What is P4C Philosophical Thinking Education?

  • Teaching philosophical thinking is an approach and an educational method that goes beyond what can be achieved with traditional education, as it is not a subject with a specific content and a textbook that studies the history of philosophy or the differences between different philosophical schools. The student acquires the ability to philosophy as an intellectual skill that can be applied practically in the areas of life.

  • The curriculum is compatible with any school subject and is suitable for all ages, from kindergarten children to adults.

  • This approach benefits people with varying mental abilities.

  • The curriculum for teaching philosophical thinking is spread in more than 60 countries around the world and is concerned with stimulating thinking through dialogue that creates an educational model called (questioning society).

  • In the questioning society, the role of the teacher changes from being a communicator of information to a facilitator in the open-ended philosophical dialogue, while the child or adult is the active participant in creating knowledge.

  • The dialogue takes place during the so-called Socratic circle, where the participants are encouraged to interact and respond to a philosophical stimulus, which may be a children's picture story, a picture or a clip from a short film, then they learn how to ask the open-ended philosophical question. After that, each group poses its question, and then the questions asked are voted on, led by the teacher or the facilitator, and after the question that received the largest number of votes is selected, the facilitator leads the Socratic dialogue using a set of auxiliary methods.

  • At the conclusion of the dialogue, the individuals within the Socratic circle actively review and evaluate what happened within the dialogue; This is because philosophical thinking goes beyond caring about the philosophical content to the dialogic process itself during the dialogue, which is what is called metacognition.

  • The Community of Inquiry centers around four types of thinking: caring thinking, collaborative thinking, creative thinking, and critical thinking.

  • The participating individual can, through the mutual integration of the types of thinking, generate a set of mental habits, including: linking and differentiating, building concepts and refuting arguments, giving examples and clarifying criteria, returning to the hypotheses behind the question and the accompanying logic, reasoning, and others.

  • Teaching philosophical thinking is a constructive education that centers around the child, to give the child a sustainable skill for learning, and to develop a sense of logic on the one hand, the emotional aspect, attentive listening, eloquent speaking, and expressing ideas clearly and briefly on the other hand.

  • Research around the world has proven that teaching philosophical thinking contributes to developing the efficiency of academic material acquisition and enriches learning from a behavioral point of view. Because it clearly supports the learning motivation of the participants.

  • Teaching philosophical thinking provides an enticing challenge to children, young people, and the general population—including the teacher, who plays a different role from his traditional role of facilitator in the Socratic circle.

Principles of Baseera curriculum for teaching philosophical thinking and the values of the questioning society

The curriculum for teaching philosophical thinking was inspired by two main objectives:

  • Developing cognitive abilities by learning higher mental habits and all that follows from abstraction, reasoning, logic, classification, and others.

  • Building a high sense of the questioning community, and this includes everything related to community skills such as respecting and accepting differences in ideas, feelings, viewpoints, and values.

Based on these two goals, the questioning society is based on a set of values:

  • Every child and young person has his own experience and interests - just as adults do - and he has the right to have these experiences and interests be part of his educational experience.

  • A good education is the result of these interests, and it is an education that is suitable for the child and is not subject to fixed quantitative standards.

  • The school is an integrated scientific and social experience and is not concerned with the indoctrination aspect of academic content only. Therefore, it is a microcosm of the large society.

  • A good education cares about the educational process arising from the child himself, with an interest equal to - and may even increase - the interest in the educational product or the educational content. Based on this, we believe that there must be formal and informal time for students in the school to ask their questions that will help them understand their scientific methods and their social experiences alike.

  • The teacher, as a facilitator, facilitates the process of transferring the dialogue between individuals within the dialogue circle, and does not transfer information or specify the answers.

  • The facilitator (the philosophical teacher) adheres to the idea of open Socratic dialogue, so he does not lead the dialogue to make the participants guess the answer prepared in his mind previously, nor does he try to guess the answers in the minds of the participants and then rephrase them to change them, but rather let the dialogue proceed smoothly with the use of certain techniques that push the idea forward without contributing directly to pushing it to an inevitable end.

The arguments of philosophical thinking

  1. 1. Inspired- Inquiry

    The purpose of questioning is to obtain knowledge as a basis for issuing good judgments, and questioning is a way to apply knowledge in the best available way. Questioning involves several processes that take place during the Socratic Circle:

    • Clarification of the source of the question.

    • Explore and test the assumptions in the question.

    • Deciding how to arrive at the answer.

    • Assessing evidence's relevance to justifications.

    • Arriving at a conclusion based on assumed arguments.

  1. 2. Concepts (Constructive - Concept)

    • Understanding concepts takes place on two levels, general and specific. Therefore, the teacher does not assume that the way he understands and defines concepts is the same as children's definitions. Rather, there is a personal meaning that we form and extract from our daily experiences.

    • The philosophical teacher does not put a distance between himself and his students and generalizes his definition of concepts, but rather finds the bridge that connects all ideas.

    • It is characteristic of philosophers to liberate raw concepts (whether by comparison, noting differences, generalizations, etc..) Any teacher who is able to apply this tool accurately is a teacher who is philosophical in his practice and in the impact he has on his students.

  1. 3. Dialogue Driven

    Normal conversation stimulates the exchange of ideas, but in philosophical dialogue it shifts from mere sharing to good, constructive listening and understanding of diversity of ideas, concepts, and concerns And interests.

    • The philosophical teacher listens as much as he would like his students to hear

    • Stimulating dialogue not only with the teacher, but also among the participants

    • Dialogue develops mental skills, interpersonal relationships, personality and self-confidence

(2019) (Philosophical Teaching an exposition / manifesto, Roger Suitcliffe)