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Happiness and Education

Happiness and Education

  • Date Published: November 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521807630


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About the Authors
  • When parents are asked what they want for their children, they usually answer that they want their children to be happy. Why, then, is happiness rarely mentioned as an aim of education? This book explores what we might teach if we were to take happiness seriously as an aim of education. It asks, first, what it means to be happy and, second, how we can help children to understand what happiness is. It notes that, to be truly happy, we have to develop a capacity for unhappiness and a willingness to alleviate the suffering of others. Criticizing the present almost exclusive emphasis on economic well-being and pleasure, it discusses the contributions of making a home, parenting, cherishing a place, development of character, interpersonal growth, finding work that one loves, and participating in a democratic way of life. Finally, it explores ways in which to make schools and classrooms happy places.

    • Author is major figure; her previous books had very high sales
    • Fresh approach in this era of high-stakes testing
    • Complex ideas are presented in highly accessible way
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Nel Noddings' beautiful book, Happiness and Education, is an incandescent joy to read. The educational landscape of the past ten years would be a very different one if voices as humane and wise as hers had been more widely heard. I have been hungering for a book like this and am grateful to Nel Noddings for providing it.' Jonathan Kozol, author of Savage Inequalitites and Ordinary Resurrections

    'Noddings' thesis and argument that happiness and education not only can but should coexist must be taken seriously by everyone concerned about preparing children and young adults for a truly satisfying life in our democratic society.' Catholic Library World

    'Happiness and Education is ultimately a critique of American culture, not just its educational system. But Noddings shows how the narrow curriculum found in most classrooms helps shape a culture with some misguided priorities. Perhaps today's educational leaders would benefit from reading her book and exercising some critical thinking of their own.' Greater Good

    'The most important and influential philosopher on the concept of caring in education, Noddings beautifully synthesizes her admirable corpus in this new book … In sum, reading Noddings is akin to earning a condensed, invigorating form of liberal education in philosophy, psychology, literature, and theology. Highly recommended.' Choice

    'The result is a thesis that can offer all those who work with young people the opportunity to re-evaluate the nature of children's educational experiences and how these can impact on later experiences in life.' The Psychologist

    '[Noddings'] book should be required reading for anyone interested in education and politicians should be made to read it and pass an appropriate test before they are ever let loose on any of our educational institutions. There is a substantial rage of good references to allow the interested reader to pursue the debate, and many of these seem to have been chosen also for their ability to interest and engage the reader. The book is highly recommended as a stimulating read for anyone interested in education or working with children and young people. However, the book has a much wider importance than this. It is a humane, wise and invigorating reminder of the older and broader question of how we ought to live. It is also written in a style that encourages enjoyment and celebrates learning for its own sake.' Youth & Policy

    'this is a revolutionary book. If educators were to accept its premise and be guided by its arguments, those involved in educating children and youth would have to dramatically rethink what they need and want to accomplish with their students. they would restructure what they do in the class room, not only the content but also the interactions they have with students.' American Journal of Psychology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2003
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521807630
    • length: 318 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.64kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Happiness as an Aim of Life and Education:
    1. Happiness
    2. Suffering and unhappiness
    3. Needs and wants
    4. The aims of education
    Part II. Educating for Personal Life:
    5. Making a home
    6. Places and nature
    7. Parenting
    8. Character and spirituality
    9. Interpersonal growth
    Part III. Educating for Public Life:
    10. Preparing for work
    11. Community, democracy, and service
    12. Happiness in schools and classrooms

  • Author

    Nel Noddings, Stanford University, California
    Nel Noddings is Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, Emerita, at Stanford University. She is author of 12 books; the latest two are Educating Moral People: A Caring Alternative to Character Education and Starting at Home: Caring and Social Policy, both published in 2002. Noddings spent 15 years as teacher, administrator, and curriculum developer in public schools; she served as Director of the Laboratory Schools at the University of Chicago. At Stanford, she received the Award for Teaching Excellence three times, most recently in 1997. She is member of the National Academy of Education, a Laureate member of Kappa Delta Pi, and she holds two honorary degrees in addition to a number of awards, among them the Anne Rowe Award for contributions to the education of women (Harvard University), the Willystine Goodsell Award (AERA), a Lifetime Achievement Award from AERA (Div. B), and the Excellence in Education Award (Pi Lambda Theta).

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