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(8 Posts)
Gracesgran Fri 10-Jul-15 15:26:31

I was listening to a piece this morning about an area where they are teaching "philosophy" in Primary schools. I am not sure we would all call it philosophy but it is certainly teaching children critical thinking. They seem to be teaching them to listen to others, reflect on why they hold the opinions they do, evidence what they are putting forward and allow time and space for others to express their views.

Lead researcher Prof Stephen Gorard, from the School of Education at Durham University, said: "Our results suggest that these philosophy sessions can have a positive impact on pupils' maths, reading and perhaps their writing skills.

"But crucially, they seem to work especially well for the children who are most disadvantaged. This is very encouraging as we, along with the EEF, are committed to helping tackle educational disadvantage.

I think it is totally understandable that it works well for the most disadvantaged but I wonder how some grandparents will react when asked "but what is your evidence for that, Granny?"

There are quite a few articles on this but this is one:

durhamjen Fri 10-Jul-15 19:01:37

I heard it, too, GracesGran.
I am always being asked how I know by my grandson. "Are you sure?" is another of his favourite phrases, so I have to explain how and why I am sure, using the computer's support when I cannot find it in a book.

And there I was thinking it was the one-to-one teaching that was improving his maths, reading and writing skills.

durhamjen Fri 10-Jul-15 19:06:20

Same thing with more detail.

vampirequeen Sat 11-Jul-15 08:49:44

I tried to introduce something similar but had to stop because there was no time allocated for it on the timetable. Apparently targets and hoop jumping do not require children to learn how to think and question.

Gracesgran Sat 11-Jul-15 09:01:06

I think it is the sort of things children from disadvantaged households may well miss out on and anything that helps them must be good. As you say though vampirequeen the timetable is so full that you wonder how they fit it in.

Nelliemoser Sat 11-Jul-15 09:52:26

I can see exactly how it could help those children who do not get shown any of these skills during normal and perhaps often very limited parental interaction. Which tends to fit my concept of "disadvantaged."

It's nothing to do with poverty as in "financially poor households", although there is a statisical correlation in that.
As many GNnrs from poor working class homes who had parents with aspirations for their children to improve their lot can attest.
Thanks to R.A. Butlers 1944 education bill!

It is referred to as Philosophy which it is, but to simplfy that concept into the term thinking skills is probably much more helpful.
It is just about getting children to think critically about their views and their behaviour. A Good Thing!

mcem Sat 11-Jul-15 10:26:05

I had a similar experience vampirequeen . I think it was partly because the subject was optional but largely because the head was frightened by the word 'philosophy' and didn't really understand what we proposed to do.

The children very much enjoyed the activities which also included problem-solving (in
non-maths contexts) and logic puzzles as well as building vocabulary and simple debating. No mention of Plato, Aristotle et al!!

Since then, Scottish schools are working within different and less rigid curriculum guidelines.

vampirequeen Sat 11-Jul-15 10:32:19

I worry that we're turning out young people with no critical thinking skills. Surely that undermines our society by leaving them open to the power of charismatic rhetoric such as that used by many political and religious extremist groups.