2015 PLATO Conference Program with abstracts and bios
Monday, June 29
Bagels and fruit, coffee and tea available at 8:30 am
Keynote Address by Jonathan Kozol 9:00 – 10:30 am
Walker Ames Room, Kane Hall
The Big Questions Are Already There in the Hearts of Children
The Role of Philosophy in the Classrooms of Our Public Schools in an Age when Standardized Instruction is Crowding out the Domain of Inquiry
Jonathan Kozol received the National Book Award in Science, Philosophy, and Religion for Death at an Early Age; the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Rachel and Her Children; and countless other honors for Savage Inequalities,Amazing Grace, and his most recent writings about poverty and justice. When he’s not with children and their teachers in classrooms, he is likely to be found at colleges and universities, where he lectures on the urgent need to let our children ask the big questions – – including questions about ethics and identity and how we frame our purpose in life – – that are often already in their hearts.
Concurrent Sessions I: 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Elementary School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 241
Chair: Janice Moskalik, University of Washington
Just How Fantastic Was Fantastic Mr. Fox? A Case Study of An 8-week Philosophy Café for Elementary School Students – Kate Kennedy White, Director of Kinder Philosophy, Australia
This presentation examines in detail one case study running an after school Philosophy Café. It looks at the expectations, details what actually happened and evaluates what was learnt. The initial group of 14 children from 7 to 11 included students who were seasoned philosophers and others who had never been exposed to Philosophy. This called for new approaches and new discoveries. The plan was to take an eight-week journey through the Roald Dahl novel – Fantastic Mr. Fox shadowed always by the overarching question Just how Fantastic was Fantastic Mr. Fox? The presentation outlines each week’s planned themes and the free flowing activities that followed often suggested by the students. It shows how their engagement and energy grew as they worked towards the day of reckoning – being judge and jury on Mr. Fox. And what did they decide? For that you’ll have to wait. But also buried beneath the popcorn and the chaos, the group engaged in serious philosophic discussions on topics including judgments, rights, ownership, reality, hopes and dreams, knowing, believing and ethics. The presentation will also touch on follow up Cafes identifying other themes and topics including the very successful ‘Recreating Utopia’ inspired by the Thomas More text and ‘Are you a cousin to a carrot’ a discussion on evolution inspired by the Tree of Life poster. There were many surprises. But the Café’s demonstrated the opportunity for those who do not have regular access to kids or do not have the opportunity to practice within their schools.
“Draw a brave person!” – “Um, That’s a rainbow”: The Challenges (and Benefits) of Doing Philosophy with Young English Language Learners – Sara Goering, University of Washington
Philosophical communities of inquiry offer an opportunity for children to explore deep questions that engage their imagination and matter in their lives. Yet communities of inquiry typically rely on verbal articulation of perspectives, and for children who are just learning the language of the predominant culture, participation can be challenging. In this talk, I relay some of my adventures in doing philosophy in Kindergarten classrooms with groups that include a significant number of English language learners. My aim is to explore how this sometimes challenging population benefits from philosophical communities of inquiry despite and sometimes because of their language and cultural diversity.
Middle School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 251
Chair: Wendy Turgeon, St. Joseph’s College
Philosothons: An Inclusive Event That Engages Students in Philosophical Discussion – Susan Paff, Northern New South Wales, Australia, and Michelle Rocca and Bonnie Zuidland, Victoria, Australia
Our presentation will focus on how to promote and organize a Philosothon (Grades 5/6 and Middle/High School) from three different perspectives: through a Gifted and Talented program (S. Paff), through Philosophy Club (M. Rocca) and through Secondary Philosophy courses.(B. Zuidland). A Philosothonis not only an event that encourages school students to investigate ethical and other philosophical questions by method of ‘Communities of Inquiry’,it is an unforgettable experience for all involved! In addition to supporting students in their development of higher order thinking and reasoning skills, participating in this event utilizes set topics for collaboration through discussion with students from other schools, strengthening social and communication skills. While there is an element of competition in a Philosothon, it aims to promote a sense of community by developing a shared understanding of values and purposes in a spirit of cooperation. It also develops skills in inquiry-based learning, ethical reasoning, higher-order reflective thinking and a search for meaning through dialogue about open questions and contestable concepts. We will share our experiences as classroom teachers of Philosophy in Australian schools and how to provide and equal opportunity for students to participate in Philosothons. We will detail our experiences in organizing the event within our respective schools as well as how to gain support from P4C academics and other professionals in the local community, as well as from public institutions such as the National Gallery.
Philosophy You Can See and Touch: How to Enhance the Visual and Tactile Experience of Inquiry for Children – Natalie M. Fletcher, Concordia University
How can Philosophy for Children (P4C) approaches be adapted to extracurricular contexts where playfulness and fun trump seriousness? This proposed workshop is intended for educators and philosophical practitioners who are interested in thinking more systematically about the tensions and affinities between play and work in philosophical inquiry, and who want to enhance the interactive dimensions of their P4C practice. The workshop will present several techniques for adding visual, tactile dimensions to philosophical inquiry in ways that strive for equity by attempting to even out the playing field between different ages, skill sets, learning styles and cultural backgrounds. Inspired by lessons from philosophical camps and workshops, it will demonstrate how children’s first encounter with philosophy can be lighthearted and quirky but no less impactful, presupposing that if philosophy is meant to help us live better and part of living better is toying with the complexity of concepts, playfulness is a key part of waxing philosophical. The activities presented will accentuate the collaborative, self-corrective nature of P4C dialogue so that children do not feel the pressures to present fully fledged, incontrovertible positions, but rather try their best at working together, taking risks with their thoughts, maintaining a humble, open-minded attitude, and developing thick skin in the face of dialogue frustrations so that they evolve their conception of “fun” to include endeavours that are challenging but rewarding.
High School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 271
Chair: Allison Cohen, Langley High School, Virginia
Building a Philosophy Program Through Solitude and Collaboration – Diana Senechal, Columbia Secondary School, New York
To create a high school philosophy program, one needs both solitude and collaboration. Solitude allows one to think through the content and activities, imagine possibilities, and reflect on past lessons, events, and experiences. Collaboration allows for dialogue, mutual influence, and broad participation. Although collaboration is often held up as the greater good, it cannot function well—in school or anywhere else—without a counterpart of solitude. When creating a high school philosophy program at Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science & Engineering in New York City, I saw the work become more collaborative over time without losing its important solitary aspects. Over the course of three years, a bare curricular outline evolved into a full course sequence (taught by multiple teachers), a tradition of philosophy roundtables (involving students, parents, staff, and guests), and a student-created philosophy journal, which expanded to include contributors from around the world. The program nonetheless depends on each person’s capacity and willingness to think independently and to diverge from the group when necessary. This presentation examines the roles of solitude and collaboration in our philosophy program and in education overall.
Establishing an Ethos of Inquiry – Carl Rosin, Radnor High School, Pennsylvania
The task faced by a pre-college philosophy teacher is complicated by the way American schooling tends to transform an educative instinct into an achievement instinct. Achievement is fine, but education works best when achievement is a by-product of inquiry, not the end itself. The purpose of this presentation is to explain one teacher’s attempts to draw on students’ natural (if suppressed) curiosity to challenge assumptions and promote an ethos of inquiry.The construction of an arc through ideas/topics — instead of an arc through history or philosophers — shows how our philosophy class is oriented. Our arc starts where the students are, with a unit on philosophies of education. Then we move on through study of ethics, truth/logic/argument, and aesthetics. Along the way, the students gain experience handling exciting, useful tools and terminology, during unit lessons and Open Discussion Fridays: dialectical thinking; significant distinctions; thought experiments; premises; necessary and sufficient conditions; analogy; avoiding logical fallacy; absolutism vs. relativism; objective, subjective, and normative claims.When motivation is mainly instrumental, students and teachers alike can be subject to a gradual calcification of their native sense of wonder. Emerson wrote, “few adult persons can see nature…. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child.” We teachers of philosophy have a opportunity to tap back into that dormant resource. The question is, How can we make the most of that opportunity?
Theoretical Issues Track, Mary Gates Hall room 231
Chair: Susan Gardner, Capilano University
Blending Pre-College Philosophy with New Movements in Education – Amy Leask, Enable Education/Enable Publishing
The education sphere is full of new trends and movements which focus on promoting innovation, inclusivity, and personalized learning. Although pre-college philosophy supports all of these goals, it isn’t always adopted into curriculum as a subject unto itself. What’s more, because educators are often bound to follow a prescribed program, philosophy runs the risk of being overlooked altogether. This presentation will explore ways in which pre-college philosophy may prove a useful partner for emerging approaches to teaching and learning, and may gain reach and recognition through these partnerships. We will briefly outline a number of recent developments in 21st century learning (STEM, BYOD, New Literacy, MOOCs, etc.), focusing on the specific teaching and learning objectives of each.
Philosophical Inquiry in Teacher Education – Debi Talukdar, University of Washington
How does participating in a community of philosophical inquiry affect teachers’ perception of the larger purposes of education, their own teaching practice, and themselves as professionals?Teachers are primarily framed as doers today, in a top-down answer-centered system. However, this often discounts the power and agency teachers have as critical thinkers. Foundational questions such as “What is the purpose of education?” challenge teachers to think about their practice and relate them to broader societal issues. Teaching has been reduced to a technical skill, when it should be aimed towards helping an individual make sense of themselves, others, and the world. By deconstructing and reflecting on the broader landscape that teachers are part of, they are able to better serve their students’ diverse needs by being more mindful of their personal philosophies on teaching and education. This paper demonstrates how philosophical inquiry can facilitate this process. It is an analysis of a monthly professional learning community that that uses philosophical inquiry to help a group of teachers make sense of various issues that are at work within the larger education system, and their relationships to these issues. It is empowering to make meaning of your own positionality, and in light of recent trends in teacher education, there is a lack of focus on educating our teachers to be more than just technical professionals. The paper concludes with a call to rethink teacher education towards preparing teachers as empowered change agents in the agenda for social justice.
