Childhood contexts in the Queensland Anglican Schools precinct, will be taken through a six-month program where they are being introduced to Howells (2012, 2014, 2016) conceptual framework. They will identify gratitude practices that they implement in the course of the project and then using action research, will report on the outcomes and challenges in the areas of the development of self-efficacy and enhancing relationships.
Funding
Corporation of the Synod of the Diocese of Brisbane ($52,978)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Howells KM
Year
2017
The role of gratitude in Olympic sport (2016)$4,600
Description
At the invitation of the Australian Institute of Sport, this project aims to investigate the perceptions and expressions of gratitude amongst a select group of 14 Olympians and Para-Olympians from a range of different sports. A one-day workshop will be delivered in Melbourne on October 19th 2016, where the athletes will be introduced to the background research of gratitude and invited to explore strategies to express gratitude to those who have supported them in their Olympic journey. Perceived challenges to expressing gratitude in this context will also be explored, as well as gratitude practices that the athletes can apply after the workshop
Funding
Australian Institute of Sport ($4,600)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Howells KM
Year
2016
Gratitude in Education (2013)$3,518
Funding
Penbank School ($3,518)
Scheme
Consultancy
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Howells KM
Year
2013
International Conference on Diversity in Organisations, Communitites and Nations, Darwin, NT (2013)$1,500
Funding
University of Tasmania ($1,500)
Scheme
Grant-Conference Support Scheme
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Howells KM
Year
2013

Research Supervision

Dr Howells' research area of gratitude is a burgeoning field, where many around the world are investigating the place of gratitude to enhance our emotional and social wellbeing. Although most of the applications of this research are conducted in the field of Positive Psychology, she is demonstrating through her research that there is an important role to be played by philosophical explorations of the dilemmas posed by recommending the application of gratitude in complex and secular educational environments. Dr Howells welcomes students who would like to take up projects in either the conceptual exploration or application of gratitude in any field.

Dr Howells is currently supervising one PhD student who is investigating the role of gratitude in community building. Two of her honours students have completed theses on gratitude – one in relation to how gratitude is experienced and described by twelve-year old students and the other in relation to gratitude in the context of pre-service teaching. Dr Howells is currently investigating the possibility of applying gratitude to end-of-life care for cancer patients and also in the role of gratitude in enhancing the supervisor-student relationship. She is now primary supervisor for five HDR students and has successfully supervised to graduation one PhD student and one Masters of Education student.

Current

4

Completed

3

Current

DegreeTitleCommenced
PhDLearning to Teach about Teaching: How mentors and colleague teachers come to understand their role as teachers of teaching2014
PhDThe Role of Gratitude Practice in the Education of Medical Practitioners in the Field of Oncology2015
MastersEngaging Students with Presence - A study of the elements of teacher presence and its influence on student engagement in learning2015
PhDGratitude in Nursing (Education): Dilemmas and Possibilities2016

Completed

DegreeTitleCompleted
MastersSilent, Invisible and Under-supported? An autoethnographic journey through the valley of the shadow and youth mental health in Australia
Candidate: Anne Alexandra Hugo
2017
PhDAll give and no take? Social Change, Suburban Life and the Possibilities of Sharing in Australia
Candidate: Millie Rooney
2014
MastersWhat Impact Does The Implementation of School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support Have on Teachers' Perception of Their Efficacy, Attribution of Problem Behaviour and Their Perceived Capacity to Influence General School Climate?
Candidate: Louise Mary O'Kelly
2010