In the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA) and The Legend of Korra (LOK) —let’s call it the Bending World—some people (“benders”) are endowed with telekinetic superpowers to maneuver surrounding objects without physical interaction, by mentally steering (“bending”) one of the four classical “elements of nature” composing the objects: air, fire, water, and earth. Perhaps, in a world where the fundamental laws of nature are radically different from those of our world, the fundamental conditions and manifestations of politics should (...) be radically different too. That, of course, is not to deny that political bodies familiar to us are depicted in ATLA and LOK: tribes, monarchies, autonomous townships, city-states, loose federations, colonial empires, and democracies. Despite those familiar depictions, however, it’s worth contemplating how the existence of supernatural power might fundamentally alter the norms and rationales of politics—and how it might in turn help us better understand our own political reality. (shrink)
Despite the scientific consensus, climate change continues to be socially and politically controversial. Consequently, teachers may worry about accusations of political indoctrination if they teach climate change in their classrooms. Research shows that many teachers are using the ‘teaching the controversy’ approach to teach climate change, essentially allowing students to make up their own mind about climate change. Drawing on some philosophical literature about indoctrination and controversial issues, we argue that such an approach is inappropriate and, given the escalating crisis (...) that is climate change, potentially dangerous. Instead, we propose integrating three well-established educational practices, Philosophy for Children, place-responsive pedagogies, and Critical Indigenous Pedagogy, to help teachers and students critically examine climate change controversy while still meeting the key goals of climate change education. (shrink)
Women are currently under-represented in academic philosophy. This paper first considers ways in which the competitive atmosphere of philosophy might help explain this lack of diversity. For example, women are stereotyped as less competitive and as less capable of exhibiting what are considered ‘winning behaviours’ in philosophy, leading to a more stressful, less rewarding experience; lower assessments of merit by themselves and others; and potential under-performance. Second, this paper draws out the implications of this discussion for high school philosophy competitions. (...) Are these competitions likely to further exacerbate existing trends of representation, by associating philosophy with competition and winning? I argue that the way that these philosophy competitions are set up, as friendly, low-stakes team events, rewarding attributes that are ‘stereotypically female’, mean that these events are likely to support, rather than damage, diversity in the discipline. Indeed, there are reasons to think that these events form an important part of an image-change that is required for philosophy if it is to become a more diverse discipline at university-level and beyond. I finish by offering a series of practical recommendations for high school philosophy competitions, in light of the aim of increasing diversity in academic philosophy, but also with the more immediate aim of making these competitions inclusive, enjoyable events for everyone. (shrink)
Special issue of the BERA Blog: 'Educators learning through communities of philosophical enquiry', edited by Joanna Haynes. In this blog post, we focus on the need for converting classrooms into place-responsive communities of inquiry that are essential to developing eco-citizen identities – identities that break with socially and environmentally harmful knowledge and habits.