12:15-1:30 pm Lunch (on your own)
From 12:15-12:50, Tom Wartenberg will present and discuss the PBS documentary Big Ideas for Little Kids, which is about his college course and has been nominated for a regional Emmy – Mary Gates Hall Commons (135)
Concurrent Sessions II: 1:30 – 2:45 pm
Elementary School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 241
Chair: Natalie M. Fletcher, Concordia University
The Straw that Breaks the Camel’s Back? Arguing for the Inclusion of Philosophy in the Already Over-stretched English Primary Curriculum – Rhiannon Love, University of Winchester
England is at a pivotal moment in recent education policy with the introduction of the new National Curriculum. It was initially viewed with suspicion (and some degree of horror) by practitioners, uneasy about the radical departure from the previous National Curriculum, in both breadth and scope of the content. However, this paper will suggest that upon further reflection the brevity of the content could lend itself to a total re-evaluation of the approach to curriculum planning in individual schools. This paper will explore how, far from creating a burden of extra curriculum content, Philosophy for Children can in fact be the driver for the whole primary curriculum. With the renewed focus on SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development) in England, it will investigate the potential for P4C to engage and enhance these areas, which often are neglected or side-lined in the primary curriculum. It will consider the benefits to a class, and indeed school, of creating communities of enquiry and how they can influence school ethos, values and vision. The paper will share examples of good practice from three primary schools where Philosophy for Children has been successfully integrated in a variety of models across the whole school curriculum. In addition it will share reflections from student teachers, who have completed an 8 week Option module in Philosophy for Children, on the impact they feel it has had on their emerging teacher identity.
Agora, Leeds Philosophy Exchange – Grace Robinson, University of Leeds
This session comprises a short film that introduces ‘Leeds Philosophy Exchange’ a project, now in its third year, where undergraduate and postgraduate philosophy students are trained to plan and facilitate philosophical inquiry with primary school children and their teachers. Conceived as an exchange of knowledge and skills, this collaboration gives students, teachers, and children the autonomy and equity to direct their own philosophical enquires. The film introduces the children, students, and teachers participating in Leeds Philosophy Exchange as they engage in community of philosophical inquiry for the first time. We see early philosophical inquiry in the primary classroom, students training at the university and the large public enquiries that conclude the first phase of the project – events where pupils and students confidently take the reigns. After the film, there will be an informal Q&A and/or inquiry with the project leader Grace. During this discussion, delegates can find out how this kind of work fits into the undergraduate and primary school curriculum in the UK. All colleagues are welcome to consider the possibilities for similar collaborations in their own settings as well as sharing news of comparable ventures in the US.
Middle School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 251
Chair: Sara Goering, University of Washington
The Play’s the Thing: Why Two-minute Plays, and Role Play Simulations Can Be Exciting Alternatives to Children’s Books as Discussion Prompts – Paul Bodin and Anna Cook, University of Oregon
When we first began leading philosophical discussions with fourth and fifth graders, we chose some of the “classic” children’s stories to introduce topics, stories like “Dragons and Giants” for bravery, “Owl and the Moon” for qualities of friendship, and “The Name Jar” to explore identity and conformity. But along with the use of picture books, my undergraduate students and I started collaborating on two-minute plays to explore ethical questions like, “Is it always wrong to lie?” and “What does it mean to be a girl or a boy?” Soon, we wrote scripts to replace some of the illustrated book stories as well. The children’s reactions were immediate. Well-written scripts, performed by the students themselves in an impromptu “stage” in the middle of a seated circle, became our go-to prompts for getting discussions started. For example, instead of Frog and Toad experiencing fear and courage in Arnold Lobel’s sweet story, three fictional children shared competing tales about the bravery of an aunt, an older brother or, in a surprise twist, in their own life. In this workshop, we will read out loud several of our scripts and give advice on how discussion leaders can work with classroom teachers to create successful performances. We will also describe a recent four-day role play unit in which fourth graders participated in a fictional town hall meeting to problem-solve an environmental crisis in their community; and how role plays can be powerful catalysts for philosophical discussions.
Using Film to Teach Philosophy in Middle School – Thomas Wartenberg, Mount Holyoke College
This workshop on teaching philosophy in middle school will focus on the What’s the Big Idea? website that features clips from popular films to initiate discussions of five significant ethical issues: bullying, lying, peer pressure, environmental ethics, and friendship. In addition to an explanation of how to use the website, the workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to share their experiences teaching philosophy in middle school. To begin, the various elements of the site will be explained so that teachers will understand how it is intended to be used. I will then explain the method to be used to direct student discussions of the ethical issues. The importance of letting the children discuss the issues among themselves with careful prompting by the facilitator will be a central focus. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss one of the ethical issues raised by one of the clips on the site. Liar Liar is a very funny film that raises questions about the validity of the ethical maxim, “Always tell the truth.” The aim of this workshop is to give teachers real, hands on experience of a middle-school philosophy discussion. This will be an interactive workshop, with teachers having time to discuss their reactions to the materials I demonstrate as well as the opportunity to present their own experiences of leading philosophical discussions as well as any worries they have about so doing.
High School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 271
Chair: Karen Emmerman, University of Washington
Academic Engagement in Perspectives: Broadening The Organization of Student-led Equitable Philosophical Inquiry – Stacey Cabrera and Hira Shah, Mira Costa High School, California
Philosophy finds limited exposure in the secondary classroom despite schools’ emphasis on ‘college-readiness. Instead, it is limited to select teachers’ interests, embedded in individual lesson plans, units, or student-based clubs. This systemic problem begs the question: what can we do to provide students with a specific, interactive, and academic environment for advancing interest in philosophy prior to college enrollment? Mira Costa High School of Manhattan Beach CA has recently begun an after-school program called “Young Philosophers Society.” Students are invited to participate through lectures, discussions, and group activities, ultimately working toward the goal of invitations to guest speakers, coordination of college visitations, and the establishment of partnerships with philosophical societies. Mira Costa will also offer a semester English course seminar next year entitled “Philosophy in Literature,” further expanding philosophical education and promoting “YPS” membership for further philosophical inquiry. The future vision would be to expand ‘YPS’ to a non-profit group, and include educators and organizations interested in common goals: thematic and inquiry-based education and curriculum development. An example of such action could be the production of a yearly student-designed Academic Conference modeled after graduate and professional conferences, in which students submit, propose, present, and discuss their own work. This kind of philosophical activity on such a wide scale – coupled with an organizational push for grants, scholarships, and equal opportunity – could give all students the chance to have those first-hand experiences through the promotion of philosophical interest and dialogue with others across the country.
Socratic Aporia in the Classroom and the Development of Resilience – Stephen Kekoa Miller, Oakwood Friends School & Marist College, New York
I’d like to talk about the value of unlearning, of undoing, of disruption. Especially in the early dialogues of Plato, Socrates famously takes his interlocutors on a journey that at least initially appears to end in failure: at the dialogue’s conclusion, there seems to be no answer to the questions that inspired the conversation. There has been a lot of recent debate about the so-called Socratic method and accusations that it may be deflating, resulting in less, rather than more original thought in students such as the work of Jacques Rancière. Adding to this the contemporary trends towards emphasis on content over skill building in education, and the use of questioning as an educational tool can seem problematic indeed. How can one answer the question of what philosophy actually teaches? It is precisely because of its problematic, risky and disruptive nature that Socratic aporia works so well in the classroom. Resilience, grit and hard work in the face of failure have increasingly been shown to correlate with both higher levels of success and subjectively reported levels of happiness. The trait of resilience is trainable. Socratic irony, disruption, and aporia offer one of the best methods of frequent, low-risk opportunities for students to grapple with failure. Of course, the scariest part is that genuine Socratic questioning eposes the teacher’s unknowing as well.
Theoretical Issues Track, Mary Gates Hall room 231
Chair: Jessica Davis, Teachers College, Columbia University
The Inventive Schoolmaster: We Invent or We Err – Walter Omar Kohan, State University of Rio de Janeiro
Nineteenth century Venezuelan philosopher and educator Simón Rodríguez provides us with inspiration to experience philosophy in schools. For Rodriguez a teacher is someone who goes to school so that an equal experience of free time (scholé) can be practiced in such an institution. The four characteristics that constitute the task of such a teacher, according to Rodriguez, are: adventuresomeness, invention, equality, and irreverence. These ideas can inspire us to think about the position and task of a teacher, as someone who is open to change (in the sense of not being fixed), who inventes rather than imitates, who presupposes that all her students are equally capable of learning and who puts into question the established (educational) order. In this workshop, after a short introduction, I´ll propose a number of “thinking exercises” starting from some of Rodriguez’s favorites phrases (“we invent or we err”) (“all that I do not invent is false”) as texts for questioning and dialogue. We´ll engage in some motivational activities first and then involve in a dialogue with these phrases, individually and in small groups. The session aims to provoke a philosophical experience that has to do with reading (a text), questioning, dialoguing and inventing concepts.
From Equality to Dialogue – Keren Sadan, The Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University
In January 2014, Adam Verete, an Israeli HS teacher was suspended due to a complaint alleging that he claimed in class that the Israeli army (IDF) is immoral. This raised a number of questions, old and new: Are teachers allowed to declare their political stances in schools? Can the IDF actions be deemed immoral? (Which is a version of an older question: can the IDF be criticized at all?) And perhaps the oldest question overall: are there subjects that ought to be excluded from public debate? Taking cue from the questions this case invokes, this paper examines the relation between equality, dialogue and inquiry. The common assumption of P4C is that equality conditions the possibility of philosophical dialogue and inquiry. There is supposed to be equality – as members in community of inquiry – between the participants of the inquiry in order to allow radical openness to the inquiry, one that welcomes all participants and all questions – i.e., diversity and differences. My claim, however, is the exact opposite. I claim that we can never begin with equality, let alone strive for equality, if we aim to include differences and diversity of either participants or topics. Drawing on Burbules, Ellsworth and Irigaray, and my own experiences as a philosophy teacher of 7th and 10th graders, I demonstrate how the assumption of equality fails to fulfill its promise and, moreover, how the ideal of equality leads to the sort of anti-critical thinking exemplified by the above mentioned suspension. By contrast, I demonstrate how starting dialogue and philosophical inquiry from differences (rather than the presupposition of equality), rescues us from this failure and opens up the way to a new understanding of what equality means.
Coffee and snacks available at 2:45 pm – Mary Gates Hall Commons (135)
At 2:50 pm, Jana Mohr Lone and Sara Goering will present the 15-minute film Philosophical Children, showcasing children engaged in philosophical inquiry in classes lead by the UW Center for Philosophy for Children – Mary Gates Hall Commons (135)
Concurrent Sessions III: 3:15 – 4:30 pm
Elementary School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 241
Chair: Chris Ng, San Francisco Bay Area Outreach
Philosophy for Easily Distracted Third Graders: “Philosopher Kids” at the Good Shepherd School of New Orleans – Jon Altschul, Loyola University:
Disruptive behavior marks one the biggest differences between philosophy classes held at the college level and those held at the elementary school level. Young children are easily distracted, and for this reason, they are less able and willing than young adults to participate in a reasoned conversation among their peers for an extended time. At “Philosopher Kids,” a philosophy education program directed at underserved, diverse, youth in New Orleans, we have faced several unique challenges of teaching philosophy to easily distracted third graders.In this workshop, we will outline a number of our solutions and share ideas for keeping the children’s interest and attention throughout the lesson.
