philosophy in schools
Awakening creativity through the community of inquiry
In recent years there were a lot of studies done on the benefits of doing philosophy with children. They've shown that children regularly doing philosophy can do better at reading, writing, and maths. They get better at using critical thinking skills and engage more with different subjects at school. Their self-esteem improves and they are able to articulate their thoughts better in front of the teachers and peers. The typical session starts with the facilitator presenting stimuli, usually in a form of a story (but it can be a picture, piece of music, short drama, an object, activity) Children or the facilitator will pose an inquiry question to focus on. With the less experienced groups, we often bring ready, focused questions related to the stimulus, rooted in the long philosophical tradition. More experienced groups will be able to formulate their own questions. Children discuss the problem amongst themselves, passing on a small ball or similar. The facilitator's role is in keeping the group on the track, anchoring the inquiry in chosen question but NOT forcing any opinions and answers onto children. Sometimes an intervention is needed to progress in answering the question. At the end of the session, there is a time for reflection. Children will also have an opportunity to evaluate how the session went. I'm incorporating games and activities into the philosophical inquiry to make it fun and to keep the children engaged. The sessions are very similar regardless of the age of the group, although the questions and discussions will get more complex with the age of participants.
The short course in philosophy was introduced to Junior Cycle in September 2016. Thanks to enthusiastic encouragement from the president of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, Jan O'Sullivan and people from Philosophy Ireland we have now philosophy in the Irish curriculum. In 2017 The Young Irish Philosopher Award competition was also launched.
We are proud to have brought the SOPHIA network, European Foundation for the Advancement of Philosophy with children to Ireland. With the help of the Philosophy Department at NUIG we co-hosted the annual meeting in 2019.
How we can serve your school:
invite us to become your Philosopher in Residence
we work in Primary and Secondary schools
run 6-8 weeks programme at your school
assist teachers with the short course in Philosophy in Junior Cycle
help students with their project for the Young Irish Philosopher competition
train and support teachers with implementing P4C and inquiry-based learning in their curriculum
sessions in the form of an after-school club
a multitude of topics and ideas to engage students in the inquiry
Some benefits of doing philosophy with children:
stimulating problem solving and creative thinking
significant gains in verbal and non-verbal reasoning
better communication skills
opportunities for shyer students to speak
engaging with big ideas
practising "soft skills" and "higher-order thinking" skills
Your Philosopher in Residence
We understand that teachers have already lots to do. Learning a new pedagogy can take time and seeing it in action in your class, having a philosopher in residence, is a great start if you want to introduce philosophy to your school. You'll have a chance to witness how P4C and inquiry-based learning works in a school setting. We suggest you'll have at least 6-8 sessions for each chosen classroom - 1 h session weekly (we can do up to 4 classrooms in a day) or you can invite us for regular sessions throughout the school year. We can discuss then how you can develop your skills to embed Philosophy into your school's curriculum. We'll be happy to share resources with you and help training the teachers. Our sessions are based on years of experience in the PhiE (philosophical inquiry), P4C (philosophy for/with children) and also SEAI workshops.
thinking with hands
Do we only think with our heads? Well, we can also think with hands. We offer a very unique workshop (or series of workshops) that involve using creative materials like LEGO blocks, clay, paints and pencils. The sessions are based on a LEGO-LOGOS method developed by a philosopher and educator J.M. Spychała in Poland that uses creative materials to interpret a philosophically charged text. These workshops are designed for smaller groups (up to 10 people) and require about 2 hours, but we can allow for some flexibility depending on your community needs.
The participants will receive a text to read out loud and then interpret with the chosen materials. Later the works of each participant will be discussed amongst the group, first, others will say what they think the author wanted to show through their piece and then the author will explain their take on their own creation. These sessions are a perfect spark to awake creativity and spark reflection of philosophical nature, inviting questions and deeper thinking about the world we are living in.
public philosophy projects
Public service of philosophy
Philosophy has an important role to play and one of our goals is to make it more accessible to everyone in our society. Not only in the form of literature and lectures but rather in form of a living community of inquiry, where we think together, exchange ideas and make sense of the world we are living in. The fast-paced changing world requires reflection and communication.
There are conversations we all need to have.
Creative Together helps to guide and facilitate discussions in form of philosophical inquiry for any group and in any public or private setting.
And by the way ... Philosophy? What is it?
The Greek word φιλοσοφία comes from two words philos (to love) and sophia (knowledge or wisdom) literally meaning the love of wisdom. Philosophy asks the big questions about life. Historically beginnings of philosophy start in Ancient Greece, where curiosity for understanding the world and it's working became an important part of the culture. We owe a lot to many ancient thinkers like Plato, Aristotle and of course Socrates. Since then philosophy became a central part of our western civilization. Our modern science, especially physics, comes directly from philosophy. We can talk about the different pillars of philosophy. Metaphysics (Greek ta meta ta phusika - the things after the Physics) deals with ideas, abstract concepts like being, knowing, identity, time, and space. Its branch Ontology (Greek tō ōn - to be) asks the questions about what exists. Epistemology (Greek epistēmē - knowledge) is asking the questions about perception and knowledge, how can we be sure of what we know. Esthetics (Greek aisthesthai - perceive) is concerned with questions about beauty and art, like how do we know something is beautiful. Ethics (Greek hē ēthikē tekhnē - the science of morals) asks questions about moral conduct and principles, how we do know right from wrong. Philosophy of Politics (Greek politēs - citizen, polis - city) wants to explain how should a group of people govern themselves in the best possible way. And, of course, all these wouldn't be possible without logic (Greek logos - word, reason) that looks at the validity and correctness of reasoning. The more recent branch is the philosophy of science, asking about its foundations, methods, and implications.