Teaching philosophy to kids and teenagers
August 14, 2012
Posted by on
The Guardian recommends here.
As an antidote to teaching to the test, I recommend a philosophical approach. This means teaching students to be critical, reflective enquirers. It is all about putting in their hands the tools they need to find answers for themselves, and stimulating them to begin thinking more deeply and critically about ideas and arguments.
How do we do this? Philosophical thinking is best introduced through discussion with students. This doesn’t mean adding another subject to an already crowded curriculum. Philosophical conversations can happen as part of normal lessons in more or less any subject. Try asking ‘What is the self?’ in an English lesson on Hamlet, ‘Can you complete an infinite series of tasks?’ in a maths lesson on irrational numbers or ‘Can an empty room be a work of art?’ in an art lesson. You will find that philosophy is a powerful stimulant. Just as a chemical catalyst can work even in small quantities, so you don’t need a great deal of philosophical discussion to spark off the process of independent enquiry.