Philosophical Bookends: Beginning and Ending Philosophy Lessons for College Students and Second Graders in the Same Way – David Shapiro, Cascadia College and the University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children
In this interactive presentation, I will demonstrate (and involve participants) in exercises and activities that I have used to start and end philosophy lessons for both college students (in philosophy classes and in a class to teach college students the theory and practice of doing philosophy with pre-college students) and elementary school students (usually second graders, but other grades, including high-school students, as well). I plan to present a variety of different strategies I’ve used to enter in to philosophy lessons, especially a series of “mind warm-ups” I’ve developed for use with early grade school students. I will expand upon the use of these warm-ups in both second grade classes and college classes, trying to illuminate the similarities and differences in doing these exercises with the differently-aged constituencies. After exploring these various methods of beginning lessons, I will transition into a presentation of various techniques I have used to draw such lessons to a close. In particular, I will emphasize the use of a fill-in-the-blank “poem” technique that I’ve commonly used in pre-college classrooms. Expanding on the “book-end” idea, I will also discuss how I’ve used the same methodology with college students, and again, will compare how the result of this practice yields different and similar results.
High School Track
Session 1, Mary Gates Hall room 251
Chair: Steve Goldberg, Oak Park and River Forest High School, Chicago
The Usefulness (or not) of Teaching Normative Ethical Theory in Pre-College Philosophy – Vanya Kovach, Discipline of Philosophy, University of Auckland, New Zealand and Philosophy for Children New Zealand
Most undergraduate ethics teaching at “Western” universities includes a focus on traditional theories of normative ethics – Utilitarianism, Deontology and sometimes Virtue Ethics. I invite participants to explore with me the advantages and disadvantages of also including this material in pre-college philosophy courses. We will also look at the pros and cons of using instead “ethical inquiry questions”, that are drawn from a range of theoretical approaches to ethics, but are detached from them, as a way of facilitating a more pluralist and pragmatist approach to ethics.
The Philosophical Relevance of Rhinocerotidae – Ron Gunczler and Nicholas Pape, Columbia Secondary School, New York
Philosophy education is being disrupted by superficial notions of relevance, and compromised by the clamor for philosophy curricula to be “relevant” in the vaguest sense. However admirable the underlying intent, the effort to increase philosophy’s relevance is hindered by a mistaken, flawed, or absent definition of the word. Due to the lack of a concrete idea of relevance, discussions tend to fall back on a default definition that equates relevance with immediacy or practicality. While applauding the desire to make philosophy more relatable to students, we reject the assumption that relevance and immediacy are interchangeable; we propose an alternative concept of relevance: philosophy education is relevant when it provides a student with new angles and new ways of thinking. We illustrate this definition with examples from the media and classroom and explore how our conception of relevance could open up possibilities for philosophy instruction now and in the future.
Session 2, Mary Gates Hall room 271
Chair: Di’Anna Duran, University of Washington
Citizen-Students: Using Social Contract Theory to Foster an Inclusive and Cooperative Classroom – James R. Davis, Boston University Academy
In this workshop, I will explain and then simulate with participants how I use Locke’s social contract theory to empower students to govern their own classroom. By applying Locke’s theories on the state of nature, natural rights, and consent, students write their own classroom constitution in order to establish their own set of rights and obligations to themselves and to the class. This activity challenges students to consider and debate the goals of their education and how they can create a classroom community that supports these goals. Furthermore, since everyone in the class is responsible for creating this community, students realize quickly that in order to write the best constitution, they need to argue in order to convince their peers of their positions. Lastly, as students argue for and vote on their constitution, they must inevitably address a number of political and philosophical problems, such as the danger of creating a tyranny of the majority, the meaning of rights, and the issue of how to enforce their classroom contract. Indeed, students often conclude that a classroom that is most conducive to their educational goals is one that is based on mutual respect and inclusivity. During this workshop, participants will go through an abbreviated version of this activity in order to see how they might beneficially use this technique in their own courses.
Teaching Political Economy in the High School Classroom – Michael Schleeter , Pacific Lutheran University
In this paper, I will argue that a basic education in the branch of philosophy that has come to be called “political economy”—the branch of philosophy that deals with the different ways in which societies can organize their economies as well as with the different values these different ways express and promote—can and should begin well before college and I will outline some strategies for teaching it in the high school classroom, strategies which have been adapted from those I have developed for teaching political economy in my college level business ethics classes to students with no background in philosophy or economics over the past five years. In particular, I will outline some strategies for teaching the philosophy of the first great political economist, Adam Smith, as it is developed in his magnum opus An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, and specifically its account of the causes of economic inequality both within and between nations. Given the high degree of economic inequality that exists within the United States relative to other developed nations and the even higher degree of economic inequality that exists between developed nations and developing nations, a basic knowledge of the causes of such inequality would seem to be necessary for active economic citizens of all ages.
Theoretical Issues Track, Mary Gates Hall room 231
Chair: Bridget DuRuz, University of Washington
Authenticity: It Should and Can Be Nurtured – Susan T. Gardner, Capilano University, and Daniel Anderson, Vancouver Institute of Philosophy for Children and Think Fun Camps
In answer to the question of why precisely we want our students to change the way they think, the authors argue that the goal ought to be “authenticity,” and, by referring to authors in the fields of philosophy, psychology and neuroscience, they argue that we can nudge one another toward that goal through what they refer to as the “language of freedom” in an environment in which individuals become entangled in matrices of interpersonal reasoned interaction which are both engaged and objective.
Poetry and Truth: Inviting Children to Think About Animals and Experience – Wendy C. Turgeon, St. Joseph’s College
Ted Hughes’ What is the Truth? Offers a long poem which crosses the borders between children’s book and adult philosophical treatise as Hughes and the illustrator R. J. Lloyd offer us a poetic/visual search for truth by God and his Son through encounters with animals and humans. Using the lens of a small farming village, we are given a poetical tour of the “truth” as found in the clashing and cooperating worlds of animals and humans. From the perspectives of the humans we see animals as tools, foes, companions, and as flashes of a mysterious beauty. But the poet and artist also invite us into the imagined interiority of different animals, wild and domestic, as they finds themselves in a phenomenological encounter with the world. Can art/poetry offer us a key to glimpsing the world as lived by the fox, the rat, the cow, or the swallow? What message might there be for us humans in recognizing the face of the animal “other”? Can we use poetry such as Hughes’s to prompt philosophical mediation on animality, humanity, and our shared world? This session will combine a short presentation on the ways in which Hughes accesses animal experience as relational to human experience. The attendees will be invited to interact with the text in exploring ways that this particular work (and perhaps, poetry in general) can encourage philosophical inquiry into the nature of animals, humans, and our interrelationships. This text could be used with elementary through high school levels and that makes it a particularly rich source for reflective consideration.
4:30-6 pm Drinks and light appetizers – Mary Gates Hall Commons
Tuesday, June 30
Bagels and fruit, coffee and tea available at 8:30 am
9:00–10:30 am Fishbowl Session: The Goals of Precollege Philosophy
Mary Gates Hall Commons (135)
This session will be devoted to an interactive group discussion about some of the central issues pertaining to pre-college philosophy and its future. Fishbowl discussions generally begin with brief framing comments from a pre-selected group; following these initial comments, attendees are encouraged to step forward and actively participate in the discussion, whether by raising a question or offering a comment or idea for the group to consider. The discussion then proceeds in dialogic fashion. In our fishbowl session, a group of faculty, teachers, and students who are all involved in pre-college philosophy initiatives will offer framing comments.
Some initial questions for group consideration will include:
- As a community of philosophers, teachers, and students, what should serve as (some) common guiding goals for pre-college philosophy over the next 5 years?
- What makes for a successful pre-college philosophy class, project, or program? By what terms, goals, or metrics do we understand or measure the success (or failure) of this work with children? With teachers? In schools more generally?
Facilitated by Michael Burroughs, Rock Ethics Institute, Pennsylvania State University
Concurrent Sessions IV: 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Elementary School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 241
Chair: Mark Balawender, Michigan State University
Philosophy for Children and Ecocritical Pedagogy – Ezgi Sertler, Michigan State University
In this paper, I discuss how children’s environmental literature inspired by ecocritical pedagogy (or ecopedagogy) could contribute to afterschool philosophy programs for children, in general, and the “Big Ideas for All Ages” program run by the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH) at Michigan State University, in particular. My project has two components, a theoretical and a practical one. First, I want to suggest that using ecocritical children’s literature for engaging elementary school students in philosophical discussion might help us to build a bridge between conversations on social and political philosophy and environmental philosophy in afterschool programs. This is because eco-critical pedagogy focusing on the “narratives of connection, community, and interdependence among humans, animals, and the natural world” (Greta Gaard, 2009, 327) might provide unique perspectives of “what type of social and political arrangements are legitimate.” (Thomas Wartenberg, 2009, 73). Following this suggestion, I want to focus on the program at RCAH (Michigan State University) and look at how the philosophical discussions with third and fourth graders might unfold if some ecocritical children’s literature is introduced to the program. I will investigate whether books such as Buddy Unchained, Abigail the Happy Whale, The Harvest Birds, etc. could establish the connection between social and political philosophy and environmental philosophy that we hope to build in our philosophical conversations with elementary school students.
Philosophy and Endless Connections: Weaving Philosophy into the Curriculum and Everyday Life – Lin Josephson, South Mountain Elementary School, New Jersey
Learning is built on a stream of connections. Philosophy, with its inherent “how to think, not what to think” nature gives us unlimited possibilities to not only connect to the curriculum, but to every child in his or her everyday life. In this workshop, you will see specific ways you can intertwine philosophy into elementary classroom subjects. From math and science to art and literacy, the classroom is a gold mine for philosophical thinking. For example, the metacognition that students use when they read —“thinking about thinking” mirrors and transfers over to the “thinking about thinking” foundation of a philosophical inquiry. With some thought and a little creativity, philosophy can be seamlessly integrated into your curriculum, while reinforcing the essential thinking skills that are crucial to classroom subjects. Examples of how to make philosophy relevant to the lives of your students — in and out of school — will also be part of the workshop. Let your students see that the same logic they use in philosophy, science and math can also help them, for example, win an argument with their parents to extend their bedtimes. Ideas for hands-on lessons that enhance a variety of skills — from listening to critical thinking — will also be shared. Experience a hands-on brainstorming exercise designed for your students, and find out why they may be better at it than you.
