Programs at the University of Washington

Relationship with the University of Washington

Description

Thanks to PLATO’s long-standing relationship with the University of Washington Department of Philosophy, developed by the Center for Philosophy for Children before its merger with PLATO in 2022, we also offer:

  • Graduate and undergraduate courses about philosophy with children and youth
  • A Certificate of Mastery for University of Washington graduate students
  • The Washington State High School Ethics Bowl
  • Workshops and resources for teachers
  • Opportunities for visiting scholars and educators

University of Washington Courses

Philosophy for Children

Our relationship with the University of Washington Department of Philosophy allows us to offer courses for University of Washington graduate and undergraduate students in which students learn to lead philosophy sessions in K-12 classrooms, with supervision and mentoring from experienced instructors. Each year, we offer an introductory class in the fall and then a more advanced seminar for undergraduates, combined with a graduate seminar, each winter.

These classes focus on ways to establish classroom “communities of philosophical inquiry,” and university students develop an understanding of how to inspire philosophical discussions with K-12 students. The emphasis is on learning by doing, and each class session operates as a community of philosophical inquiry.

Sample Syllabi

Click the following links to view samples:

  

What Students Say

Our work was highlighted in the 2014 University of Washington Provost’s Report on innovative teaching approaches. Involvement in philosophy for children classes has inspired hundreds of undergraduates over the years.

Here’s what students say about the courses: 

“During my time in this class I have had many realizations, one of them being that asking a question is the answer to all questions. I’ve taken away so much from this class much more than any other course I have taken at the University of Washington. I say this because this class encouraged me to be an individual and I felt that I was always pushed to think differently, as opposed to the usual classes here where you are graded by your ability to be smarter at something than someone else in this class. The class encouraged us not to be the same and we are embraced for our individuality. This class has taught me to ask questions and to realize that there are so many answers to one question, but the answers we seek are not to fulfill our need to know what’s right or wrong but to fulfill our curiosity about the nature of things.”

“This class has allowed me to chisel away at the cover that has hardened over my curiosity and imagination. I don’t know how I could possibly go about living ‘real life’ without using what I have learned in this class.”

“I think a new perspective on the very real ability of children to be philosophical, a deeper understanding of my own beliefs on subjects like life, death, compassion, time, and right and wrong, as well as new thoughts and perspectives about those same subjects generated by my classmates are some of the most valuable things I learned in the class.”

“If I had to choose absolutely one take away from this class, it is to try my best to completely listen to the points of others.”

Washington State High School Ethics Bowl

Description

“The Ethics Bowl has prepared me to go into a conversation ready to have my mind changed.”
– Seattle high school student

The Washington State High School Ethics Bowl, run by PLATO and the University of Washington Department of Philosophy
is a competition in which teams analyze a series of wide-ranging ethical dilemmas involving topics such as cheating, plagiarism, peer pressure, relationships, and abuse of social media. An Ethics Bowl is similar to debate, although in Ethics Bowls teams are not forced to take adversarial positions or to hold fast to an assigned perspective. Instead, students have a forum in which to engage in dialogue, and they are judged on the quality of their analysis and the degree to which they engage in a thoughtful, civil exchange.
 
Although the High School Ethics Bowl is competitive, it is intended to promote collaboration. Teams do not have to take pro/con positions; in fact, they can agree with each other. They are not required to refute each other’s points, but rather to offer commentary on one another’s arguments. Teams are judged according to the quality of a team’s reasoning and how well team members organize and present their cases, analyze the case’s morally relevant features, and anticipate and preemptively respond to commentary and questions. Judges for the Washington State High School Ethics Bowl are drawn from the local legal, education, and philosophical communities.
 
The 2024 Washington State High School Bowl will take place on Saturday, February 3, at Nova High School in Seattle. Please see the registration page for further details.
 
National High School Ethics Bowl. Regional competitions around the country, like the Washington State High School Ethics Bowl, are divided into four geographic divisions for divisional playoffs. Washington State is part of the Western Division, and that playoff will take place online on Saturday February 10, 2024. Online divisional playoffs involve head-to-head, single-elimination matches, and the winner of each match will be invited to compete at the 2024 NHSEB National Championship at UNC-Chapel Hill, which will be held April 12-14, 2024.
 
The cases in the divisional playoffs will be chosen from the following six cases, all of which are being used in the Washington State High School Ethics Bowl:
Intellectual Property, Unplugged…
Doomsday Deterrence, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Tears of the Koroks
Well, That’s Debatable
Pain Au Chocolat
A Phenotypic Prometheus?
 
More information about divisional playoffs and the national competition are available on the National Bowl High School Ethics Bowl website.
 
For more information about Ethics Bowls generally, click here.
 
 

2023 HIGH SCHOOL ETHICS BOWL
The 2023 Washington State High School Ethics Bowl was held
on March 11, 2023, at the University of Washington School of Law.
 
