But is it philosophy? Mais, est-ce la philosophie?. The question of teacher training. Background of this paper: thinking about teacher training and its effectiveness-- a presentation at ICPIC in England ---I am still thinking… 30 years+ of p4c
The question of teacher training
Background of this paper: thinking about teacher training and its effectiveness-- a presentation at ICPIC in England
---I am still thinking…
Let’s us put aside these concerns and assume that there is a willingness to engage in p4c in schools.
While much attention is paid to the value of philosophy for children, we must not ignore the role of the teacher.
Let us now explore what the teacher needs to effectively function within a Community of Inquiry Classroom of philosophical inquiry
To begin: what questions should guide our examination of teacher preparation?
How do you envision your self as a thinker and what strategies do you use in your own thinking and teaching to assist your students in becoming more careful and alert thinkers?
a. Ann Sharp’s 3 C’s: (central, common, controversial
b. My definition (from Lipman) :concerted attempt to think together coherently about difficult, open questions.
c. But defining philosophy is a philosophical inquiry in itself!
a. Encountering the works of the canon, East and West: pro and con
b. Using topical introductions. Some examples:
Think by Simon Blackburn
An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Philosophy by Roger Scruton
What does it all mean? By Thomas Nagle
The Philosophy Gym By Stephen Law
The Great Ideas by Mortimer Adler
Philosophical Problems by Bertrand Russell
The naturalness of philosophy is a cultivated and nurtured activity
To assume that humans are natural philosophers is to miss the obvious: most people do not think or at least do not think well.
But philosophy is an essential human potential which makes it a desired and fulfilling experience [Aristotle’s argument for the contemplative life]
This makes the nature and quality of teacher training all that more urgent
III. The Recognition of Inquiry in training teachers to be philosophical facilitators
--Initial enthusiasm followed too often by dissolution
--Pressures of testing, teacher isolation, and lack of deep understanding of the concept of CoI: p4c is not simply cooperative learning, questions or conversation.
--Nor is p4c an instructional program which the teachers teach to their students
Conclusion: You do not necessarily have P4C because students are talking, asking questions or working in groups or use the label “philosophy.”.
IV. Aprés le deluge: After all this gloom and doom, what can I recommend?
Some guiding questions and suggestions for discussion:
Ought we to implement some screening system which can better detect which teachers have the preparation and skills to excel in P4C?
Do we need to engage in a renewed effort in the area of pre-service teacher training programs?
3. In preparing professional teachers, focus on their acquiring a working knowledge of philosophical problems, a vocabulary of concepts and a basic familiarity with the philosophical literature.
4. Develop ways for teachers to form “philosophy support groups,” or quite simply their own “communities of inquiry” wherein they can pursue the topics that interest them within community.
5. Continually encourage teachers to explore how philosophical inquiry is different from the more familiar forms of discussion such as cooperative learning, group work or simple conversations.
6. Recommend to schools or districts the enlistment of ongoing support of a philosopher-on-site or a visiting philosopher who can facilitate a teacher CoI or simply offer refresher workshops.
7. Continue the development of fresh “catalyst documents or activities” which can engage the teachers in new ideas.
8. Finally, we must work on developing rubrics or assessment tools that can help both students and teachers reach a level of meta-inquiry into the P4C dialogic experience.
Merci pour votrê patience!
To contact me:
Wendy C. Turgeon