Middle School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 251
Chair: Thomas Wartenberg, Mount Holyoke College
Building Peace, from Mali to Michigan – Stephen L. Esquith, Michigan State University
This essay describes a local dialogue program designed to achieve justice, truth, and reconciliation in response to the violent coup and occupation in Mali in 2012-13. It is inspired by Tom Wartenberg’s Big Ideas for Little Kids work and the work of John Hunter and the World Peace Game Foundation. The program revolves around a local version of the World Peace Game which we call the Mali Peace Game and which we are adapting for use in cities in Michigan as well. The program began with a five-weekpilot projectin Kati, Mali in July 2014ledby Michigan State University faculty and students in collaboration with teachers from the Institute for Popular Education and the Ciwara School. Then, in September 2014 the principal partners developed an interdisciplinary program with 8th and 9th grade students at the Ciwara School, culminating in 15-week peace education program included an interactive peace game and the creation of bogolan fabrics, comic books, and theatre skits by the students. The program culminated in a local dialogue forum with 40 students and 40 adult community participants in which the students presented their work and discussed the issues of peace and justice with the other attendees. The program is being expanded to include younger students using bilingual story books composed by teachers and students, and the interactive peace game is being extended to other schools in Mali and in Michigan.
Philosophy with Children and Adolescents and Virtual Memorial Sites – Arie Kizel, Haifa University, Israel
This presentation offers an analysis of an expanded philosophical discourse that took place with groups of children and adolescents who had experienced loss in their families or their communities and who were partners in writing texts on memorial sites or had established websites as part of coping with the loss. This presentation seeks to offer a narrative analysis of the philosophical discourse and to contribute to an expansion of the discussion regarding the connection between Philosophy with Children and its methods (such as Community of Inquiry) and the social networks where entire lives involving philosophical dimensions are conducted. The presentation will analyze the concept of continuous life. According to this perception, life, in the spiritual and emotional sense, doesn’t end with their relative’s physical death and the memory is flexible and challenges Philosophy with Children. Among these issues were the important and intimate relationship with the deceased, his memory, and his heritage, the possibility to perpetuate and engage in an ongoing dialogue with the deceased over the span of years, and the environmental pressures to end this contact due to others’ fears that it would harm the young people. Throughout the philosophical discussions, the yearning to continue the contact with the image of the deceased and to carry out a process of “continuous life” were repeatedly heard.
High School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 271
Chair: James Davis, Boston University Academy, Boston
Older and Younger Students “Doing” Philosophy Together – Edwin Marks, William Penn Charter School, Philadelphia
As we all know, High School and College students enjoy engaging in philosophical discussions. But Middle and Elementary School students also like to discuss philosophical topics, even if they are not sure what the word “philosophy” means. This workshop is offered for High School teachers interested providing their students with opportunities to engage younger students in philosophical discussions. The workshop will include both an overview of a course designed to foster such discussions followed by an open discussion to share ideas, experiences, and questions. The overview will address the preparation that High School students will need to facilitate discussions with younger children. The overview will also include a list of possible philosophical topics and the “initiators” that might be used to spark discussion at different grade levels. In addition, the overview will identify not only the benefits but also some of the challenges that might arise when older students work with younger students. Finally, the overview will model a lesson. A sharing of ideas to further engage students in discussion of philosophical topics will follow the overview. The course, which provides the context for the workshop, was inspired by the work of Professor Tom Wartenberg of Mount Holyoke College.
“We are philosophers!” The Kailua High Complex’s K-12 Philosophical Schooling Experience – Chad Miller, University of Hawaii Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education
Twice a year I take Kailua High School (KHS) philosophers on a visit to Waimanalo School to facilitate inquiries with 250 elementary and intermediate students. This marks the third year these students “do” philosophy together and, like previous years, it was a life changing experience for many. For example, as the high school students reflected on their experience, Kepa, a sophomore, said, “Lately, I wondered if my life had purpose or if I had anything to offer my community. Today, I realized my life is worthwhile. I am a philosopher and have something to offer my community.” As dramatic as Kepa’s “aha” may appear, it is just the tip of the p4c Hawai‘i iceberg. What started as a p4c experiment in one classroom at KHS, has sparked a revolution that has radically transformed the identity of our community’s schools, teachers, and students. The Dalai Lama even came to KHS to do philosophy with our students! How does this happen? How does a “disadvantaged” community that predominately consists of Native Hawaiian students become a complex whose vision is to create “mindful, philosophical thinkers prepared to pursue their goals and create positive change in the world”? The purpose of my presentation is to share how the Kailua High Complex and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education have made philosophy a central aspect of our students’ schooling experience. The aim is to highlight how p4c can be utilized as a tool for meaningful educational reform.
Theoretical Issues Track, Mary Gates Hall room 231
Chair: Michael Burroughs, Rock Ethics Institute, Pennsylvania State University
Philosophy in Public Places – Janette Poulton, Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools
Over the past 25 years the Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools has delivered a variety of highly valued services to teachers and students of Philosophy. We organise conferences, provide training, resources and support for teachers, students and parents, as well as working with public institutions, such as the National Gallery (NGV) and Melbourne Museum, to develop programs for Philosophy Excursions. We create educational opportunities for students to participate in Philosophy beyond the classroom in such things as primary and secondary Philosophy Competitions (Victorian and Australasian), VCE Philosophy Forums and Campfire Film Nights. Most importantly: Our programs are informed by the pedagogical approach of Community of Inquiry, elaborated in the P4C (Philosophy for Children) tradition, In this workshop I will outline and provide inspiring examples of various of the initiatives taken over the last decade or so:
- Professional Teachers Associations: supporting colleagues in other disciplines
- Philosothon events in venues such as City Site, Gallery and Museum supporting year 8 to 11 students.
- Philosophy Trails at Museum and Zoo. Incursions for Early, Middle and VCE students to public places.
- Staying connected with academic Philosophy departments eg through the Australasian Association of Philosophers
- Engagement with the Special Religious Instruction debate, and the Volunteer Ethics program with the Humanist Society
- Peace Train workshops
- Fireside Films night supporting Year 12 study design.
You will meet lots of ideas to start embedding Philosophy in your community.
The Role of Agreement in Public Participatory Philosophy: Rational Consensus at Café Philosophy – Michael Picard, Simon Fraser University
This paper critically examines the role of consensus in public participatory philosophy from a number of theoretical perspectives. Rational consensus is readily recognizable as an aim in philosophical and democratic discourse. Use of argument to transparently persuade critical readers is the basic form of the contemporary existence of philosophy. By contrast public participatory philosophy optionally aims at consensus. Demands of inclusivity and the need to represent diversity compete with consensus as important aims. Open-ended questions draw diverse attendance but frustrate attempts to settle specific issues. Some methods of facilitation do make rational consensus a priority. For instance, Nelsonian NeoSocratic Dialogue and its numerous variants take rational consensus seriously, though more as an ideal aim than as a concrete condition of success. Rational consensus is the explicit aim of Habermas’ communicative rationality and the forms of dialogue he inspired. In Pierce, the Community of Inquiry (CoI) is expressly aimed at consensus; but in practice Lipman’s Community of Inquiry in Philosophy for Children lays considerably less stress on it. Alongside these approaches, this paper examines Anthony Laden’s recent social theory of reasoning and the approach to dialogue facilitation it motivates. Laden’s theory would require facilitation to aim at reciprocal answerability, where one’s claims are invitations to the other to accept what one says as speaking for all. This theory suggests a novel way to approach to facilitating rational consensus in public participatory philosophy. Assuming consensus to be an aim of democratic life, it is argued here that, as far as it can, public participatory philosophy ought, through norms of facilitation, to aim, not just ideally but in practical terms, at rational consensus. The suitabiliy of dialogue facilitation based on Laden’s social theory of reason is assessed.
12:15-1:30 pm Lunch (on your own)
Concurrent Sessions V: 1:30 – 2:45 pm
Chair: Debi Talukdar, University of Washington
Elementary School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 241
Learning Equity through Experience – Gilbert Burgh and Simone Thornton, The University of Queensland
Both Dewey recognised the ‘serious absorption’ inherent in play that stimulates the interests of the child to partake in ‘persistent effort’ in order to achieve an ‘observable result … necessary to enable persons to get a sense and a measure of their own powers’ (Dewey, 1903, p. 93). He disavowed the use of ‘external pressure of coercion’ to motivate the child to action and understood the importance of developing communities based on the liberation of the individual. In this paper we will analyse the ways in which Dewey’s theories on education can inform classroom practice. We will use the work of Jennifer Bleazby, in particular her idea of social reconstruction learning, as a way of looking at moral education. We argue that an effective road to equity is through peace education underpinned by a theoretical and conceptual understanding of construction and reconstruction of the individual through interaction with the community
Culturally Responsive Philosophy: Observations with Contrasting Student Populations – Di’Anna Duran, University of Washington
This paper is a personal reflection by two graduate students doing philosophy in two Seattle elementary schools located in distinct communities. It draws on our experiences engaging students at John Muir Elementary, which serves a very ethnically and economically diverse population, and Whittier Elementary, which serves a predominantly white, middle-class student body. By sharing these observations, we aim to spark a critical discussion on the influence culture and community have on students engaging in philosophical inquiry—and on our responsibility for culturally responsive and social-justice oriented philosophy. We investigate how cultural differences influence the way students interpret the stimulus, what aspects they find interesting, and even the kinds of questions they ask for the philosophical discussion to follow. We also consider how culture may influence what students feel comfortable and prepared to discuss in a session, as well as the level of comfort they exhibit in interacting with other classmates. We believe there is a need to open a dialogue on the impact that doing philosophy can have in a range of communities, and about practicing culturally responsive teaching, especially while working with diverse student groups. Philosophy is a powerful tool for guiding conversations around sensitive issues like racial, class, and gender inequities, and it places a responsibility on the facilitator to allow this to happen in a safe, responsive, and open way. Our intention, ultimately, is to help build a community of philosophical inquiry where all students feel able and willing to participate regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or gender.
Middle School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 251
Chair: David Shapiro, Cascadia College and the University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children
Identity Crisis: Philosophy in the Middle School Classroom – Jesse Walsh, Boston University
Identity Crisis was designed to challenge students to explore the nature of identity – their own and others’. It brings up all the usual questions of “Who am I?”, “What does it mean to have an identity that changes over time?”, “What things are actually essential to identity and what kinds of things aren’t?”, “What happens to me when I die?”, etc. Students are encouraged to determine what they think identity actually is, how it is determined, whether it can and how it might be changed, whether the same characteristic can be essential to the identity of one person but not another, and so on. The inquiry is run in tandem with students altering stuffed animals in a manner of their choosing (e.g. removing/exchanging limbs, drawing Sharpie tattoos, making scars with scissors, removing/exchanging stuffing, setting them afire, disfiguring them with acid, etc.). While I have facilitated this activity a few times now with different groups of children, my main philosophical background is as an ethicist and linguist. Therefore, the goal of this workshop will be twofold: first, to engage educators and those who are interested in P4C in a dynamic philosophy game; and second, to crowdsource ideas and strategies to improve and/or modify Identity Crisis to maximize its teaching and learning potential!
