Philosophy for Children P4C . Do you have a pet?. The following dialogue comes from a conversation that took place between a 6-year old girl, called Charlotte, and her teacher. Teacher: ‘Do you have a pet?’. Charlotte:
‘Do you have a pet?’
‘Yes. I have a cat and a guinea pig. And a goldfish. The cat is called Zephyr and the guinea pig is called Gip.’
‘Do you like them?’
‘Of course. Everyone likes their pets.’
‘How would you feel if something awful happened to one of your pets?’
‘Really sad. I had a rabbit once, but a dog got in and ate it. I cried.’
‘Have you heard of Africa?’
‘It’s a long way away. They have jungles there, and wild animals.’
‘There are people there as well. Millions of them.’
‘Would you care if someone in Africa were hit by a bus?’
‘Not much. It probably happens all the time.’
‘Would you rather someone you didn’t know in Africa was hit by a bus, or your goldfish died?’
‘I’d rather someone was hit by a bus.’
‘How about 10 people killed in a bus crash?’
‘I still don’t want my fish to die.’
‘What if the choice is between your goldfish and a thousand people killed in an earthquake? What if you were magic, and had to choose?’
‘Maybe the people are more important.’
‘What if its between the people and Zephyr?’
‘No way. I love Zephyr.’
‘What if its either ten people in Australia killed in a bushfire or Zephyr hit by a car?’
‘People I don’t know?’
‘Yes. You don’t know any of them.’
‘Then I’d pick Zephyr not to be hit by a car.’
‘What if its between Zephyr and grandma?’
‘Um. Grandma’s very old. She might die anyway.’
‘What if its either grandma dies in 6 months before she would have, or Zephyr is hit by a car?’
‘Are you going to tell grandma what I said?’
‘I don’t know. Probably not.’
‘I think grandma is more important’
Give an overview P4C:
Developed in US by Professor Matthew Lipman and now used in over 30 countries
Improves oracy and communication skills
Develops self-esteem and emotional literacy
Improves children’s mathematics and reading skills
Develops range of thinking skills:
Creative thinking skills- to generate and extend ideas, to apply imaginationEvaluation skills- to develop criteria for judging their own and others’ work or idea
NC claims that RE
‘enables pupils to consider and respond to a range of important questions related to their own spiritual development, the development of values and attitudes and fundamental questions concerning the meaning and purpose of life.’
Starting points can be:
The teacher aims to allow children the space and support to develop their ideas by enabling children to:
‘ I agree/disagree with Sarah that….’
This ensures that children are listening to conversation, prevents a series of monologues, encourages courtesy in dealing with others’ views, shows that we can disagree but remain respectful.
Listening to the child
Can you tell me what you mean?
Could you put this another way?
Expanding on what the child has said.
As part of the larger whole.
Although I can show how to set up a lesson I cannot show how to facilitate the actual discussion.
P4C conferences arranged by County.
The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
Anthony Gormley’s ‘Angel of the North’.