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Philosophy for children advice

Discussion in 'Primary' started by jsjw, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. Hi
    I am starting to teach philosophyafter christmas to year 5 and 6. I have not been trained so am startingfrom nothing really. If anyone has any advic, planning, resources, stimulus for sessions they would be much appreciated.
    Thank you in advance.
  2. Hi
    I am starting to teach philosophyafter christmas to year 5 and 6. I have not been trained so am startingfrom nothing really. If anyone has any advic, planning, resources, stimulus for sessions they would be much appreciated.
    Thank you in advance.
  3. Hiya
    I have uploaded a couple of starter resources for P4C to the TES resources bit. They should come up if you search for P4C or philosophy. Let me know if not and I'll see if I can find a link to them.
  4. Check out SAPERE website.
  5. Thanks anymore advice help appreciated.
  6. DFC

    DFC New commenter

    The first time I tried P4C, I found that the children couldn't produce a discussion question. Everything they came up with had essentially a 'yes' or 'no' answer.
    I would suggest putting up a photograph of something emotive, eg. a starving child / flooding / green issue and asking small groups of children to write down 3 things they would like to discuss about the picture / scene etc..
    Then ask them to pick the most important from the 3.
    Collect the questions and write them on the board. Use this time to discuss what sort of question you need for a discussion. Eliminate the yes / no ones or show children how to turn yes / no questions into a discussion question.
    Allow children time to evaluate each question and take a vote for the question they would most like to discuss as a class. (I always say they cannot vote for their own.)
    In small groups I then ask them to come up with at least 3 reasons to support the issue and three reasons against, otherwise they don't look at both sides of the argument. (Or use the thinking hats and give each group a different hat so they do look at different perspectives.)
    Have a class discuss / hold a formal debate / use the ideas to write a balanced argument / use one set of ideas for persuasive writing (can do twice from both sides of the issue) etc. Or anything else that springs to mind!
    I hope this helps.
  7. DFC

    DFC New commenter

    A class discuss.... perhaps a discussion as well!
  8. If you haven't read it try and get your hands on a copy of 'But Why? Teacher's Manual: Developing Philosophical Thinking in the Classroom' by Sara Stanley. Although some of it is more key stage one focused I still think you would find it a useful guide as it is one of the best for giving step by step advice on how to construct a session and gives a list of useful resources.
  9. BTW it is available on amazon.co.uk
  10. It is an enormous ask to expect children to come up with a philosophical question during their first P4C session!! This is something that comes way down the line and there is an enormous amount of groundwork to be done first within the class. Even when they understand how to spot a philosophical question, you should only really expect to get about 4-5 out of a whole class - I still only gte this sort of number with a high ability Year 5 group who've been doing P4C with me since September. The rest will be other types of questions that fit into the 'question quadrant' (which you should discuss with them).
    It is also essential you use a stimulus - this is what P4C is based upon. There are loads of books (some suggested in the links below) but also many other kinds - photos, films, songs etc.
    Two 'rules' - as the facilitator you do not 'lead' the discussion in any way, and a conclusion is not always necessary - it's the quality of the process that counts.
    It will be helpful if you are familiar with what counts as 'philosophy' before you start, as this will mean you can spot truly philosophical themes, rather than other stuff kids come up with. Predominently, you should know what is meant by aesthetics (what is 'beauty'?), ethics (what is 'right'?), epistemology (what can we 'know'?) and logic (What is is reasonable to assume?'), as these are the areas most truly philosophical questions will 'fit into'.
    Try these resources:
  11. It seems a bit unreasonable to expect you to do P4C without any training, but once you get stuck in, you'll be glad you did. I'm a P4C trainer and I have some resources I can send you: I will eventually put them up on TES but at the moment they are just on my computer. Email jb@outspark.org.uk. I have uploaded one story I think will work with Year 5/6. If you include your postal address I can also send you a free copy of my mini-book, Pocket P4C. I would second the recommendation of buying Sara Stanley's "but why?". You should also get the school to pay for a subscription to www.p4c.com which is £50 but has lots of resources + supportive forums. If the school is not at least willing to shell out for that, they are taking the mickey.

    Best of luck. I would dig your heels in and try and get some training as it will give you much more confidence and lots of ideas. P4C is such a good thing, you shouldn't be put off it by lack of support.
  12. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    I well remember trying to assist a not very bright year 6 girl who had to formulate points for and against extending the school day. She couldn't get beyond, 'But I don't want to stay at school late', and kept asking me for the answer. Don't you need to start further back, as it were. Many children find it very difficult to get past the idea that there isn't a right answer. They're used to being told what to do and what is right. If they don't get discussion at home either then they've got to become accustomed to the concept of something that doesn't have a right answer before they can formulate their own discussion topic.
    On the other hand, there are the little darlings who have to discuss EVERYTHING. They should be great at it!
  13. C.Brewer

    C.Brewer New commenter

    I am sorry to be replying to such an old post, but I am very interested in pursuing work with p4c. I have recently started working at a primary school as a maths specialist and want to extend my knowledge of philosophy.
    Anyone got any pointers how I can find out more?
    Thanks in advance.
  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    • (Sorry- rogue bullet point that won't delete) I wrote my dissertation on philosophy for children and I loved it! I'm no expert but I carried out a lot of research in the area so I like to think I do have some idea (I got a very high grade for my work too!)
    Just some tips I picked up from my research:
    • Be really careful about not leading the children. It's so difficult not to put words in their mouth or to ask leading questions but really try not to.
    • Similarly, make sure you let them speak! I found that I talked over the children a lot because I was so keen on their ideas but if you let them develop them further, they might give you richer responses.
    • Really think about how to foster a community of enquiry. A circular layout is best although this can be impractical.
    • Consider using a stimulus that is different to the standard story. I used paintings and these worked a treat.
    • Finally, be prepared to really learn about the children! Some of the children I worked with were totally disengaged in the usual academic learning really came alive and shone in the philosophy sessions.
    Take a look at the Sara Stanley book already mentioned and also anything by Robert Fisher. His book Teaching Thinking is a really practical book that is easy to read. No reams of theory, just ideas to apply into your teaching.
    Please do message me if you want any more information. My paper is on the bookshelf so I can dig it out and give you some more tips if you like. As I said, I'm only a very inexperienced researcher but I like to think I do know a fair amount on the subject.
    Enjoy it! It's an amazing initiative.


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