Learning Inquiry Skills Through Game Play –Chris Ng, San Francisco Bay Area Outreach, and Justin Devane and Jessica Yusaitis Pike, Teachers College, Columbia University
Workshop participants will play Leaders of Gaia, a board game designed to engage players in discussing ethical questions, and we will discuss whether playing games can help players develop skills of inquiry. If players can learn through game play, then how do we design a game that would be an effective tool to help players learn basic skills of inquiry?
High School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 271
Chair: Allison Cohen, Langley High School, Virginia
Using Film to Understand the Categorical Imperative – Kerry Bader, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Connecticut
The categorical imperative is a difficult concept for high school students. Using film to help the students understand the two main tenets- universality and the prohibition against using people as a means to an end, allows the students a user friendly forum to apply and comprehend the theory. Use of film also allows for pausing of the action so that students can evaluate the action of the character without a knowledge of the outcome of the act. The principles of the categorical imperative can be applied easily to the characters and their behavior. Students are encouraged to divorce themselves from an emotional attachment and use reason to analyze the acts in terms of Kant’s theories.
Creating Communities of Philosophical Inquiry: An International Approach – Jennifer Cattaneo, Santa Fe Christian School, California
Philosophical discussions are a key component in fostering the intercultural understanding and cooperation vital to our rapidly changing global environment. The goal of this workshop is to inspire high school teachers to create international connections in order to increase dialogue between diverse cultures and to enrich the lives of our students. Because the majority of my teaching is devoted to world language instruction, I have had the opportunity to travel with students to both France and Italy multiple times in the past decade. After many interactions with European teens in classrooms and around the table, I am convinced that we need more intercultural dialogue about the “big questions” of life. Connecting American students with their counterparts in Europe, Africa and Asia, whether in face-to-face discourse or via technology, has been a crucial component in developing their critical thinking skills and broadening their horizons. The number of technological tools available has multiplied in the last few years, providing further opportunities for students to interact. One of the challenges for educators, however, is to encourage meaningful dialogue beyond the level of obvious cultural differences. As we seek to understand diverse cultures and learn to critically evaluate our own assumptions, we can find connections with others around the world who are equally passionate in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding.
Philosophy Outside the High School Classroom: A Case Study of Philosophical Inquiry with a Diverse Group – Lena Green, University of the Western Cape
For the past year I have been running a ‘Philosophy Club’ with a small group of adolescent boys, all of whom were referred for psycho-educational assessments and found to have some form of information processing difficulty. As such they are vulnerable young people with little confidence in themselves as thinkers. All have measured IQs within the average range, with reasoning sometimes identified as a personal, although not necessarily a normative, strength. They have difficulties with management of their attention, focus, organization, relevance and coherence that affect their ability to learn and to display their understanding, either orally or in writing. In the presentation I introduce the boys and briefly outline the process to date and some of its practical challenges. The literature suggests that regular participation in a community of enquiry develops confidence, encourages conceptual analysis and builds reasoning ability and I use these categories to report parents’ observations, the boys’ self-assessments from time to time and my own observations, including brief extracts from recorded dialogues. Finally I raise some of the conceptual challenges that trouble me from time to time in the hope that these questions will generate helpful enquiry. To what extent is it necessary, or desirable, to modify the ‘standard’ procedures of a philosophical enquiry with children when working with a group of this nature? I address this question by considering criteria such as the size and composition of the group, the credentials and role of the facilitator (myself), the content of each session, and the nature of the enquiry process.
Theoretical Issues Track, Mary Gates Hall room 231
Chair: Janice Moskalik, University of Washington
The Gated Community of Inquiry? – Darren Chetty, UCL Institute of Education, London
This paper will explore some key issues to do with ‘race’, multiculturalism and pluralism in the context of philosophy for/with children. I will interweave autobiographical vignettes with analytic sections that draw upon philosophical writing to support my argument that teachers of philosophy with children are informed by the philosophical, the pedagogical and the personal and that reflection on the relationship between these three dimensions should form part of the education of school philosophy practitioners. Drawing on the work of Charles Mills, Miranda Fricker, Jose Medinas and Sara Ahmed, I will consider of how practitioners might minimise epistemic injustice with relation to students not racialised as white. I will draw on the field of ‘gatekeeping theory’ in order to argue that, without intending to do so, teachers can contribute toward a ‘gated community of inquiry’. I will focus in particular on the notion of discomfort, and will argue that the ability and willingness, to work with discomfort is perhaps one of the key dispositions required for teaching philosophy in a racially diverse setting (and indeed elsewhere). However, I will argue that, in situations where a white teacher is working with a racially diverse group of students, such a disposition is not sufficient for it does not carry with it a commitment on behalf of the teacher to actually address what Charles Mills terms “White Ignorance”. I am sympathetic to the idea that the teacher learns from the students and believe in working to remain open to learning from those with relatively less power in a classroom. However, I question a situation where teachers see their students as the solution to their own ignorance. Recognising that teachers cannot know everything, and should not pretend to or be expected to, I argue that they can and should take responsibility for their ‘White ignorance’ and that philosophical teacher education should help them to do so.
Children’s Philosophical Encounters: Taking Seriously the Role of Privilege in Classrooms – Jana Mohr Lone, University of Washington
At the core of bringing philosophical inquiry into classrooms is a commitment to making space for the voices of all children. We talk often about the importance of children listening to one another, asking the questions that matter to them, becoming aware of multiple ways to see the world, and disagreeing respectfully. We don’t talk often, however, about the different places that various students occupy in the classroom and in the world, and the ways in which these varying vantage points can affect whether and how students contribute to philosophical discussions. This session will examine how certain children’s voices become privileged in a classroom — because of, for example, race, ethnicity, class, or gender — and investigate strategies for cultivating an intellectually safe environment for philosophical inquiry, one in which every voice matters. This involves an understanding of intellectual safety as dependent on the strength of the community, requiring trust, openness and respect, but which does not rest on feelings of comfort or complacency. A few philosophers have explored the epistemic injustice done to children, the ways in which children’s abilities to convey knowledge to others and to make sense of their own experiences are undermined by the prejudices against children. There are also particular forms of epistemic injustice that are experienced, for example, by children of color, children from low-income backgrounds, LGBT youth, and girls from all races and backgrounds. The session will explore a range of strategies for inclusive and culturally responsive philosophical exploration.
Concurrent Sessions VI: 3:15 – 4:30 pm
Elementary School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 241
Chair: Amy Leask, Enable Education/Enable Publishing
Argumentation Rating Tool: An Instructional Resource To Improve The Quality of Classroom Discussions – Alina Reznitskaya, Montclair State University
This paper presents the Argumentation Rating Tool (ART), an instructional resource designed to help practitioners assess the quality of argumentation during discussions in elementary school classrooms. Users of the ART watch short segments of discussions and apply a set of evaluation criteria. We discuss the development of the ART and demonstrate its use in a professional development program designed to help elementary school teachers engage their students in the practice of shared argumentation. The ART integrates two typically unrelated strands of research: the literature on argumentation and the scholarship on classroom discourse. Following argumentation theorists (e.g., Toulmin, 1958; Walton, 1996), we identified 4 key criteria of quality argumentation. They include 1) sharing alternative perspectives, 2) having clarity in language and argument structure, 3) providing acceptable reasons, and 4) upholding the logical validity of arguments. We connected the 4 criteria to 11 observable facilitation practices that have been shown to be effective for supporting productive class discussions (e.g., Alexander, 2006; Mercer et al., 1999). We then conducted validity and reliability studies, documenting several desirable psychometric properties of the ART. We also used the ART as part of a professional development program designed to help teachers acquire skills and knowledge of effective facilitation. Teachers in our program found the ART to be a useful resource that supported changes in their understanding and strategic use of classroom talk. Further, our analysis of classroom discussions showed the educative potential of the ART and related instruction to improve teacher practice.
Why It’s Good to Teach Philosophical Reasoning – Janice Moskalik, University of Washington
Philosophical reasoning is an important part of a good precollege education, enabling students to excel in all of their studies. Philosophy teaches students to look for reasons in support of a position (even when those reasons are not clearly articulated), to discern problematic reasons, and when additional/different reasons can improve a given argument. Through philosophy, students can learn to engage with others’ reasons, to explain their reasons, to see when their explanations are incomplete, to recognize when more investigation is needed, and think about what questions will help to increase their understanding. Good philosophical reasoning skills thus enable students to become excellent independent learners, engaging with ideas and arguments in an effort to explore and better understand the world, and others in it. Through activities aimed at getting students to think about and discover for themselves the value of reasons in their interactions with their peers, students can learn to think about the quality of their reasons – and, ultimately, about whether they have good arguments for the positions they take. Additionally, the asking for and giving of reasons involved in such exercises improves students’ communication, listening, and interpersonal skills – all of which are not only useful when reasoning philosophically, but also for learning and working in any discipline.
High School Track, Mary Gates Hall room 251
Chair: Susan Gardner, Capilano University
Ethics Bowl as an Effective Pedagogical Strategy for Teaching Ethics – Karen Mizell, Utah Valley University
This paper argues that Ethics Bowl, a team competition that addresses ethical dilemmas, is an effective pedagogical practice conducive to authentic student learning about ethics. Since student preparation for participation in the Ethics Bowl competition (high school and collegiate) exemplifies both problem-based and active-learning strategies, students develop high order cognitive and critical thinking skills as they address critical ethical issues that often have immediate practical impact in their own lives. As educators, we hope to see students exhibit, among other goals, excellence in critical thinking, a capacity to evaluate complex ethical problems, become ethical citizens, understand diverse points of view, be adaptable to change, and to engage in lifelong learning. Too often, such expectations are frustrated, partly because of misguided instruction that focuses on passive listening and lecture material and develops trivialized memorization and superficial conceptual comprehension. Empirical studies that assess student outcomes and interviews of successful students clearly reveal the value of learning activities that respect student autonomy, creativity, and interactive learning environments with frequent feedback. I argue that Ethics Bowl challenges students and faculty to authentic and valuable learning in ethics in a way that incorporates effective teaching and learning strategies that are cognitively demanding. Students who participate in Ethics Bowl actively involve themselves in the instructional environment, offering a deeper understanding of ethics and ethical problem-solving.
