Teaching for Purpose

Teaching for Purpose Preparing Students for Lives of Meaning

Heather Malin
paper, 272 Pages
Pub. Date: October 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-257-7
Price: $34.00

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Pub. Date: October 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-259-1

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In Teaching for Purpose, Heather Malin explores the idea of purpose as the purpose of education and shows how educators can prepare youth to live intentional, fulfilling lives. The book highlights the important role that purpose—defined as “a future-directed goal that is personally meaningful and aimed at contributing to something larger than the self”—plays in optimal youth development and in motivating students to promote the cognitive and noncognitive skills that teachers want to instill.


Teaching for Purpose offers educators practical ways to carry out what is possibly the most important part of their work: seeing the humanity in their students by acknowledging and encouraging their hopes and dreams, and then helping them to develop the skills and confidence for putting those hopes and dreams into action. — Vicki Zakrzewski, education director, Greater Good Science Center, University of California at Berkeley

It is no small feat for many of us to find our own purpose let alone to teach and to cultivate it in others. That's why this deeply wise, practical, wonderful book is so welcome. Malin makes a powerful case for putting purpose at the heart of schooling, and gives us exactly the road map we need for enabling children to develop  meaningful, humane, and thriving lives. — Richard Weissbourd, senior lecturer in education and faculty director, Making Caring Common, Harvard Graduate School of Education

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About the Author

Heather Malin is the director of research at the Stanford University Center on Adolescence, where she conducts research on diverse aspects of purpose development. She has published articles in academic journals on adolescent purpose development, youth civic engagement, artistic development, and purpose among young entrepreneurs. Her career in developmental psychology and education spans over twenty years, during which she taught elementary school, taught art to children through community-based programs, provided professional development programs for teachers, evaluated art education in Alameda County and academic programs provided by nonprofit organizations, and was an instructor for the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP), where she taught art education to preservice teachers and served as a new teacher mentor. She holds a PhD from Stanford Graduate School of Education and an MA from Teachers College Columbia University, and she received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Table of Contents


Blog Post: "Teaching Purpose for Resilience and Flourishing"

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