Cover image for Happiness and education
Happiness and education
Noddings, Nel.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
vii, 308 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LB41 .N55 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



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 a goal of education? This book explores what we might teach if we were to take happiness seriously as a goal of education. It asks, first, what it means to be happy and, second, how we can help children to understand it. It notes that we have to develop a capacity for unhappiness and a willingness to alleviate the suffering of others to be truly happy. Criticizing our current almost exclusive emphasis on economic well-being and pleasure, Nel Noddings discusses the contributions of making a home, parenting, cherishing a place, the development of character, interpersonal growth, finding work that one loves, and participating in a democratic way of life. Finally, she explores ways in which to make schools and classrooms cheerful places. Nell Noddings is Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, Emerita, at Stanford University. She is past president of the Philosophy of Education Society and of the John Dewey Society. In addition to twelve books, she is the author of more than 170 articles and chapters on various topics ranging from the ethics of care to mathematical problem solving. Her latest books are Starting at Home: Caring and Social Policy (University of California Press) and Educating Moral People: A Caring Alternative to Character Education (Teachers College Press), both published in 2002.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The most important and influential philosopher on the concept of caring in education, Noddings (Stanford Univ.) beautifully synthesizes her admirable corpus in this new book. Moving beyond A.S. Neill's libertarian approach to the role of happiness in education, she sensitively scrutinizes that aim in terms of personal and public life, including schools, in broad yet careful strokes. Noddings treats happiness in more communitarian fashion, seeking to prepare youth for interpersonal growth and global citizenship. Her comprehensive perspective encompasses suffering, the distinction between needs and wants, concern for a sense of place, nurturant parenting, moral character and spiritual development, vocation, democracy, and service. In sum, reading Noddings is akin to earning a condensed, invigorating form of liberal education in philosophy, psychology, literature, and theology. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduate collections and above. J. L. DeVitis University of Louisville

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