Reflections on the First Annual Long Island High School Philosophy Conference – Sean Riley, The Stony Brook School
I, with the help of others, organized the first ever Long Island High School Philosophy Conference, complete with a keynote speaker, a panel of professors to respond to the paper, concurrent student paper sessions, debates, and round-table discussions. The purpose of the conference was to expose students to areas of philosophy not addressed by the Ethics Bowl, to connect high school students from other schools who share an interest in the big questions, and to draw attention to the growing movement to bring philosophy into American high schools. The event was a success, with close to 100 students in attendance from seven Long Island and New York City schools. In the morning, students saw philosophy professors with divergent viewpoints on God’s existence challenge each other with charity and civility. They discussed key philosophical questions like “Is the universe real?” “What is the best political system?” and “Are we free?” over lunch and heard student papers on the possibility of artificial intelligence, the nature of beauty, and the metaphysical status of numbers in the afternoon. Many left surprised at how quickly the time went, wishing they could stay longer to continue the conversations. In my presentation, I discuss our initial vision, our planning and organization, and how we ultimately implemented the conference. I then share reflections on the event, including participant survey data, and make suggestions for future improvements. By sharing our experience, I hope to inspire others to create events like it in other parts of the country.
Theoretical Issues Track, Mary Gates Hall room 271
Chair: Jana Mohr Lone, University of Washington
Doing What a Virtuous Person Would Do: Investigating the Role of Authority in the Development and Motivation of Virtue in School-aged Children – Nicholas Shudak, University of South Dakota, and Paul Anders, Mount Marty College, South Dakota
Ours is a presentation of a possible research design focused on studying the effects of authority on character development and ethical decision-making in school-aged children. Our interest in authority (i.e. role models) approximates the work being done by others regarding the importance of exemplarity and its place in virtue theory. The research question thus far guiding the design asks, “How do school-aged children come to identify and understand ethical dilemmas, and, how do they act upon those understandings during their life in school?” Our mixed methodology involves studying the responses of three developmentally distinct groups—elementary, middle, and high school students—to a series of ethical dilemmas found in children’s literature and classical philosophy. Subject responses will be qualitatively coded for the sake of studying recurrent and developmental themes, and also to engage in factor analyses regarding virtue/ethical development. Our hope is that through this research, a relationship will be evidenced between interactions with authority (role models) and character development, thereby bringing better understanding of the myriad influences on moral motivation associated with authoritative social roles and institutions. Furthermore, our hope is that the PLATO audience will be able to provide excellent feedback on our design prior to the actual undertaking of the research itself. If this brand of philosophical inquiry can provide insight into how school-aged children act morally and understand virtue, especially their access to understanding virtue, then we can begin to make more solid cases for the infusion of philosophy throughout the K-12 curriculum. The lives of children in schools are enmeshed daily in ethical dilemmas. It makes sense that the very institution of school should help students navigate and even mitigate the ethical mine fields that unfortunately are our classrooms.
Education, Research, and the Advancement of Pre-College Philosophy – Michael D. Burroughs, Rock Ethics Institute, Pennsylvania State University
In recent years leaders of the pre-college philosophy movement have renewed discussion on future directions for the growth of this work and its many manifestations. It is clear that there is no single path or direction that will satisfy all persons and needs in pre-college philosophy. However, in this presentation I will argue that at least one central component of advancing this movement lies in increased interdisciplinary research on pre-college philosophy.I will foster discussion on this position by providing an overview of representative research on pre-college philosophy programs conducted since the 1970s. I will argue that establishing interdisciplinary research teams can lead to more rigorous and, in turn, increasingly influential research. In addition, I will discuss my current project with Kindergarten students (“Philosophical Ethics in Early Childhood”) as an example of interdisciplinary focused research. In discussing this project I will note ways in which we can begin to expand pre-college philosophy research on developmental areas that have not been well represented in current and past studies. The majority of pre-college philosophy studies have focused on cognitive development and outcomes, but research on affective, social-emotional, and ethical development are also important in the childhood education and should be represented in our work going forward.
Poster Session, Mary Gates Hall room 231
Chair: Peter Worley, The Philosophy Foundation, UK
Counterfactual Thinking and Moral Judgment in Ethical and Equity Inquiry – Alessia Marabini, University of Bologna
Inquiring equity, involves ethical judgements. An important aspect is that they both aim for objectivity and aim to rule human behavior, but how it is possible to justify the claims to objectivity and normativity?P4c curriculum can help in grasping a distinction between two different kinds of thinking. We can consider the criteria of good thinking as established by logic but it’s quite another matter to reflect upon our own personal perspective. Since a sense of personal identity is an indispensable part of every moral judgement one has to develop one’s sense of personal direction towards the goals that one foresees for oneself. So Lipman can conclude that thinking and thinking for oneself are both necessary in any program of ethical inquiry and equity. What we want to show here are then two main focuses.First: Lipman’s P4C curriculum can help to see ethics as a an evaluative practice and deliberative activity grounded on imaginative ability. Moreover this kind of activity is involved in critical thinking and in the ability to confront one’s own experiences. Second: the evaluation practice which characterizes ethics meets with “counterfactual” reasoning or rational imagination in which ethical concepts are concepts under a continuous actualization.
Teachers’ Experiences of a Learning Styles Approach to Curriculum Implementation: Dunn and Done? –Desiree Moodley, Cape Town
Could matching learners to individual learning styles help understand and develop the ideals of equity, diversity and self – awareness? The Dunn and Dunn (1998) learning styles theory may claim so! The search for insights on how to transform education toward equity within current realities confronting South Africa reveals a dichotomy between children’s success and labour market demands. South African educational transformation is fraught with crisis. The pursuit of equity and equality pre/post Mandela is compelling. Learning styles, a psycho-biological, cognitive, inquiry-based approach in understanding the gap between how teachers teach and children learn best in diverse situations, is based on the assumption that how individuals learn effects how they perform (Dunn & Dunn, 1978; 1992; Dunn & Griggs, 2000; Dunn & Burke, 2003; Dunn et. al, 2009). The objective of this study, the contributions, complexities, contradictions of the Dunn and Dunn learning styles approach to teaching offers a conceptual understanding of how individual children may be more deeply understood within community toward equity through the Dunn and Dunn (1978) learning styles approach to curriculum implementation. Employing an interpretivist, qualitative, case study approach using interviews, document reviews, photo data and artifacts, key findings include that matching learners to their learning styles may influence successful curriculum implementation further revealing implementation complexities and contradictions. This study may have the potential for value on what counts for sound inquiry-based learning.
Teaching Justice and Equity Among Children: Matthew Lipman’s Philosophy for Children and the Place for Philosophy in the Philippine K-12 Curriculum – Marella Ada V. Mancenido–Bolaños, University of Santo Tomas, Manila
The Philippine educational system has undergone numerous reforms over the past years, and yet, not one of the curriculum have addressed the problem of teaching justice and equity among children. In the previous curriculum, they have included Makabayan (values education), a subject which intended to teach ethics but ended up teaching catechism, good manners and right conduct. Recently, there has been a move to revamp the educational system by transforming it to the K-12 program. The Department of Education included Philosophy in the spiraling of subjects; they intended to use the constructivist method. Given the present circumstance where Philosophy as a course is not taken seriously, how will the teaching of Philosophy to children be a success? This paper shall discuss the K-12 program in the Philippines and the challenges it face in teaching justice and equity among the children. This paper shall also introduce the possibility of using Matthew Lipman’s Philosophy for Children as a pedagogy and a tool to address the challenges of the K-12 program.
Kevin and the Virtue Hikes: A Logic-Based Therapy Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum for K-2 Students – Laura Newhart, Eastern Kentucky University
Teaching and learning in schools concern not only academic competencies but social and emotional components as well. Research shows that social and emotional skills can be taught, modeled, practiced, and applied to different situations through systematic instruction so that students learn to use them as part of their daily repertoire of behaviors (Durlak, et al., 2011). Curricula that support social and emotional learning (SEL) are comprehensive, manualized curricula that focus on fostering protective factors and reducing risk factors associated with academic and social problems (Joseph & Strain, 2003). This poster presents a Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum for K-2 students based on Elliot D. Cohen’s Logic-Based Therapy (LBT). In Logic-Based Therapy, Cohen thoroughly integrates the methodological tools of logical reasoning with the content of a wide variety of philosophical theories to help people recognize, analyze, and correct eleven of the most common logical fallacies that lead to dysfunctional behavior and unpleasant emotions (Cohen, 2007). The Logic-Based Therapy K-2 Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum consists of eleven workbooks, each focusing on one of LBT’s cardinal fallacies. This poster presentation will introduce Kevin and the Virtue Hikes as a K-2 Logic-Based Therapy Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum, report on the results of a trial run of the curriculum conducted in two first grade classrooms by college students in a service learning ethics course, and consider the nature of future experimental research on its effectiveness.
Philosophy for Children in the American Frontier – Abraham Monteros, University of Texas, El Paso
The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate that Philosophy for Children methodology and scholarship need to be tailored to local communities and cultures. The “one size fits all” approach is outdated for Philosophy for Children and special attention needs to paid to the unique needs of children who do not conform to the dominant Anglo, middle-class demographic. In making this argument I will focus on the United States-Mexico Southwest border, specifically the El Paso, Texas – Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua community. The El Paso-Juarez community is a lower-working class community that is nestled in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert. This community of 674,433 is more than 300 miles from east or west from any major city. Many children in the borderlands are born to first, second, or third generation Mexican-American parents who have immigrated from Mexico. Another special point of consideration is the fact that over half the population of El Paso is bilingual, speaking Spanish and English. This “special isolation” and particular demographic makes El Paso a unique location that will serve as the location of this presentation. In making my argument I will engage central articles in the Anthropology of Childhoodto illustrate important differences in child development between cultures. I will also utilize scholarship on Philosophy for Children in the Latin American and Latina/o context. Finally, I shall call upon my own teaching and research experiences as a Philosophy for Children practitioner working for the “Philosophy for Children in the Mexico-US Borderlands” program at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Final Session 4:30 – 5:00 pm
Mary Gates Hall room 241
Goals and aspirations: Where do we go from here? A group discussion
Facilitated by Jana Mohr Lone, University of Washington
BIOS OF SESSION PRESENTERS
Jon Altschul is assistant professor of philosophy at Loyola University New Orleans specializing in philosophy of mind and epistemology. His research centers primarily on the question of what makes us warranted or justified in our ordinary, everyday beliefs about the world. In October 2013, he and several undergraduate students launched “Philosopher Kids,” which uses stories and games to provide high quality philosophy education to at-risk youth in New Orleans.
Paul Anders is an assistant professor of philosophy and chair of the Religious Studies and Philosophy Department at Mount Marty College, specializing in the philosophy of both religion and science. Recently he received a National Endowment for the Humanities Enduring Questions teaching grant for a course he developed entitled, “What is Authority?” Other areas of research at the interface of science and religion include scientific and theological method, and natural and philosophical theology.
Daniel Anderson has a philosophy honours degree from the University of British Columbia and an Associate of Arts Degree from Capilano University. Daniel also serves as the Associate Director of both the Vancouver Institute of Philosophy for Children and Think Fun Camps run at the University of the Fraser Valley. Daniel is interested in moral motivation, metaethics, posthumanism and pedagogy.
