Transforming Thinking: Philosophical Inquiry in the Primary and Secondary Classroom, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Transforming Thinking

Philosophical Inquiry in the Primary and Secondary Classroom, 1st Edition

By Catherine C. McCall


226 pages

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Essential reading for anyone who seeks to prepare active citizens for the twenty-first century, this long-awaited book considers Philosophical Inquiry, an empowering teaching method that can lead to significant improvements in confidence and articulacy, and produce positive effects in other school activities and in interactions in the wider world.

Readers are guided through the creation of a Community of Philosophical Inquiry (CoPI) in the kindergarten, the classrooms of primary and secondary schools, the community centre and beyond, with practical ideas to make CoPI work. With examples ranging from five year old children to underachieving teenagers, and even senior citizens, the book shows how participation in a CoPI develops:

  • the skills of reasoning, critical and creative thinking
  • concept formation and judgment
  • the virtues of intellectual honesty and bravery.

Including chapters on the theory and development of Philosophical Inquiry, the creation of a community, and using CoPI with groups of different ages, this book forms essential reading for teachers, professionals and community workers.


"A wise, lucid and insightful book. I believe that Professor McCall’s work deserves wide attention – and, indeed, should one only have the time to spare to read one work from the ever-expanding literature on philosophy for children, I would heartily recommend this as the book to read." - David Carr, University of Edinburgh, UK, British Journal of Educational Studies

Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgements 1. Introduction 2. The Origins and Development of ‘Community of Philosophical Inquiry’ 3. The Theoretical Landscape 4. Philosophising with Five Year Olds 5. Creating a Community of Philosophical Inquiry [CoPI] with all ages 6. Different Methods of Group Philosophical Discussion 7. What you need to know to Chair a CoPI with Six to Sixteen Year olds 8. Implementing CoPI in Primary and Secondary Schools 9. CoPI, Citizenship, Moral virtue and Academic Performance with Primary and Secondary children 10. Afterword Bibliography

About the Author

Catherine C. McCall is President of SOPHIA, the European Foundation for Doing Philosophy with Children, and a member of the Advisory Committee of the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children (ICPIC). She trains teachers and other professionals in implementing Philosophical Inquiry at Strathclyde University, and delivers professional development through CoPI for a diverse range of groups.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Elementary
EDUCATION / Secondary
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects