Philosophy for Children in Transition: Problems and Prospects

Philosophy for Children in Transition: Problems and Prospects

Philosophy for Children in Transition: Problems and Prospects

Philosophy for Children in Transition: Problems and Prospects

Synopsis

Philosophy for Children in Transition presents a diverse collection of perspectives on the worldwide educational movement of philosophy for children. Educators and philosophers establish the relationship between philosophy and the child, and clarify the significance of that relationship for teaching and learning today.
  • The papers present a diverse range of perspectives, problems and tentative prospects concerning the theory and practice of Philosophy for Children today
  • The collection familiarises an actual educational practice that is steadily gaining importance in the field of academic philosophy
  • Opens up discussion on the notion of the relationship between philosophy and the child

Excerpt

Inventive geniuses, such as Pestalozzi, Bronson Alcott, Rabindranath Tagore and Socrates himself, have inspired practices of teaching and learning fit for democracy: it is through them that children can become active, creative and curious citizens, capable of resisting authority and peer pressure; and there is, to this end, a contemporary source of practical guidance for teachers in the work that has become known as philosophy for children. This at least is the view expressed by Martha Nussbaum in her recent Not for Profit: Why Education Needs the Humanities (2010, Princeton University Press), a work in which she connects philosophy for children with the progressive tradition, with critical thinking, with Socratic pedagogy and with what she cares about most in the idea of a liberal education. She praises the pioneering insights of Matthew Lipman and Gareth Matthews into the capacity children have for interesting philosophical thought, and she commends the innovative resources in Lipman’s Harry Stottlemeier’s Discovery and its sequels. Not everyone can be an inventive genius, but here we have the methodology and curriculum materials that ordinary teachers need.

It is sad to record that, during the time that this special issue has been in preparation, both Lipman and Matthews have died, respectively on 26 December 2010 and on 17 April 2011. The tributes to them have been legion. Matthews’ ground-breaking work in thinking, writing and teaching about philosophy and children was disseminated in particular through three books—Philosophy and the Young Child (1980), Dialogues with Children (1984) and The Philosophy of Childhood (1994), all published by Harvard University Press—and his influence spread world-wide. Lipman’s considerable output and dedication to the cause originated, according to Douglas Martin in the New York Times obituary (14 January 2011), in the contentious years of the Vietnam War: Lipman had found that many Americans were having trouble presenting their views about the conflict cogently. This distressed him deeply and led him to the view that if the ability to think critically was not established in childhood, it would be unlikely later to flourish. Hence, he hit upon the idea of teaching philosophy to children, and the course that he developed spread, in its original or derivative forms, to more than 4,000 schools in the United States and more than sixty foreign countries, its materials translated into forty languages.

The legacy of this work is surely plain enough to see, in the various pedagogical movements that have sought to address philosophical questions with children, and in the increasing extent to which policy-makers are . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.