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The Feel Good Curriculum

The Feel-Good Curriculum: The Dumbing-Down of America’s Kids in the Name of Self-Esteem

In this book, author and education professor Maureen Stout gives a much-needed examination of some very significant changes that have taken place in the education system. These changes are the result of the self-esteem movement that seems to be taking over the school curriculums and other areas of culture as well. So many new trends and theories have been popping up that are all related to this movement, from emotional intelligence to Ebonics to Howard Gardner’s theories of multiple intelligences, which Stout examines in this book.

In The Feel-Good Curriculum: The Dumbing Down of America’s Kids in the Name of Self-Esteem, Stout delves into the history of how this self-esteem movement came to be, and why it’s ultimately detrimental to our children’s learning curve. She explains how schools have become more of a grounds for therapy than quality education nowadays, and condemns the styles in which the teachers have been trained to systematically push self-esteem in every area of their instruction to our children, from the school curriculum to the class environment. Stout explains how as a result of the self-esteem obsession, our children are underachieving and lacking true confidence that comes from actually putting in the work and earning the rewards.

Stout also offers practical solutions in The Feel Good Curriculum. She identifies four effects that stem from self-esteem’s infiltration of our school system: narcissism, emotivism, separatism, and cynicism. Then, Stout prescribes four concepts that should be used to replace these effects and restore our children’s education back to what it should be: a system that produces effective and strong adults that know the value of hard work, are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and are prepared to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

About the Author

Maureen Stout is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the California State University, Northridge. She resides in Los Angeles, and also wrote Teaching and Learning Outside the Box: Inspiring Imagination Across the Curriculum.


Library Journal:

“A passionately argued and fluidly written attack on contemporary education philosophy.”

children's education, emotional intelligence, school system, self esteem