Today we heard from 10 teachers who are using the methods of P4C-Hawaii. Two are doing work with adults in correctional facilities, and the others are doing work with kids (in grades K-12) in their own classrooms and sharing the methods with other teachers in their schools. Many of them said they have incorporated the methods as part of their general pedagogical approach, rather than slicing out time specifically for philosophical inquiry. Some of the big take-aways for me are: (1) Teaching a course in P4C through a university's Education department is key to spreading the approach into schools. (2) A philosopher-in-residence is not there to demonstrate the facilitation of an inquiry, but actually participates in the discussion to help guide the content so teachers and students see how to take the discussion in philosophical directions (considering multiple perspectives, challenging assumptions, looking for reasons, connecting to issues about knowledge, value, metaphysics, etc.). (3) Teachers want to see that doing P4C is going to achieve clear outcomes for their students, or they don't want to give up class time to trying it out --3 outcomes can be Thinking, Listening, Speaking. (4) Teachers don't want to read a manual explaining a fancy new pedagogical style; it's better to demonstrate it and pull out elements to scaffold them into incorporating into their own teaching style (e.g., first just suggest they get kids noticing assumptions). (5) Calling it 'discussion circles' or 'communities of inquiry' conveys the method better than 'Philosophy for Children'.
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