Heracles, Jesus Christ and Lord Vader at the crossroads - the LEGO-LOGOS method.

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

Where did the impulse to philosophise with children came from? What inspired you to create the ΛΕΓΩ-ΛΟΓΟΣ method?

Many impulses contributed to this, but two of them seem particularly important to me. I run philosophy classes in various external faculties, i.e. for people who were not necessarily interested in philosophy. Of course, this did not prevent me from believing that they could be charmed by philosophy. I started the classes with the reading of selected philosophical metaphors. Students read the texts but did not know what to do with what they had just read - how to understand it, what to relate to it, how to talk about it, etc. In other words, although they read the pearls of philosophy, it did not result in a lively discussion in the classroom. I suggested that they start drawing their understanding of texts and in this way, we would be able to take as a point of discussion their understanding of texts preserved in pictures. The idea partially worked. I say 'partially' because we ran into barriers - students who thought they couldn't draw were reluctant to get involved. It didn't matter if they could draw or not. It was not about that, but in the subjective opinion of the participants, it was an insurmountable barrier.

LEGO-LOGOS workshops - building ideas with Lego blocks

And then you've brought bricks to the class?

That's right. It turned out that all barriers were released. First of all, blocks were associated with fun and the students stopped being stressed. Secondly, the blocks made it possible to eliminate the differences between more and less artistically gifted people. In this way, boring philosophy classes have turned into the laughter of young people who enjoy their ingenuity and incessant chatter about what they have just read and created.

But you talk about students, adults, who can discipline themselves and even with toys in hand, they do not forget that they are in the class. How did this idea worked in primary and secondary schools? Do children, immersed in play, actually learn something about philosophy?

The meeting with Magdalena Bereska, a wonderful person and teacher, was an important second impulse here. When Magda saw me at work for the first time, she immediately said that it was a great idea for teaching philosophy not only at university but in just any school. And so, from word to the action, a week after our meeting, we organised the first classes at Magda's school. The idea turned out to be hit in the bull's eye and since then, since 2004, I have been developing the ΛΕΓΩ-ΛΟΓΟΣ method.

When I listen to you, it sounds to me like that creating a new methodology or any other thing, is very simple. Is it really so?

You also need an element of faith, an inner conviction that what you do is important and necessary. As a student, I had reading difficulties. Instead of helping me learn, the class teacher told me to read aloud in front of the whole class, even though she knew that I couldn't do it. In this way, it discouraged me from reading and studying for years. This was also reflected in this method - in such a way that the ΛΕΓΩ-ΛΟΓΟΣ classes help more withdrawn students to find their place within the group, help them learn to read, but most of all they give courage and make them strong. For me, therefore, it is not only learning philosophy but also helping those who have been thrown into a cave, imprisoned and struggling in it.

ΛΕΓΩ-ΛΟΓΟΣ are classes with a mission?

ΛΕΓΩ-ΛΟΓΟΣ method is like a Cambell’s myth, it’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, Morpheus, Albus Dumbledore - someone who comes to help, gives courage, but does not take the student out of the confrontation with the world. During the ΛΕΓΩ-ΛΟΓΟΣ class, the child (play) meets the adult (philosophical text). This collision throws a spark, gives the pupil the Prometheus torch, the sword of Skywalker. The mentor equips the learner with what is necessary to walk the path but does not walk that way for the learner. ΛΕΓΩ-ΛΟΓΟΣ is education towards independence.

Mali Rebelianci (Little Rebels) by Jarosław Marek Spychała - Philosophy built in Lego blocks - LEGO-LOGOS method

What you're describing looks more like a movie script than a lesson script. What happens during ΛΕΓΩ-ΛΟΓΟΣ class?

It really is. The ΛΕΓΩ-ΛΟΓΟΣ method is nothing more than a path through Plato's cave and thus contains in the monomyth, the nucleus of every good novel or movie, every journey that makes a child an adult, an ordinary person a superhero. The formula of the classes is very simple. The classes last 90 minutes and consist of two equal parts: in the first, the participants read the text and try to present their interpretation of the text read in a spatial form using plastic materials; in the second part of the course, participants present their works one by one and through a discussion try to find out the arguments for individual interpretations. A group of ten people takes part in the classes. Each of them occupies a separate stand, next to which there is, for example, a set of blocks (or, for example, clay). Participants receive the text that is the topic of the lesson. The participants' task is to read the text on their own (silently), and then represent it in the form of a construction made with the materials provided (ie Lego blocks), just as each of them understood it.

Is that's all?

This is just the beginning. Suddenly it turns out that although everyone had the same text, the same building blocks, everyone understood and built it differently. This astonishes many participants. The same astonishment, according to Plato and Aristotle, is the beginning of philosophising. It is also Campbell's call to adventure: Alice is surprised that the rabbit speaks with a human voice and runs after him to understand it - the student is surprised that her friend thinks differently and follows his or her voice. This is how the journey of students for the Golden Fleece begins, for the light that will allow them to leave the cave, leave the classroom, go outside, and thus see the world from a different perspective. And to see is to know.

Is this approach to education different to the average approach to learning in schools?