P4C and the curriculum
There is a popular approach to doing philosophy with children that involves presenting a stimulus (often a picture book), having the children formulate questions, gathering and sorting the questions and then having the children vote on a question to discuss. There can be great value in this student-centred approach to discussions, however it can make doing P4C in the curriculum more difficult. The reason for this is that, according to the principles of a standard P4C Community of Inquiry in the UK, the children significantly determine the direction of the discussion. So, if you’ve chosen the picture book Elmer by David McKee because you want the class to explore the notion of ‘difference’, there is always the danger that the children will focus on a completely different theme with the question that they vote on or that they naturally move towards during the discussion, such as…
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World Philosophy Day is here again on Thursday 19th November.
Download free lesson plans from our website to inspire your classes; don a beret or a beard and get thinking!
In Peter Worley’s latest book, 40 lessons to get children thinking (one for every week of the school year, plus a spare, because philosophy isn’t just for a day!), he wants to inspire young thinkers to become philosophers.
The downloadable appendix ‘Be a philosopher‘ can be handed out to your classes to help them do just that. He suggests:
- Drink ‘n’ Think: Pour yourself a drink: a cup of tea, a cup of coffee or your favourite soft drink. Sit down somewhere comfortable and drink the drink slowly, thinking only about one chosen question for as long as it takes you to finish your drink. Talking to yourself out loud is permitted.
- Thought ‘n’ Talk: Find someone (a teacher – if they have time, a friend or family member) who is willing to spend five or more minutes discussing a chosen question with you. Read them the question and then discuss it together.
- Write ‘n’ Reason: Take a piece of paper (or your philosopher’s notebook) and write your chosen question at the top of a clean page. Either simply free-write (just write what comes into your head) in answer to the question or, if you prefer, use the structure suggested in the attached document.This ties in with a previous article written by Peter on Innovate My School: improving writing through dialogue
In Be a philosopher you will find the writing structure and some suggested questions – of course, you can always come up with your own philosophical questions to ponder.
The Philosophy Foundation this year is running an event at the Mercers’ Company on Friday 20th November in celebration of World Philosophy Day – we have children from some of our London schools ready to run philosophy sessions with other students in a ‘Philosophical Agora’, plus we will be running philosophy sessions with all 150 students at this sold out event.
And join us on Saturday 21st November at Conway Hall for the third annual Philosophy Now Festival. We are running sessions for young philosophers aged 4-7 and 8-14. Our sessions are nearly sold out, but there are plenty of other philosophical adventures happening all day, and the award ceremony for the Contribution to the Fight Against Stupidity, this year won by Cressida Cowell.