The strength of democracy lies in its ability to self-correct, to solve problems and adapt to new challenges. However, increased volatility, resulting from multiple crises on multiple fronts – humanitarian, financial, and environmental – is testing this ability. By offering a new framework for democratic education, Teaching Democracy in an Age of Uncertainty begins a dialogue with education professionals towards the reconstruction of education and by extension our social, cultural and political institutions. -/- This book is the first monograph on (...) philosophy with children to focus on democratic education. The book examines the ways in which education can either perpetuate or disrupt harmful social and political practices and narratives at the classroom level. It is a rethinking of civics and citizenship education as place-responsive learning aimed at understanding and improving human-environment relations to not only face an uncertain world, but also to face the inevitable challenges of democratic disagreement beyond merely promoting pluralism, tolerance and agreement. -/- When viewed as a way of life democracy becomes both a goal and a teaching method for developing civic literacy to enable students to articulate and apprehend more than just the predominant political narrative, but to reshape it. This book will be of interest to scholars of philosophy, political science, education, democratic theory, civics and citizenship studies, and peace education research. (shrink)
Education as identity formation in Western-style liberal-democracies relies, in part, on neutrality as a justification for the reproduction of collective individual identity, including societal, cultural, institutional and political identities, many aspects of which are problematic in terms of the reproduction of environmentally harmful attitudes, beliefs and actions. Taking a position on an issue necessitates letting go of certain forms of neutrality, as does effectively teaching environmental education. We contend that to claim a stance of neutrality is to claim a position (...) beyond criticism. In the classroom this can also be an epistemically damaging position to hold. To further explore the problem of neutrality in the classroom, and to offer a potential solution, we will look to the philosophical community of inquiry pedagogy, and advocate for the addition of place-based education; a form of experiential education that promotes learning in local communities in which the school is situated, each with its own history, culture, economy and environment. However, how we understand ‘place’ is fundamental to understanding the potential of place-based education in giving students a ‘sense of place’—how they perceive a place, which includes place attachment and place meaning. To this end, we look to Indigenous understandings of Place and social reconstruction learning to inform place-based pedagogies. Doing so, we hold, opens a pathway to ethical education. (shrink)
This article examines the relationship between Philosophy for/with Children and democracy from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. The first half of the article draws on the theory of deliberative democracy to identify some democratic aspects of Philosophy for/with Children. The second half of the article empirically investigates the way in which we can practice Philosophy for/with Children as a practice of deliberative democracy. To this end, the article illustrates the classroom activity designed by the authors, the aim of which is (...) to enable students and teachers to visually share the phenomenon of “preference change” and “consensus-making.” Drawing on the empirical findings, the article explains theory, method, practice and democratic contributions of the activity. (shrink)
In Philosophy for Children (P4C), consensus-making is often regarded as something that needs to be avoided. P4C scholars believe that consensus-making would dismiss P4C’s ideals, such as freedom, inclusiveness, and diversity. This paper aims to counteract such assumptions, arguing that P4C scholars tend to focus on a narrow, or universal, concept of “consensus” and dismiss various forms of consensus, especially what Niemeyer and Dryzek (2007) call meta-consensus. Meta-consensus does not search for universal consensus, but focuses on the process by which (...) people achieve various non-universal forms of consensus, such as agreement on the value of opponents’ normative view or agreement on the degree to which they accept opponents’ view. This paper argues that such meta-consensus is a key part of what Clinton Golding (2009) calls “philosophical progress,” which is the essential element that makes inquiry philosophical. In other words, without meta-consensus and philosophical progress, inquiry ends in merely conversation or antagonistic talk. Drawing on the example of P4C conducted with Japanese students, this paper shows how meta-consensus is achieved in the community of philosophical inquiry and how it contributes to make inquiry philosophical. (shrink)
The studies by Trickey and Topping, which provide empirical support that philosophy produces cognitive gains and social benefits, have been used to advocate the view that philosophy deserves a place in the curriculum. Arguably, the existing curriculum, built around well-established core subjects, already provides what philosophy is said to do, and, therefore, there is no case to be made for expanding it to include philosophy. However, if we take citizenship education seriously, then the development of active and informed citizens requires (...) an emphasis on citizen preparation, but significantly more than the existing curriculum can provide, namely, the acquisition of knowledge and skills to improve students’ social and intellectual capacities and dispositions as future citizens. To this end, I argue for a model of democratic education that emphasises philosophy functioning educationally, whereby students have an integral role to play in shaping democracy through engaging in philosophy as collaborative inquiry that integrates pedagogy, curriculum and assessment. I contend that only philosophy can promote democracy, insofar as philosophical inquiry is an exemplar of the kind of deliberative inquiry required for informed and active democratic citizenship. In this way, philosophy can make a fundamental and much needed contribution to education. