Wondering Aloud: Philosophy With Young People

Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda As part of the “Moral Philosophy and Genocide” unit I am doing with eighth grade students, last week we watched the film Hotel Rwanda and then discussed it. We talked about the reasons the international community did not intervene in Rwanda, and what obligations the Western countries had to Rwanda during this period. […]

How much philosophy does a pre-college philosophy teacher need to know?

I’m working on a review article for the journal Teaching Philosophy, writing about five books that have been written in the past few years about pre-college philosophy. In the course of reading these books, it’s been interesting to me to observe the range of views about the level of training necessary for a competent pre-college […]

January

Just Now In the morning as the storm begins to blow awaythe clear sky appears for a moment and it seems to methat there has been something simpler than I could ever believesimpler than I could have begun to find words fornot patient not even waiting no more hiddenthan the air itself that became part […]

Meaning in Education

Since our seminar session at UW last Thursday, I’ve been thinking about meaning in education. We spent the first part of the session talking about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and enlightenment, the relationship between appearance and reality, knowledge, and human development, and then moved into examining the nature of thinking and thoughts. It was […]

My Friend the Monster

The short novel My Friend the Monster by Clyde Roberta Bulla is about the young Prince Hal, whose parents, the king and queen, think he is “ordinary” and have no time for him. They will not let him spend time with the children he sees playing in the courtyard because these children are the children […]

Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children Grant and Summer Workshop

Center for Philosophy for Children just received a three-year grant from the Squire Family Foundation! The grant funds a summer workshop for teachers that will take place this June, and also provides money for graduate student involvement in the program, materials and website support, and three years of transportation for UW students to get to and from […]

PLATO

After almost two years of work, the new national organization for pre-college philosophy in the US, PLATO (Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization), has been born! PLATO is a national support, advocacy and resource-sharing organization for teachers, parents, philosophers and others involved in teaching philosophy to pre-college students. Launched by the Committee on Pre-College Instruction in […]

Plato with Fourth Graders

I taught my first couple of elementary school classes in the last week, both with fourth grade students in Seattle. It is always amazing to me the level of philosophical interest and understanding shown by children. Yesterday I had a discussion with about 30 fourth graders about Plato’s “Ring of Gyges.” In our conversation, the […]

Questions: Philosophy for Young People

I was involved in founding the journal Questions: Philosophy for Young People ten years ago. The journal began as a project of the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on Pre-College Instruction in Philosophy. We conceived it as a way to illustrate the philosophical work that young people are capable of doing. The mission of Questions is […]

Really, Really BIG Questions

The picture book Really, Really BIG Questions by British philosophy professor Stephen Law is an engaging introduction to philosophy for anyone from elementary school age through middle school. With drawings and information about science, history, literature and the history of philosophy, the book explores questions such as: How can something come from nothing? What is […]

The Cricket in Times Square

One of my favorite works of children’s literature, The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden, first published in 1960, is moving, funny and philosophically suggestive. In particular, the book can inspire discussion about a variety of ethical questions. The story involves Chester, a cricket, who arrives in Times Square in an accidental way from […]

Time, nothingness and imagination

Another marvelous conversation last week with the 5th grade students with whom I’ve been working all year. At the beginning of the school year, one of the questions in which the students were interested was, “What is time?” We began this session with that question. One student suggested that time is the way “we measure […]

Why do we go to school?

In my last class of the school year with the 5th grade public school students with whom I’ve been doing philosophy this year, we held a “Philosophy Cafe” with juice, cookies and conversation. I’m going to miss this class. The students had requested last time that we spend some time discussing whether homework is a […]