Philosophy for Children, Community of INquiry, and Human Rights Education

Childhood and Philosophy 11 (22):319-328 (2015)
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The Community of Inquiry is a unique discourse model that brings adults and children together in collaborative discussions of philosophical and ethical topics. This paper examines the potential for COI to deepen children’s moral and intellectual understanding through recursive discourse that encourages them to transcend cultural limitations, confront their own moral predispositions, and increase inter-cultural understanding. As children become familiar with normative values couched in ethical dialogue, they are immersed in ideals of reciprocity and empathy. Such dialogues can become effective vehicles for introducing children to discussions of human dignity and rights that also challenge traditional power relationships between adults and children. The uncritical assumption underlying such power differentials often contests the de facto rights and dignity of children. COI is a valuable tool for human rights education as it encourages children’s sensitivity to the rights and dignities of others and, simultaneously, honors children’s own rights and dignities as participating citizens in the global community.



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Karen Mizell
Utah Valley University

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