P4C and the vision of the Kingdom 2030:
In reference to the Ministry of Education website, we clearly see that the Ministry has carefully monitored the challenges facing the education sector and has given the opportunity to study the proposed initiatives to achieve the objectives of 2030 Vision in the education sector.
It is clear from the attached pictures from the Ministry’s website that the program of P4C serves directly the vision’s orientations, specifically in the fields of:
- Promoting the orientation towards education revolvedaround the needs of the student more than the academic goals of the teacher.
- Improving the educational environment that stimulates creativity and innovation
- Improving the quality of critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making.
- Improving the quality of social communication skills and teamwork.
- Promoting values, moral reasoning and individual responsibility.
How Baseera serves the education sector:
The Baseera program aims to be the first reference in the Arabic speaking world in providing educational services in the field of P4C for children and adults through:
- Integrating P4C processes in schools and universities.
- Raising the level of academic achievements in school subjects such as: mathematics, language, arts and others as a result of P4C skills.
- Developing the methodological content and the tools used to teach philosophical thinking in various contexts such as books and media.
- Raising awareness about the importance of P4C in schools and universities through seminars and workshops.
- Organizing and accrediting workshops and specialized courses in practical and theoretical aspects of P4C.
- Providing a network of communication bridging those who are interested in the local communities in the Arab world with the relevant specialized international references, organizations and conferences.
How does P4C benefit teachers? :
The teachers in public and private schools endure heavy concerns in dealing with the content that is supposed to be provided to the students. However, motivating self-thinking of their students will help them in having a sense of responsibility toward knowledge acquisition versus deductive knowledge.
The better the students acquire self-learning skills, the less teacher concerns will be. We can visualize the amount of energy surrounding this learning community, both the teacher and the students in an ideal environment with the skills of the community of inquiry, where both the teacher and the students teach and learn, away from the limited one-sided delivering and receiving current model.
If this environment which is filled with the spirit of positive dialogue is your dream, then the techniques of philosophical thinking represents your way towards this dream through the development of skills such as:
- Developing the sense of curiosity among students.
- Mastering the skill of classroom dialogue.
- Relying on thinking, rather than memorization and indoctrination, as the primary driving force for learning in the classroom.
- Respecting the minds of students and responding to their mental and psychological abilities.
- Honoring human values, openness and knowledge expansion.
How does P4C benefit students? :
Philosophy is often regarded as an attempt to answer the “big questions” in life, such as “Who am I?”, “What is the right thing to do?” Adults ask these questions openly or implicitly, but we may ignore them for many reasons. Children challenge these questions with the same intensity as being an extension of human experience.
However, the dividing line between child awareness and adults is in a continuously decreasing path, especially in the information age and the technological revolution. Therefore, dealing early with the fundamental questions in life helps greatly in creating a more comprehensive relationship with the universe, society and the self, it creates a greater sense of purpose, goals and satisfaction in the human journey on this earth.
Learning philosophical thinking encourages students to engage with important questions but does not necessarily commit to the above-mentioned examples, which seems somewhat embellished. The question “Who am I?” for example, is not likely to appear in everyday conversation but many of these questions may appear in the program implicitly in philosophical mental games that students can’t resist to interacting with.
The following are some examples of philosophical questions posed by children and young people through workshops in the program:
- Why don’t we know everything?
- Do we have the choice to think or not?
- Why are there rich and poor people?
- Is language enough to understand each other?
- How do we differentiate between truth and fiction?
- How do you know who your friend really is?
- Why is there some sadness in every happiness?
- What is the difference between telling lies and keeping a secret?
- Do adults know everything?
- When did you start thinking?
- If you have a different name, would you be a different person?
- Do we all have the same rights?
- What is imagination?
Philosophical thinking is not confined to teaching questioning, but goes beyond that to metacognition. Philosophical thinking in the community of inquiry is a technique that is capable of providing high value skills to students, including personal skills such as self-confidence, flexibility and social skills such as respect, sense of worthiness, openness and empathy. Therefore it provides a golden opportunity for sustainable learning, making students willing to face greater challenges in the course of their life.
How does P4C benefit the school community?
Learning how to think starts when children learn to speak or even before that, by receiving and interpreting the linguistic symbols used by their community. Communication and interaction are the two main drivers of thinking and the questioning posed by the child, remains the first tool that clearly reveals the existence of these two drivers.
The suppression of asking questions affects the nature of the child’s perception of the world. Instead of his/her mind working progressively sequencing questions and answers, his pattern becomes to receive answers ‘’unquestioningly’’. The lack of involvement in creating the question, leaves the answer fragile and can always be demolished without any tools of reasoning or arguing.
Unfortunately, there are school community environments that suppress asking questions and believe that it is a tool of rebellion or a challenge to rules and systems and what is familiar, and therefore avoid it. This fear naturally reaches the child and he/she surrender to indoctrination until he/she gradually loses curiosity. Here we see the child’s communication problems appear as a negative recipient in the community. In contrast, there are other environments that celebrate asking questions and make it a part of the nature of growth and it is valued as a learning tool.
What we aspire to in the community of inquiry is that the program of P4C takes this natural relationship between language, society and thinking and moves forward by highlighting the problems of communication among school students and finds solutions by restoring the right to ask questions about the meaning of presuppositions and to penetrate the assumptions that lie behind them.
Students learn through the curriculum of philosophical thinking the critical thinking method that helps them to analyze the words that are raised by teachers or by their colleagues. But these abilities are not directed at the ideas that come from others only. Critical thinking teaches them to take care of what they say themselves. At the same time, the goal of the community of inquiry is not just analysis and criticism, but also creative cognitive construction.
The curriculum of philosophical thinking provides four conditions for learning: collaborative thinking, caring thinking, creative thinking and analytical critical thinking. These conditions extend the scope of thinking comprehensively in the school community so you find that everyone is expected to care about what others say or share. This understanding includes respecting interests and interacting with ideas and questions that are equally shared by all. Every sharing has its weight and is measured to ensure that it explains the meaning of what is said. In this way we move away from rhetoric and specialized philosophical terminology and use a neutral language understood by all participants.
When the student has progressed in sharing his ideas, he is expected to understand that the dialogue in the community of inquiry requires a safe environment in which everyone feels respected and appreciated. This trust appears in the nature of participation in dialogue without fear as everyone knows that he/she will listen seriously, this does not necessarily mean accepting the point of view automatically, but it means a grounded, educated and peaceful dialogue.
When someone introduces an idea to the community of inquiry, he or she must mentally recall what others have said to make sure of the connection in the idea, sequence, relations and semantics. There is a constant effort to reach something but there is also a constant expectation to explore different perspectives and new possibilities in the journey of understanding the self and the world.
To ask about reasons, to refer to the consequences, to clarify the assumptions, to give an example, to offer a new opinion and to question the standard, all the previous are expected skills from the individual in the community of inquiry when the dialogue takes place, even the moments of silence have a significant weight when it comes to deep thinking about philosophical idea that presents a mental challenge to everyone.
Therefore, P4C is a supportive program for this type of school environment, it complements most modern curriculum strategies in the 21st century. It is a curriculum that allows schools to transform their declared values from mere slogans into specific guidelines for behavior and learning behaviors at school.
Curriculum design in public schools improves the class performance of the teacher and the students, it also gives an impression of the safe environment of values, provides open thinking that affects the spirit and culture of the entire school.
In International Baccalaureate schools whether at the primary, intermediate or diploma level P4C is consistent with the theory of knowledge and supports the learner’s file in the form of inductive questioning through open Socratic questions.