Kerry Bader has been teaching an ethics course at the Convent of the Sacred Heart (CT) for seven years. The course challenges students to evaluate both the factors that influence their own decisions and the collective underlying moral code. The syllabus includes the theories of Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, and Plato. The students apply these principles to underlying issues in current events, film and literature. She attended the University of Notre Dame and CCNY-Hunter College.
Paul Bodin has taught “Teaching Children Philosophy” at the University of Oregon, Eugene, since 2013. His students lead weekly philosophical discussions in fourth or fifth grade classrooms. He also teaches writing and social studies curriculum and supervises student teachers in the graduate licensure program, UOTeach. Over the past three years, he and his undergraduate students have written original “two minute plays” as alternatives to illustrated children’s books for introducing themes for philosophical discussions with children.
Gilbert Burgh is senior lecturer in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at The University of Queensland. Research interests include educational philosophy; social and political philosophy, especially democracy; citizenship; and alternatives to electoral politics. Current research projects include the history and development of philosophy in schools in Australasia, Matthew Lipman’s practice of philosophy as the methodology of education, the philosophical development of ‘community of inquiry’ in educational discourse, and philosophy and street art.
Michael D. Burroughs is Assistant Director of the Rock Ethics Institute, Senior Lecturer of Philosophy, and Affiliate Faculty Member in the College of Education at Pennsylvania State University. He has practiced philosophical fieldwork with K-12 schoolchildren, the elderly, and the incarcerated. He and Jana Mohr Lone co-authored The Perspectives of Children: Questioning and Dialogue in Schools (Rowman and Littlefield, forthcoming in 2015). His primary research interests are the intersection of ethics, social epistemology, childhood studies; and philosophy of education.
Stacy Cabrera is an English Teacher, National Honors Society advisor, and creator of the Young Philosophers Society at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, CA. Next year she will also pilot “Philosophy in Literature,” a cross-curricular course that will combine philosophical works and themes taught alongside — and as explored in — literary works. Her philosophical interests include aesthetics, hermeneutics, and literary theory and Interpretation; and the works of John Dewey and Aldous Huxley.
Jennifer Cattaneo teaches French, ancient civilizations and western philosophy at Santa Fe Christian School in Solana Beach, CA, where she is the World Language Department chair. Her background is in ancient civilizations, and French history and literature. In the classroom, she nurtures critical thought. She has taught seminars in critical thought, Western philosophy and intercultural communication to both high school students and adults, and has led many student trips to France and Italy in the past decade.
Darren Chetty won the 2014 Biennial Award for Excellence in Philosophy for Children from the ICPIC for his paper “The Elephant in the Room: Picturebooks, Philosophy for Children and Racism.” Darren is currently completing his Ph.D. in philosophy for children and multiculturalism at the UCL Institute of Education. A SAPERE accredited trainer, he has successfully implemented philosophy for children as a whole school approach and has been teaching in London primary schools for almost 20 years.
Anna Cook is a Ph.D. student in the philosophy department at the University of Oregon specializing in feminist philosophy, social/political philosophy and early modern philosophy, with a special interest in Spinoza. She is interested in questions of affect and vulnerability as they pertain to violence prevention education. She has previously worked as an instructor for a non-profit assault prevention center (COPA), offering prevention and self-defense workshops to elementary and high school students.
James Davis has taught history and philosophy at Boston University Academy since 1996. He is on the PLATO board of directors and the editorial board for Questions: Philosophy for Young People. He has taught logic in Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth Program; been a reading teacher for the Institute for Reading Development; and an instructor at Babson College, Endicott College, and Merrimack College.
Justin Devane attended the Cognitive Studies in Education program at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, where he specialized in games in education, and the cognitive implications of games. After graduating, he pursued a career in education. He is currently working in a TechEd position with the Healthcare Association of New York State, in his spare time gamifying his home for his children and working as a personal trainer.
Di’Anna Xochitl Duran is a first-year graduate student in the UW College of Education. Her focus is on developing the application of philosophy for children-community of inquiry for “at-risk” youth. She is motivated by first-hand experience and second-hand accounts highlighting student frustration with the lack of critical, creative, and caring thinking in schools. She hopes that sharing the work of philosophy for children will promote social and educational growth in her community and at large.
Stephen L. Esquith has worked on ethical problems in developing countries since 1990. He is Michigan State University Dean of the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities and is one of the leaders of the doctoral specialization in Ethics and Development, a program he helped to found. He is currently working with colleagues in Mali on projects on post-conflict dialogue and reconciliation, and is the author of many books and articles.
Natalie M. Fletcher is a philosophy teacher at John Abbott College in Montreal, Canada, and the founding director of Brila Youth Projects, an educational charity that introduces philosophical thinking to young people through community inquiry dialogues and digital magazine production. She is pursuing interdisciplinary doctoral research on moral imagination at Concordia University, fusing the fields of ethics, dialogic pedagogy and relational aesthetics. Her work appears in Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis and Childhood and Philosophy.
Susan T. Gardner is a Professor of Philosophy at Capilano University in North Vancouver, Canada. Her publications are primarily in the fields of Critical Thinking (Thinking Your Way to Freedom, 2009), and Philosophy for Children. She is also a director of the Vancouver Institute of Philosophy for Children and was the prime mover in bringing P4C camps to Vancouver in 2014.
Sara Goering is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Washington, Seattle, and Program Director for the UW Center for Philosophy for Children. Though she started doing philosophy for children with high school students, she now leads weekly kindergarten philosophy discussions at a local elementary school. She also teaches UW undergrads to lead philosophy discussions with children, and helps with Seattle-area teacher training workshops. With Tom Wartenberg and Nicholas Shudak, she is co-editor of Philosophy in Schools.
Lena Green is an educational psychologist, currently Extraordinary Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. Her long-term research interests are in cognitive development and in empowering students and teachers to think more effectively. She is trained and experienced in several approaches to the mediation of thinking, but is particularly interested in philosophy for children, which she introduces to pre-service and in-service teachers and employs in her practice as a psychologist.
Ron Gunczler is a senior at the Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering. As a co-editor-in-chief of the school’s philosophy journal CONTRARIWISE, he works with Nicholas Pape and Professor Diana Senechal. He is interested in philosophy as a way to connect academic disciplines, and is particularly interested in the philosophy of language and humor.
Lin Josephson is a philosophy for children practitioner, endorsed by The Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children. She has been teaching a weekly second grade philosophy class at the South Mountain Elementary School, South Orange, NJ, since 2010. Lin is also a former first grade teacher, educational writer and business journalist. Lin was a 2013-2014 Recipient of the PLATO Award for excellence in philosophy teaching by a non-classroom teacher, and was a Fairchild Publications Scholar.
Arie Kizel heads the department of Learning, Instruction and Teacher Education at the Faculty of Education, Haifa University. His research interests include narrative research of social groups, philosophy of education, philosophy with children, and research of curriculum and textbooks. He is also the academic head of the Israeli-German commission for textbooks research. His publications include Subservient History: A Critical Analysis of History Curricula and Textbooks in Israel, 1948–2006, and The New Mizrahi Narrative in Israel.
Walter Omar Kohan is Full Professor of Philosophy of Education at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Researcher at CNPq and FAPERJ (Brazil). He coordinates “Philosophy in Schools” in Duque de Caxias, RJ. His recent books include Philosophy and Childhood: Critical Perspectives and Affirmative Practices. (Palgrave, 2014); Childhood, education and philosophy: new ideas for an old relationship (Routledge, 2015); and The inventive schoolmaster (Sense, 2015).
Vanya Kovach teaches philosophy at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and has long been active in philosophy for children as a practitioner and a teacher educator. She has also worked in a wide range of community contexts, primarily in the area of professional ethics, engaging with – for example – hospice nurses, trainee Anglican ministers, maximum security prisoners, property valuers and sexual health clinicians.
Amy Leask is the author of philosophy books and apps for children, founder of Enable Publishing, and Vice President of Enable Education in Ontario, Canada. A former secondary and post-secondary educator, she is a proponent of 21st Century skills development, STEAM education, and the creation of more inclusive and effective educational technology.
Jana Mohr Lone is director of the University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children and president of PLATO. She is the author of The Philosophical Child (2012), the co-author (with Michael Burroughs) of The Perspectives of Children: Questioning and Dialogue in Schools (forthcoming in 2015), and the co-editor (with Roberta Israeloff) of Philosophy and Education: Introducing Philosophy to Young People (2012. For the past six years she has chaired the American Philosophical Association Committee on Pre-College Instruction in Philosophy.
Rhiannon Love is a senior lecturer in primary education at the University of Winchester, UK, where she is responsible for the undergraduate and postgraduate religious education curriculum. She has been involved with philosophy for children in primary schools over the past 7 years, and is now embedding philosophy for children into the undergraduate and postgraduate initial teacher education programs at the university. Rhiannon is currently engaged in postgraduate research in philosophy for children.
Marella Ada V. Mancenido-Bolaños received her A.B philosophy degree and master’s degree from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. She is currently teaching philosophy in the same university while working on her Ph.D. Her research interests include existentialism, feminism and philosophy for children.
Alessia Marabini teaches philosophy and history in secondary school where she focuses on Socratic dialogue and critical thinking. She has presented at APA meetings and published numerous articles and books about teaching philosophy, including Cos’è una persona? Un percorso tra Filosofia, Cinema, Letteratura, Fantascienza, (What is a person? A reflection along Philosophy, Cinema, Literature, Science Fiction: 2010, Allori Edizioni, Ravenna). Currently she is a member of COGITO Research Centre in Philosophy, University of Bologna, Italy.
Ed Marks includes philosophy in the history classes he teaches at the William Penn Charter School (a Quaker K-12 school) in Philadelphia where he has worked since 1980. He also served as department chair, and the varsity boys and girls soccer coach. He participated in two National Endowment philosophy seminars, with Mitchell Green and Tom Wartenberg, where he connected with PLATO and learned of its initiatives.
Chad Miller is the 2012 Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year, a National Board Certified teacher, and current Director of Teacher Development at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education. He helps teachers incorporate philosophy into their classroom practices. He also teaches at the University of Hawai‘i, leads professional development workshops, and is Philosopher in Residence in the Kailua High School K-12 complex.
Stephen Kekoa Miller has taught philosophy and religious studies at Oakwood Friends School and Marist College in Poughkeepsie NY for 15 years. He has worked with students at all levels, from elementary school through college, as well as with high school parents. Courses he has taught include philosophy of science, Greek philosophy, philosophy of religion, existentialism, and ethics, all of which prompt students to ask fundamental questions and explore what constitutes a good life.
