A Teacher's Guide to Philosophy for Children  book cover
1st Edition

A Teacher's Guide to Philosophy for Children

ISBN 9781138393264
Published June 25, 2019 by Routledge
190 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

A Teacher’s Guide to Philosophy for Children provides educators with the process and structures to engage children in inquiring as a group into ‘big’ moral, ethical and spiritual questions, while also considering curricular necessities and the demands of national and local standards.

Based on the actual experiences of educators in diverse and global classroom contexts, this comprehensive guide gives you the tools you need to introduce philosophical thinking into your classroom, curriculum and beyond. Drawing on research-based educational and psychological models, this book highlights the advantages gained by students who regularly participate in philosophical discussion: from building cognitive and social/emotional development, to becoming more informed citizens. Helpful tools and supplementary online resources offer additional frameworks for supporting and sustaining a higher level of thinking and problem-solving among your students.

This practical guide is essential reading for teachers, coaches and anyone wondering how you can effectively teach philosophy in your classroom.

Table of Contents

1. Introducing Thinking Through Philosophy

For Whom Is This Book Written?

Clarifying the Term ‘Philosophy for Children’

Teachers ‘Making a Difference’ Through Philosophical Inquiry

Philosophical Inquiry: Both ‘Practical’ and ‘Evidence Based’

A Psychological and Educational Perspective on a Philosophical Process

The Structure of This Book



2. Aims and Process of Philosophy for Children

What is Philosophy for Children?

What Makes an Inquiry Philosophical?

What Are the Aims of Philosophy for Children?

What Skills, Attitudes and Knowledge Do Teachers Need to Facilitate Inquiries?

Are Children Capable of Philosophical Thinking?

Developing Teachers’ Facilitation Skills

Does Inquiry Need to Be Philosophical?

Infusing Philosophical Inquiry into Other Subjects

Space for Philosophy for Children in a Crowded Curriculum

What This Chapter Has Been About



3. From Theory into Practice

The Need for a Structure

What is Philosophical Inquiry in Practical Terms?

What is a Community of Inquiry?

The Rational and Moral Dimensions

Skillful Questioning

Useful Strategies for Building the Inquiry

Thinking Development, Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual Intelligence

The Seven Steps to Philosophical Inquiry: Lesson Plan

The Three Stages of Development

Making a Start

What about Kindergarten?

Sample Themes

What Next?

Route Map for Introducing P4C Through TTP



4. From Small to Large: Different Contexts for Philosophical Inquiry

Lunch Club/After-School Club

A Single Class

Whole School

Beacon School

The School District Program

External Provision of P4C

College and Community




5. How Inquiry Promotes More Effective Learning

How Philosophical Inquiry Improves Learning

How Teachers Can Support Students Construct Their Thinking and Learning

Transfer Across Subject Boundaries and Beyond

Challenging Themes: An Example Beyond the Curriculum

Higher Order Thinking

Communities Support Learning

Theoretical Perspectives




6. Educating Students to Think: The Contribution of Philosophical Inquiry

What Are Some of the Issues Around Teaching Thinking?

Why Promote Thinking and Problem Solving in the Classroom?

Critical Thinking

Which Students Do We Teach to Think?

An Introduction to Logical Reasoning Skills

Creative Thinking

Intelligent Students!

The Challenge of Thinking



7. Communication, Dialogue and Social/Emotional Development

Thought and Feeling Are Inseparable

Can Philosophical Inquiry Help Re-Educate Emotions?

Parallels Between Philosophical Inquiry and ‘Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’

Participation, Communication and Social Wellbeing

Communication in the Classroom

Improving Communication and Dialogue in the Classroom




8. Does P4C Work? Evaluation Research

Why Evaluate the Effectiveness of Thinking Programs?

Placing Philosophy for Children Within Thinking Skills Interventions

Early Evaluation Studies of Philosophy for Children

Systematic Reviews of Philosophy for Children

Evaluation of the Thinking Through Philosophy Program

What Research Methods Are Best for Evaluating Effects of Philosophy for Children?


Overall Conclusions About the Effects of Philosophy for Children



9. Evaluating Philosophical Inquiry

Participant Perceptions


Research Design


Generalization and Maintenance

Analysis of Data

Evaluation Results Feedback and Dissemination



10. Truth, Democracy and Classroom Communities of Inquiry

Is Truth Problematic? Should Teachers Be Concerned?

Is There a Threat to Healthy Democracies?

Conspiracy Theorists and What Is Truth

Historical Concerns Over Truth

Concerns About Truth in Other Countries

What Can Be Done?

Cognitive Biases Complicate ‘Truth’

Overcoming Bias

A Brief Note on Philosophical Ideas About Truth

Concluding Comments on Participation and Democracy



11. Lessons Learned in Sustaining and Embedding

An Example

What You Need to Do

Habits and Dispositions


Cautionary Tales: Sustaining over Time

Skills for the World

Skills for the Future

Final Thoughts

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Keith J. Topping is Professor at the University of Dundee, UK.

Steven Trickey is Scholar in Residence at American University, USA.

Paul Cleghorn is an education consultant at Aude Education, UK.


"This book is aimed at teachers, leaders, and policy makers who are curious about introducing philosophy for children into schools. Anyone in this position could not do much better than to buy a copy of this book. It has been carefully put together by authors with expertise in philosophy for children, and practical experience of how schools and other educational settings work both in the United Kingdom and internationally."

-Jane Gatley, Educational Review