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to connect the Brazilian Paulo Freire’s well known educational thinking with the “philosophy for children” movement. It considers the relationship between the creator of philosophy for children, Matthew Lipman and Freire through different attempts to establish a relationship between these two educators. The paper shows that the relationship between them is not as close as many supporters of P4C have claimed, especially in Latin America. It also considers the context of Educational Policies in our time (...) and why Freire’s understanding of the politics of education makes it impossible to be Freirean and at the same time be neutral or favorable to the actual status quo. Finally, after presenting Lipman’s understanding of the relationship between philosophy, education and democracy and their connection to capitalism, it proposes ways to begin the political path of philosophizing with children inspired by Paulo Freire’s educational thinking. As a result, a more politically committed path to doing philosophy with children is offered. (shrink)
When we look at our political landscape today, I wonder where has our integrity gone? -/- Teachers want to know how to explain (if that’s the right word) the language and behavior of the current American president to children in their class. He lies, he is rude and inconsiderate; he bad-mouths people and makes fun of people with disabilities. And classroom teachers not only teach certain disciplines; they also teach the need for civil discipline. The latter seems to be lacking (...) with the current president. -/- How do we teach for integrity in a time, which seems to be totally lacking in any true sense of integrity. (shrink)
In close collaboration with the late Matthew Lipman, Ann Margaret Sharp pioneered the theory and practice of ‘the community of philosophical inquiry’ (CPI) as a way of practicing ‘Philosophy for Children’ and prepared thousands of philosophers and teachers throughout the world in this practice. In Community of Inquiry with Ann Margaret Sharp represents a long-awaited and much-needed anthology of Sharp’s insightful and influential scholarship, bringing her enduring legacy to new generations of academics, postgraduate students and researchers in the fields of (...) education, philosophy, philosophy of education, Philosophy for Children and philosophy of childhood. Sharp developed a unique perspective on the interdependence of education, philosophy, personhood and community that remains influential in many parts of the world. This perspective was shaped not only by Sharp’s work in philosophy and education, but also by her avid studies in literature, feminism, aesthetic theory and ecumenical spirituality. Containing valuable contributions from senior figures in the fields in which Sharp produced her most focused scholarship, the chapters in this book present a critical overview of how Sharp’s ideas relate to education, philosophy of education, and the Philosophy for Children movement as a whole. The historical and philosophical nature of this collection means that it will be a vital resource for philosophers and educators. It should also be of great interest to teacher educators and those involved in the study of pragmatism and feminism, as well as the history of education across the globe, particularly in the United States of America. (shrink)
This rich and diverse collection offers a range of perspectives and practices of Philosophy for Children (P4C). P4C has become a significant educational and philosophical movement with growing impact on schools and educational policy. Its community of inquiry pedagogy has been taken up in community, adult, higher, further and informal educational settings around the world. The internationally sourced chapters offer research findings as well as insights into debates provoked by bringing children’s voices into moral and political arenas and to philosophy (...) and the broader educational issues this raises, for example: historical perspectives on the field; democratic participation and epistemic, pedagogical and political relationships; philosophy as a subject and philosophy as a practice; philosophical teaching across the curriculum; embodied enquiry, emotions and space; knowledge, truth and philosophical progress; resources and texts for philosophical inquiry; ethos and values of P4C practice and research. The Routledge International Handbook of Philosophy for Children will spark new discussions and identify emerging questions and themes in this diverse and controversial field. It is an accessible, engaging and provocative read for all students, researchers, academics and educators who have an interest in Philosophy for Children, its educational philosophy and its pedagogy. (shrink)
After Brexit became a reality in the UK and Trump became a reality in the United States, many thought that this was perhaps the last stand of those who thought of themselves as white and entitled to their land, calling it their country. Others living in their country may be citizens of that country, but it did not mean it was theirs as well. It belonged to those of white origin. And this “fact” would embolden those who wanted to “take (...) back” their country and protect its sovereignty. -/- Initially, I too, thought this was a sign that this nationalist thinking was becoming a part of history and, while it may create havoc on its way out, it was nonetheless on its way out. I thought this, at least, until I read an article in the New York Times by Jesse Singal titled “Undercover with the Alt-Right.”. (shrink)
