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Philosophy for Children (P4C) / Community of Enquiry

Philosophy for Children (P4C) / Community of Enquiry

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Philosophy for Children (P4C) / Community of Enquiry

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  1. Philosophy for Children (P4C) / Community of Enquiry M J Maidment

  2. What is P4C? • A classroom method designed to promote and develop thinking and communication skills, moral awareness and the ability to work with others • It has become central to our delivery of PSE • For more information visit

  3. Why is P4C central to PSE? • Evidence shows that traditional methods of delivering PSE have little affect on the behaviour and attitudes of learners. It’s only when students begin to develop thinking skills that changes occur.

  4. Classroom layout • Discussion work • Kinesthetic • Visual stimuli on white board • Written work • Protects displays • Observation of written work • Lack of distraction • Easy to keep clean!

  5. Lesson Starter • Games for thinking / starters for thinking / meditation • Aim of starter may be to energize or to calm pupils, to get them thinking and to have fun. The main aim of the starter is always to focus pupils attention. • Fruit salad • Odd one out – listening skills and memory • Register pupils • Rounds

  6. Stimulus / stimuli • e.g. DVD, web clip, CD (and lyrics), story, poem or picture • Venn diagrams, snowballing, comprehension questions • Usually ask pupils for their initial thoughts on the stimulus and use the sentence starters (thinking time is essential) • Pupils share views with partners or with class

  7. Formulating philosophical questions • Pupils formulate questions individually • Pupils discuss questions in small groups and decide on the best question • A member of each group writes their group’s question on the board • The class votes for the question they would most like to discuss

  8. Facilitating class discussion • What if nobody speaks – thinking time or partner work to gain confidence • What if nobody will ‘shut-up’! – partner work to get it off their chests • Go with the flow – don’t fight the class! • Pupils should be encouraged to give reasons and evidence to back their arguments • Teacher should try not to respond to pupils’ views but encourage other pupils to respond (easier said than done!)

  9. Final comments • Lesson usually ends with reflective thoughts from students • Thinking time again needs to be given • Every pupil is given the opportunity to comment • Sentence starters can be used

  10. Main features / Characteristics • Thinking time – not rushing through questions but thinking deeply • The type of questions explored have a number of possible answers (similar to those the pupils will face in life in general) • Teacher facilitates – doesn’t respond to pupils’ views but encourages other pupils to respond. • Pupils should provide reasons and/or evidence for their arguments • Pupils have ownership of lesson • Class explore ideas together (including the teacher) • The important thing is not what the pupils think but that they think

  11. Benefits of P4C • Low preparation high impact teaching • Develops thinking skills (individual and collaborative, creative and critical, empathetic and reflective / meta-cognitive thinking) • Develops communication skills (i.e. speaking and listening) • Improves self-esteem and behaviour • Improves academic results • It develops enquiring minds and hopefully produces innovative adults • Students enjoy it!

  12. Additional Information • P4C and other subjects • Examples of stimuli