Resources

Philosophy
Philosophy for children

Harkness 18

OUR RESOURCES

– For schools

If your school is located in Melbourne, we would be delighted to deliver our acclaimed PD program for your teachers; our inclusive student workshop programs for for all year levels; or our enrichment workshops for select entry high schoolers.

Take a look at our sample workshop themes and questions for middle years and high school students.

We are known for our original visual-text discussion-starters, concept games, small-group activities, and bespoke audio-visual stimuli which we use to ignite discussion of diverse topics.

Here are some examples of our original stimuli using fictional scenarios to provoke collaborative enquiry:

  • a campaign brochure for equal rights for children (inspired by an article by Vita Wallace, with illustration by Eric Comstock used with permission) – which may be used in conjunction with these accompanying questions;
  • a poster advertisement for MONOCLE (a recording-contact-lens technology inspired by the Black Mirror episode ‘The Entire History of You’); and a poster advertisement for RESTART (a chatbot technology inspired by the Black Mirror episode ‘Be Right Back’);
  • trifold brochure promoting Virtumax (an embryo-based moral enhancement technology, inspired by an article by Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu);
  • a set of six scenarios about dark tourism (that is, travelling to places historically associated with death and tragedy). These scenarios are designed to be used as part of a spectrum activity in which students are invited to consider whether – and on what grounds – the behaviour of the named character should be considered blameworthy, praiseworthy, or somewhere in between.

We also make thoughtful and creative adaptations of existing resources for use in different educational contexts. For instance, this set of illustrated scenarios dealing variously with scientific and pseudo-scientific investigations – curated and adapted from various sources – may be used in a high school setting as part of a small-group activity in which students develop an understanding of the importance of hypothesis-testing as an mark of good science, and – through collaborative dialogue – uncover prior knowledge of other distinguishing features of science. (Facilitators may wish to refer to our table of characteristic differences between science and pseudoscience, which corresponds with these printable cards that may be displayed during the discussion as students raise relevant issues.)

Our Big Questions website describes the benefits of philosophical enquiry and introduces our original philosophical short films for upper primary school students. Teachers in Australia or abroad are invited to contact us to purchase a non-watermarked version of the films for classroom use.

If you’re interested in learning more about a nationwide approach to Philosophy being taught in schools, please visit the website of The Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Associations (FAPSA) or browse its open-access journal, Journal of Philosophy in Schools.

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– For everyone

Our main blog, The Philosophy Club, is about fostering children’s philosophical and critical thinking – and related issues of interest to parents, teachers and others who care about quality education.

Our second blog, Playground Philosopher, explores the potential of picture books to excite children’s philosophical curiosity. It’s designed to help parents and teachers to stimulate spirited discussions about open-ended questions and to inspire other playful activities with a philosophical bent.

Our facebook page is regularly updated with quotes from children’s philosophical discussions, articles related to Philosophy for Children, and illustrated thoughts from philosophers and educators around the world. We also invite you to subscribe to our occasional newsletter.

You might also like to read our opinion piece, Teaching Philosophy to Children, published in The Guardian.

OTHER RESOURCES

– Online and print materials

The Most Reasonable Answer cover

The Most Reasonable Answer (by Alina Reznitskaya and Ian Wilkinson) is an innovative and comprehensive guide to engaging students collaborative enquiry and dialogue, while enhancing argumentation skills and developing deep understanding. The authors provide detailed annotated transcripts to illustrate effective facilitation of group discussions. They also introduce a helpful Argumentation Rating Tool to support teachers and students in building on and challenging each other’s ideas, clarifying meaning, relying on well-examined reasons and evidence, and making logical connections.

The UK organisation ‘Sapere’ provides a useful written introduction to Philosophy for Children, describing how children become part of a collaborative community of enquiry and discuss philosophical questions.

The Philosophy Shop (edited by Peter Worley of The Philosophy Foundation) is a highly-recommended book of ideas, activities and questions to get people – young and old – thinking philosophically.

We also recommend The Philosophy Foundation’s other excellent publications, as well as their suggested philosophical books for children, introductory books to philosophy (for adults and older children), and books about philosophy in schools.

– Short videos about philosophy for children

In this inspiring TED talk,’Philosophy for Kids: Sparking a Love of Learning’, University of Washington’s Professor Sara Goering talks about why doing Philosophy with children is so important and so exciting:

The following short video from The Philosophy Foundation (UK) explains that Philosophy is the only subject that specialises in reasoning – and reasoning is even more basic than reading, writing and arithmetic.

In the TED-Ed video ‘Questions No-One (Yet) Knows the Answers To’, Chris Anderson poses a bunch of quirky questions that seem to have no answers. These are just the sorts of questions that we discuss at The Philosophy Club:

Let no one postpone practising philosophy when young… for it is never too early to devote oneself to the well-being of the soul. Someone who says that the time to philosophise has not yet come… is like someone who says that the time for happiness has not yet come.”
Epicurus

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The Philosophy Club would like to thank its supporters at  Embiggen Books.