This article discusses the conditions under which dialogical learner-researchers can move out of the philosophical laboratory of a community of philosophical inquiry into the field of social activism, engaging in a critical and creative examination of society and seeking to change it. Based on Matthew Lipman’s proposal that communities of philosophical inquiry can serve as a model of social activism in the present, it presents the community of philosophical inquiry as a model for social activism in the future. In other (...) words, Lipman’s central ideas in his earlier and later thought—including meaning as a mode of action, relevance as a way of examining life and stimulating influence for change as a form of creating a democratic society—establish two parallel circle of influence: the present time, in the shape of the philosophical community of inquiry that allows activist skills to be honed, and a social space that extends into the future as a forum for applying principles and bettering society. Finally, this paper adduces several forms of social activism that may be anchored in philosophical awareness of real conditions and their contexts. Through them, the community of philosophical inquiry not only constitutes a place in which young people’s thought processes can be developed but also one in which they can aspire to become activists in various areas. (shrink)
A philosophy with children community of inquiry encourage children to develop a philosophical sensitivity that entails awareness of abstract questions related to human existence. When it operates, it can allow insight into significant philosophical aspects of various situations and their analysis. This article seeks to contribute to the discussion of philosophical sensitivity by adducing an additional dimension—namely, the development of a socio-philosophical sensitivity by means of a philosophical community of inquiry focused on texts linked to these themes and an analysis (...) of them with the help of narratival tools that explain the children’s philosophical moves. (shrink)
A recent report by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention in cooperation with the Swedish Security Service shows that the Internet has been extensively used to spread propaganda by proponents of violent political extremism, characterized by a worldview painted in black and white, an anti-democratic viewpoint, and intolerance towards persons with opposing ideas. We provide five arguments suggesting that philosophical dialogue with young persons would be beneficial to their acquisition of insights, attitudes and thinking tools for encountering such propaganda. (...) The arguments are based on stated requirements for problem solutions given by experts in violent political extremism, recent research about the effects of philosophical dialogue in young persons’ thinking skills, and parts of the basic theoretical framework of Philosophy for Children. Philosophical dialogues seem a promising way for young people to achieve a stronger democratic awareness and a more tenacious resistance against extremist views online. (shrink)
The ideas contained in this paper were first formulated as part of a chapter in my doctoral dissertation, which was completed in 1997. Some years later I added to my initial thoughts, scribbled some notes, and presented them at the 12th Annual Philosophy in Schools Conference, held in Brisbane in 2002. This presentation surfaced as a paper in Critical & Creative Thinking: The Australasian Journal of Philosophy in Schools (Burgh 2003a). Soon thereafter I revised the paper (Burgh 2003b) and it (...) appeared in abridged form in the Asia-Pacific Philosophy Education Network for Democracy (APPEND) Philosophy Series, Volume 4: Philosophy, Democracy and Education, edited by Philip Cam. It was once again revised, but also expanded, and appeared in Chapter 5 of Ethics and the community of inquiry: Education for deliberative democracy, a collaborative authorship with Terri Field and Mark Freakley (2006). Some sections have been further revised and appear in other publications (Burgh 2009, 2010; Burgh & Yorshansky 2011). These revisions would suggest that my thoughts on these matters are constantly changing. To some degree this is true, but each time the changes have built on previous ideas rather than new ideas replacing old ones. I welcomed the invitation to revise the original paper, which includes sections not included in later versions. However, with almost 11 years passing since the original publication, I found myself deleting sections and replacing others. Subsequently, this paper is a culmination of all the revisions and incorporates ideas from each. (shrink)
Reprinted with permission and previously published in: Farhang: Quarterly Journal of the Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies (Tehran, Iran), 22(69), pp. 117-138. -/- One of the aims of this paper is to explore the relationship between democracy and epistemology. This inevitably raises questions about the purpose and aims of education consistent with conceptions of democracy. These ultimately rest on the practical applicability and outcomes of competing visions of democracy without appeal to pre-political or prior goods, nor to certain knowledge (...) about justice or right; that is, to the dominant liberal discourse of citizenship that has become indistinguishable from the citizenship implicit in official policy documents. I argue in favour of a notion of citizenship conceived of in terms of learning processes that have a developmental and transformative impact on the learning subject, and an educational model that is more attuned to the procedural concerns of deliberative democracy than civics and citizenship education which tend to be underpinned by preconceptions of liberal citizenship, values and democracy. (shrink)
Ethics and the Community of Inquiry gets to the heart of democratic education and how best to achieve it. The book radically reshapes our understanding of education by offering a framework from which to integrate curriculum, teaching and learning and to place deliberative democracy at the centre of education reform. It makes a significant contribution to current debates on educational theory and practice, in particular to pedagogical and professional practice, and ethics education.