Karen Mizell, Professor of Philosophy at Utah Valley University, studies philosophy of childhood, philosophy for children, the ethics of human/animal relationships, and food justice. She received, among other awards, Utah’s Campus Compact Faculty Award for Excellence in Service-Learning, and UVU Educator of the Year. She co-coaches the UVU Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Team, organizes and hosts the Utah High School Ethics Bowl, directs UVU’s ethics minor and ethics certificate programs, and serves on the UVU Peace and Justice Studies Executive Committee.
Abraham M. Monteros is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is pursuing a double major liberal arts bachelor’s degree in philosophy and French. Currently, Abraham is a teacher for UTEP’s first philosophy for children program. He plans to pursue his philosophical interests in philosophy of education and political philosophy focusing on immigration.
Desiree’ Eva Moodley, a teacher with 30 years of experience, is an accredited creative writing coach and curriculum facilitator. She is involved with teacher professional development and has co-authored several textbooks; her academic interests involve exploring innovative, creative pedagogies for the 21st century learner. She has participated in the International Network on Philosophy for Children (Cape Town, Graz). Her current preoccupation is investigating a link between learning styles in community and e-learning.
Janice Moskalik, a graduate fellow at the UW’s Center for Philosophy for Children, has taught classes on moral theory, free will, contemporary moral problems, and the philosophy of law and of criminal punishment. She’s worked as an instructor and mentor with the Center’s Philosophers in the Schools Program and is on the PLATO Board of Directors. She also co-developed and taught an elementary school philosophy class for UW’s Robinson Center for Young Scholars.
Laura Newhart is an associate professor in philosophy and current chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Eastern Kentucky University. Her areas of specialization are twentieth century European philosophy, feminist theory, and biomedical ethics. Her current research interests include mothering and philosophy, logic-based therapy, and philosophy for children.
Chris Ng studied at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Teachers College, Columbia University, specializing in philosophy for children. She aims to incorporate philosophical inquiry into pre-college curriculum, and she is interested in designing video games and apps that involve logical reasoning and moral choice.
Sue Paff has been teaching philosophical thinking skills to primary children since 1996. She has written a philosophy program for high school students that is approved and registered by the NSW Department of Education. Sue has been teaching an elective philosophy course at Bishop Druitt College since 2004. Her professional and personal interests include philosophy, psychology, involvement in the Australia-wide Philosothon initiative, managing her school teams in the da Vinci Decathlon competitions, and challenging kids to think.
Nicholas Pape, a senior at Columbia Secondary School, is co-editor of his school’s philosophy journal, CONTRARIWISE. His primary interest is in mathematics. He also enjoys reading Aristotle, Sartre, and Plato. He hopes to do research in real analysis, complex analysis, differential geometry, and topology; and to use philosophical thinking when writing proofs in these mathematical fields.
Michael Picard, philosophy professor at Douglas College and of cognitive science at Simon Fraser University, founded Cafe Philosophy, a 12-year series of weekly philosophical dialogues for the public, for which he has animated over 600 sessions. Picard is author of many books including Philosophy: Adventures in Thought and Reasoning. Acting President of the Canadian Society for Philosophical Practice and Certified Counselor of the American Philosophical Practice Association, he offers private philosophical therapeutics based on social theories of meaning.
Jessica Yusaitis Pike is a senior research assistant at the Center for Technology and School Change at Teachers College, Columbia University. Jessica has several years of experience in PK-12 education research and evaluation and has examined such topics as classroom technology integration, data-driven decision making, and teacher professional development models. Other research interests include geographical shifts in educational access and game-based learning. Jessica has an M.A. in Communication and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Janette Poulton is the academic coordinator of the School of Education at Melbourne Institute of Technology where she works with primary school pre-service teachers. She is the Education Officer for VAPS (Victoria) responsible for curriculum development, presentation of courses, training of presenters, and monitoring and administration of courses. Janette has served as joint Secretary on the ICPIC (International) Executive Board and as President of the Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Associations FAPSA.
Alina Reznitskaya, professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey, teaches courses in educational psychology, quantitative research, and educational measurement. Her research interests include investigating the role social interaction plays in the development of argument literacy, designing measurement instruments that can effectively measure oral and written argumentation, and examining professional development programs that help teachers improve the quality of argumentation during class discussions of texts.
Sean A. Riley, academic dean at The Stony Brook School, has chaired the history department; taught history, English, Bible, and philosophy; coached tennis, football, and the Ethics Bowl team; and served as a dorm dad. He has led summer travel courses to Greece, Turkey, and China. He has also taught at Baylor University, McLennan Community College, and Live Oak Classical School in Waco, Texas. Sean is the author of Recovering the Saints from Modern Moral Theory.
Grace Robinson is a philosopher working in schools, universities, communities and businesses. She is a SAPERE trainer and associate of the UK’s Philosophy Foundation. In 2008 she established Thinking Space to promote philosophical dialogue and enquiry; it is now a Community Interest Company for which she is managing director. She is also a teaching fellow at the University of Leeds where she runs a course that introduces philosophy students to philosophical enquiry in schools.
Michelle Sarah Rocca, a philosophy for children practitioner in Victoria, Australia, since 2007, received the 2012 McKinnon Secondary College Teacher Fellowship for professional development. She is a regional coordinator for teacher training and curriculum development in the Ethical Understandings Project, and coordinates the Philosophy Club at her school. Her interests include neuroscience, psychology and philosophy in education, and organizing an international Philosophy Camp.
Carl Rosin teaches English, philosophy and interdisciplinary courses at Radnor High School. He served as English department chairperson, and is now advisor to the Gay-Straight Alliance and coach of the Ethics Bowl team. He won the 2012 Delaware County Excellence in Education award, and PLATO’s 2014 Knisely Award as High School Philosophy Teacher of the Year. He is Assistant Academic Director for the University of Pennsylvania’s Pre-College Summer Law Program, and works with pre-service English teachers at Haverford and Bryn-Mawr Colleges.
Keren Sadan is a research fellow in The Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University. She is interested in ethics and politics, and in the connection between theory and praxis. Toward that end she founded a city public education program in Tel Aviv – Yafo, where she teaches philosophy in preschools. Her areas of specialization are ethics, feminist theory, contemporary French feminism, philosophy of education, and philosophy and children.
Mike Schleeter, assistant professor at Pacific Lutheran University, teaches ethics, social and political philosophy, business ethics, early modern philosophy, 19th and 20th century continental philosophy, and the philosophy of race. His areas of scholarly interest include political philosophy, political economy, German Idealism, and phenomenology.
Diana Senechal teaches philosophy at Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, & Engineering in New York City where she is advisor for the student philosophy journal, CONTRARIWISE. She is also on the faculty of the Sue Rose Summer Institute for Teachers at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. She is the 2011 recipient of the Hiett Prize in the Humanities and the author of Republic of Noise: The Loss of Solitude in Schools and Culture.
Ezgi Sertler is a third year Ph.D. student in the philosophy department at Michigan State University. She is also completing a specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change (GJEC). Her research focuses on feminist philosophy, epistemology, and social and political theory with a special interest in epistemologies of testimony, oppression, resistance, and ignorance. In addition, she is interested in the relationship between critical (transformatory and liberatory) pedagogies and civic engagement.
Hira Shah is a sophomore at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach. She is a founder of the Mira Costa Young Philosophers’ Society, as well as an active participant in Model United Nations and marching band. Hira recently moved to the United States after several years of study in France at the Lycée International de Saint Germain-en-Laye, where she observed the French approach to the integration of philosophy into the curriculum.
David A. Shapiro is Education Director of the University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children and a tenured faculty member in Philosophy at Cascadia College in Bothell, WA. He has been doing philosophy with pre-college students for more than two decades and has written and presented extensively on philosophical inquiry with young people. His most recent book is Plato Was Wrong! Footnotes on Doing Philosophy with Young People (Rowman and Littlefield, 2012).
Nicholas J. Shudak is an associate professor and division chair of curriculum and instruction at the University of South Dakota. He is interested in teacher effectiveness, action research in teacher education, and philosophy for children. He was the co-recipient of $25,000 National Endowment for the Humanities’ Enduring Questions grant. He co-edited Philosophy in Schools: An Introduction for Philosophers and Teachers, and his articles and chapters have appeared in Creative Education, The Journal of Thought, and The Social Studies.
Debi Talukdar, a UW graduate student at the College of Education, researches incorporating philosophical inquiry and reflective practices in teacher education. She also teaches an undergraduate course in early childhood and family studies. A fellow with the UW Center for Philosophy for Children, Debi regularly does philosophy with elementary school children in Seattle. Debi has previously worked in schools in India, and with the foster care/residential care system in the UK.
Simone Thornton is a doctoral candidate and research scholar in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at The University of Queensland. Her research interests focus on depictions of nature in philosophical thinking; Camus, pedagogy, and the phenomenology of inquiry; Rousseau and human nature. Topics she explores include relationships and sympathies between Camus and pragmatism in the education of lucid individuals, and the history and development of philosophy in schools in Australasia.
Wendy C. Turgeon teaches philosophy at the college level but also works in philosophy for children by teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at St. Joseph’s College and Stony Brook University. She also works with Inter-Disciplinary.Net to organize conferences on Childhood, Play, and most recently on The Animal/Human Bond. These are held every summer at Oxford University in the UK.
Jesse Walsh is pursuing a Masters of Public Health degree at Boston University School of Public Health in the Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights Department. She initiated two pre-college philosophy clubs for teens: at St. Martin de Porres Academy in New Haven, CT, and at the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club in Boston, which has recently expanded to other neighborhoods. She also consults with the philosophy outreach program at UMass Boston and serves as a guest philosopher at club meetings.
Tom Wartenberg, Mt. Holyoke College professor of philosophy, has published Big Ideas for Little Kids: Teaching Philosophy Through Children’s Literature (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014), and A Sneetch is A Sneetch and Other Philosophical Discoveries: Finding Wisdom in Children’s Literature (Wiley Blackwell, 2013). His program, Teaching Children Philosophy, won the 2011 APA/PDC Prize for Excellence and Innovations in Philosophy Programs. His course, Philosophy for Children, is the subject of a PBS documentary: http://wgby.org/bigideas.
Kate Kennedy White, a philosophy teacher and trainer in Australia, is the Founding Director of Kinder Philosophy, which trains in-service and preservice teachers and supports parents who want to engage children in dialogues. Kate is also the resident philosophy teacher in a Sydney elementary school, teaching weekly school-wide dedicated philosophy lessons. Most recently she was awarded the NSW State Premier’s Teaching Scholarship to explore the introduction of philosophy in the early childhood centers and in-service training.
Bonnie Zuidland has been teaching philosophy in schools and adult centers for the past 9 years. Her interest stems from a love of philosophy and a desire for social change. For the Victorian Association of Philosophy in Schools, she organized 2012/2014 conferences and supports the Humanist Society of Victoria teaching volunteers in CoI who provide students with ethics programs. She also develops and implements curriculum for ethical understanding.