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 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.

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