Teachers speak

Philosophy for children

This section contains teachers’ testimonials about our student workshop programs. For testimonials about our teacher PD programs, please see participant feedback.


Thank you so much for all your work [as Philosopher-in-Residence]… It was fabulous! What you brought that was so significant was the deep philosophical knowledge, which, when coupled with your wonderful facilitation skills, meant our teachers and students really got to see what is possible. Something to aspire to!”
– Lynne Hinton, Philosophy Inquiry Teacher Coach, Hillbrook Anglican School, Queensland.

“I have been absolutely thrilled to have Heatherhill included in The Philosophy Club’s Big Questions program. It has created such a “buzz” in the school. I was hoping it would provide an introduction to Philosophy and high level thinking and discussion, and an opportunity to engage in something quite different to the usual school program. The program exceeded my expectations! Students have been encouraged to challenge their own thinking, ponder possibilities and alternatives, and consider others’ opinions in a way they may not have had to previously. Michelle’s and David’s preparation was thorough and communication was excellent. It would be wonderful to continue with the program and develop the kids further. We are planning to incorporate Big Questions type discussions and thinking into the curriculum next term.”
– Principal, Heatherhill Primary School, Melbourne Australia

“We were hoping that students would begin to understand critical thinking and the process of working through issues in a systematic way. The program was exceedingly successful and achieved above and beyond my expectations. The detailed planning and follow through with the topic was a highlight. The use of video clips was excellent. Big Questions opened up possibilities that weren’t there before and has given students and staff the confidence to embrace such programs in the future. The mentors did a wonderful job and should be congratulated on a fine effort. The impact was interesting in that students asked questions in a more astute way and began to ponder broader social questions. The management, planning and development was outstanding. It was a fantastic program and was well received by students, staff and myself.”
– Principal, Mahogany Rise Primary School, Melbourne Australia


“The program exceeded all expectations. It introduced a new way of thinking and being in the world to our children. The biggest hook for the children was the use of the video narrative. The children were captivated by this. The facilitators role modelled the skills and dispositions of philosophical inquiry as well as more general life skills such as respect, cooperation and care. [The students’] speaking, listening, thinking and co-operation skills were all significantly enhanced. Very satisfied with the program management [which] could not have been more organised or more approachable. Thank you for inspiring our school community with the Big Questions program. You’re amazing!”
– Assistant Principal, Mahogany Rise Primary School, Melbourne Australia

“Thank you so much for involving us in this project. Both the students and myself got a lot out of it. The briefing presentation was excellent because it got us excited and gave us a great overview of the program and what our students would be discussing. The facilitators were amazing … very professional and connected well with the students. It was very exciting to see the change in the students from the beginning to the end, and the usually very quiet students building confidence to share their thoughts. I think the biggest impact by far was their speaking and listening. In the beginning I noticed the students were quite shy and weren’t always listening to one another [so] they often went off topic. By the last few weeks all students were speaking and the conversations were a lot more focused. The most memorable thing about the program was hearing some of the amazing quotes from our students. It was great to be able to take a step back and collect some data on the students speaking and listening. Just being able to listen to the students interact was a pleasure that teachers don’t often get. I really hope to be able to continue the philosophical discussions and maybe start a lunchtime philosophy club. Come back!”
– Years 4 – 6 teacher, Heatherhill Primary School, Melbourne Australia


“Thank you so much for all the incredibly engaging lessons and the effort that you all put in. Our students loved being challenged. Thanks for letting them share their creative and reflective thoughts and building an environment where they all wanted to participate and share. The facilitators were fantastic! They were enthusiastic and also ensured they were encouraging the students to think deeply and share their ideas and opinions. It was interesting seeing how the students have developed their confidence to share ideas and ask questions. It was great to be able to observe how they discuss big ideas and support each other. I have noticed that my students are more keen to talk in class about interesting topics and asking so many more “why!” questions. They are also more confident to challenge other people’s ideas and also to support people’s opinions with more reasons. Speaking and listening and thinking skills have definitely ved. I think the Philosophy program will influence my future classroom activities: I want to give students more time to think carefully and talk about their ideas and reasons why. Continue [the program] forever!”
– Years 4 – 6 teacher, Heatherhill Primary School, Melbourne Australia

“A good way to develop debating and logical thinking skills. There was so much that was fascinating, but for me it was amazing listening to these students express themselves with confidence and, at times, with meta-cognition… The mentors truly listened to the students and modelled the behaviour that they expected. [As a result of the program] the students appear to be more accepting of others’ opinions, and now have strategies to politely express their own. They also have learned that it’s OK to alter their position.”
– Year 6 class teacher, Mahogany Rise Primary School, Melbourne Australia.

“The Philosophy Club’s Big Questions videos were very much loved by the children and stimulated a lot of superb discussion on our Philosophy Day.”
– Deputy Head of the Junior Department, St Johns College School, Cambridge UK.

“The student workshops were obviously a success because watching the girls with you, they were clearly engaged. They were enthusiastic and happy to be at the sessions… I think it is evident that you are very good at what you do.
– Gifted and Talented Coordinator, St Aloysius College, North Melbourne.

“Since meeting Michelle last year, I have been very impressed by her ideas, her professionalism, her drive and commitment, but most importantly, by the wonderful program she has designed.”
– Deputy Head of Philosophy (2011), University of Melbourne.

Philosophy for children

For further information about the impact of the Big Questions program, download the Big Questions 2013 evaluation report.