Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a powerful educational approach which has been developed over 40 years, and is practised in over 60 countries. UK studies showed that children participating in P4C experienced improvements in literacy and numeracy. Teachers reported that the dialogues promoted by P4C were effective in improving communication and conflict resolution across diverse pupil groups. In P4C, children develop their own questions in response to a given stimulus, enquiring thoughtfully, and collaboratively, as a group guided by the facilitator. Through reflection on their thoughts and participation, they suggest how they could improve on their learning (skills and content) next time.
How does it work?
A P4C full-fat enquiry follows a ten step plan:
1- Getting Started. A warm up exercise or game (e.g Philosophers’ Fruit Salad.)
2- A Stimulus. For example, a short film, a story book, an image or an object.
3- Thinking Time. Private thinking time for each student followed by small group discussion.
4- Question Making. Each group chooses a philosophical question they’d like to enquire about, based on the stimulus.
5- Question Airing. Students read their questions aloud and place them in the centre of the room. Students can physically move the questions around to show how different questions may be linked or connected.
6- Question Choosing. The community votes on which question to use for their enquiry.
7- First Thoughts. The students who framed the chosen question get an opportunity to explain what prompted their question.
8- Building. The discussion starts, it follows its own path guided by the students’ thoughts and ideas, agreeing and disagreeing, but always giving a reason for their point of view.
9- Last Thoughts. Everyone has an opportunity to comment on the question
10-Review. The community reflects on the success of the enquiry and suggests possible ways of improving their practice.
At each stage of this process GalwayP4C uses its expertise in the classroom, in the university and with thinkers of all ages to create resources that support fruitful philosophical thinking and diverse communities of enquiry.
-Encourages learning through dialogue
-Creates a community of enquiry that settle disputes themselves
-Teaches children to ‘disagree without being disagreeable’
-Extend beyond the scope of the children’s experience
-Make your child read Plato