Awards went to the following schools:
First place: Lakeside School Team 1
Second place: The Bush School  Team 2
Third place:Lakeside School Team 2
Award for Civil Dialogue: Chief Sealth High School and Eastlake High School
 

2022 HIGH SCHOOL ETHICS BOWL
The 2022 Washington State High School Ethics Bowl was held in person on Saturday, April 2, 2022, at The Bush School
 
Awards went to the following schools:
First place: The Bush School 
Second place: Ballard High School Team 2
Third place: Eastlake High School 
Award for Civil Dialogue: Lake Washington High School 
 

Ethics Bowl 2014 on Vimeo

 

Cases and Resources

Registration

High schools can enroll up to two teams, and each team can include up to 10 students (with 3-5 permitted to participate in any one round, and substitutions allowed at each new round). Each school must have a high school teacher as a contact, but we are happy to provide a graduate or undergraduate philosophy student to coach, or to help coach, a school.
 
All teams that plan to participate in the 2023–2024 program must register using the form to the right (or below on mobile). We can accept up to 20 teams, at which point registration will close. There is no registration fee paid to the Washington State High School Ethics Bowl.
 
Teams must also register with the National High School Ethics Bowl. The registration fee paid to the National High School Ethics Bowl is $125 per school (no matter how many teams are involved) if paid by November 1 and $175 if paid after November 1. The NHSEB can reduce or waive fees for teams needing financial assistance. Register with the national bowl online here.
 
Cases and more information can be found on the Cases and Resources tab.
PLEASE NOTE: The National High School Ethics Bowl has published 16 cases for the 2023-24 regional competitions, but the Washington State High School Ethics Bowl only uses 8 cases, including the 6 cases that form the possible cases for the divisional playoffs.
 
The 2024 Washington State High School Ethics Bowl will be held on Saturday, February 3, 2024, at Nova High School in Seattle.

Sponsors

A Huge Thank You To All Our Sponsors!

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    Certificate of Mastery for UW Graduate Students

    Description

    Created in 2019, the Certificate of Mastery in Philosophy for Children is intended for University of Washington graduate students interested in developing the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully lead philosophy sessions in K-12 classrooms.

    The Certificate Program is open to University of Washington graduate students in any area of study, and involves a combination of coursework and practical experience in the classroom.

     

    Requirements

    Certificate Requirements for University of Washington Graduate Students

    1. Completion of Phil 595 (Philosophical Inquiry in Schools) (5 credits)

    2. Completion of the following, after consultation with the certificate advisor:

      • At least two ETHICS or Philosophy Courses – Recommended Courses:
        • ETHICS 511 (especially advised for students with little or no philosophy background)
        • ETHICS 512 (especially advised for students with little or no philosophy background)
        • PHIL 406
        • PHIL 410
        • PHIL 412
        • PHIL 440
        • -OR- A 400- or 500-level philosophy course approved by the certificate advisor
      • At least two of the following Education Courses:
        • EDPSY 302 (through a 400-level independent study) Child Development and Learning
        • EDPSY 404 Adolescent Development
        • EDPSY 501 Human Learning and Educational Practice
        • EDPSY 502 Developmental Foundations of Early Learning (EDPSY501 is prerequisite)
        • EDSPE 503 Classroom Management for Elementary School Educators
        • EDLPS 520 Education as a Moral Endeavor
        • EDLPS 521 Philosophy of Education
        • EDLPS 530 History of Education in the US
        • EDLPS 538 Education for Liberatione
    3. A minimum of 40 hours in K-12 classrooms (observing, assisting, and/or facilitating philosophy sessions), at least half of which should be facilitating philosophy sessions as the lead instructor, and including successful evaluation from a trained philosophy facilitator to certify readiness to be a lead facilitator for philosophy sessions. Students can earn up to three credits for their work in classrooms through PHIL 584.

    4. A Capstone Experience, involving either completion of the Center’s annual June workshop or a talk given in the Philosophy Department, College of Education, or at a school or similar location, which must be approved by the certificate advisor, about the Certificate Candidate’s work in schools.


      For more information, please contact PLATO Executive Director Jana Mohr Lone at jana@plato-philosophy.org.

    Visiting Scholars and Educators

    General Information

    PLATO regularly hosts visiting scholars and educators at the University of Washington and serves as a national and international resource in the field. We have hosted visitors from many countries around the world, as well as other parts of the United States.

    Visiting scholars and educators sit in on university classes and programs, observe philosophy sessions in local public schools, and attend High School Ethics Bowl practices and/or competitions. We have hosted visitors for anywhere from one day to an entire quarter.

    Contact

    If you are interested in visiting us in Seattle, please contact PLATO Executive Director Jana Mohr Lone at jana@plato-philosophy.org.