The Philosophy Club partners with schools and communities to build a culture of critical and creative thinking through collaborative philosophical enquiry.
We offer a vision for whole-school transformation, fostering a school-wide culture of effective thinking. All our programs build skills in collaborative enquiry, argument literacy, reflection and metacognition.
We have partnered with a range of primary and secondary schools, as well as with universities and with civic and cultural organisations including The City of Melbourne, Embiggen Books, The Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas, Artplay and Library at The Dock.
We run unique professional development programs for primary and secondary teachers, and acclaimed student workshop programs for all year levels (P – 12).
– Our professional development programs empower teachers with the knowledge and skills they need to confidently facilitate philosophical enquiry in the classroom.
– Our student workshops immerse young people in stimulating philosophical questions and open up a universe of ideas, with a focus on developing reasoning and communication skills through collaborative enquiry and dialogue.
– Our Philosopher-in-Residence program provides a model of school-wide philosophical engagement, teacher support and community awareness, and accelerates participants’ skill development during an intensive period of practice.
We look forward to working with your school or learning community. Please contact us if your school is interested in participating.
Who we are
Michelle Sowey: Founder and Managing Director
Michelle is a philosopher and educational designer who works in schools and communities to translate the theory of collaborative philosophical inquiry into practice. Through The Philosophy Club’s workshops and blog, she promotes a widespread critical engagement with ideas which she considers to be vital for citizenship. Michelle prepares young people to engage in deliberative democracy by encouraging them to value reasons and evidence, to pursue shared understanding with their peers, and to communicate across ideological divides with care, empathy, intellectual humility and a spirit of conviviality.
As a content creator, workshop facilitator and teacher trainer, Michelle helps people to develop philosophical dispositions and skills in enquiry, reasoning, reflection and dialogic argument. She was awarded the inaugural Prize for Innovation in Inclusive Curricula by the Australasian Association of Philosophy in recognition of her success in making philosophical dialogue accessible to a broad range of participants.
Michelle is currently exploring the philosophical ideas and ways of knowing that underlie pro- environmental beliefs and actions. Free resources to support work in this area are available here.
Michelle is a member of the Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Associations. She regularly writes and reviews academic and popular work in the field of philosophy education. Her paper Unveiling and Packaging: A Model of Presenting Philosophy in Schools appears in the journal Human Affairs. Her papers Against directive teaching in the moral Community of Inquiry: A response to Michael Hand (co-authored with Grace Lockrobin of Thinking Space) and Strengthening dialogical argument: What teachers can learn from authentic examples of student dialogue appear in the Journal of Philosophy in Schools. Selected other publications include The NAPLAN Persuasive Writing Test Subverts Critical Thinking in John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations; Can You Kill a Goat By Staring At It? A critical look at minimally invasive education on The Philosophy Foundation blog; and Philosophy for Children: A reflective approach to human rights education in Right Now: Human Rights in Australia.
Michelle’s CV is available here.
David Urbinder: Development Consultant.
Educator and designer David Urbinder created The Philosophy Club’s innovative curriculum materials during our early years of operation, providing rich and challenging learning experiences to engage children in critical thinking, creative problem-solving, collaboration and reflection.
David has been involved in The Philosophy Club’s development since its inception, initially through curriculum and resource development, and subsequently as a facilitator and development manager. David is passionate about the capacity of philosophical dialogue to empower a new generation by promoting more rational and independent thinking.
Drawing on his background in education and psychology, David has helped shape The Philosophy Club’s unique curricula of activities and discussion plans. Using skills he developed in media and design, David has created a range of multimedia ‘idea catalysts’ in the form of original films, scripts, stories, soundtracks and theatrical activities, all designed to provoke children’s deep and whimsical thinking.
We have to live today by what truth we can get today, and be ready tomorrow to call it falsehood.”
– William James