I argue that philosophical inquiry as underpinning educational practice can reduce the fragmentation in the school curriculum, and therefore, create an educational environment that is in accord with the Adelaide Declaration on the National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty-First Century, and in Queensland, the 2010 Initiative. It can also promote democratic practice itself as opposed to students merely practising the processes of democracy while at school in preparation to function effectively as future democratic citizens.
Matthew Lipman claims that the community of inquiry is an exemplar of democracy in action. To many proponents the community of inquiry is considered invaluable for achieving desirable social and political ends through education for democracy. But what sort of democracy should we be educating for? In this paper I outline three models of democracy: the liberal model, which emphasises rights and duties, and draws upon pre-political assumptions about freedom; communitarianism, which focuses on identity and participation in the creation of (...) political ends; and deliberative self-governance, whereby citizens deliberatively shape their collective lives in public forums—at various levels of government and in different political and social arenas. I argue that some kind of deliberative democracy is defensible as a preliminary justification for how citizens might shape their lives, and therefore compatible with other forms of democracy, insofar as they can result from democratic deliberations. Acceptance of such a view raises further questions about the purpose or aims of education consistent with this conception of democracy. I contend that it requires an educational model that is committed to aligning curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and school governance to produce a transformational environment that will inform our structures—a commitment to democratic education and not merely education for democracy. Lipman goes part of the way to achieving these ends, but learning how to be proficient at democratic decision-making is like all tasks children and adolescents learn to perform. It involves action, understanding, and awareness of what counts as doing the task adequately. (shrink)
M. Lipman and P. Freire are two thinkers who support the practice of liberty. Liberty is liberty to learn to think, and to exist in communities of dialogue, questioning, and search. This is the project that leads human beings to understand themselves and recognize others. Without liberty there..
In this paper I will focus on the role of the community of inquiry and its commitment to democracy. I suggest that if we are serious about this commitment we need to do more than merely utter the word democracy as if we have communicated a concept that is both precise and worthy of commendation. The word democracy is, in fact, laden with ambiguity. Claims for democracy have been used to support civil rights, freedom of speech and universal franchise. On (...) the other hand, it has aided and abetted the free market society and defended the dominance of the two-party political system. It seems that some democrats can support the very same programs that other democrats oppose, all in the name of democracy. I will look at some of the ambiguities surrounding the term democracy and offer a model which captures the spirit of the community of inquiry. I conclude that while it is true that the community of inquiry method goes beyond the hidden curriculum and actively encourages pupils to be critical and reflective thinkers, children from an early age also need to learn how to govern themselves. How can this be achieved? By actively involving pupils in the process of decision-making in the classroom on issues that affect their daily lives, and by finding practical ways to increase the participation of everyone involved through the creation of learning opportunities within schools and between the schools and the wider community. It is important, therefore, that pupils acquire the skills needed to become active decision-makers in a participatory democracy. This requires that teachers and educators question the existing democratic structures and processes while taking into account the social realities that have shaped children's consciousness of themselves. (shrink)