04 SES 13 C, Philosophizing with Children: Inclusive Education through Uncertainty and Heterogeneity in the Community of Inquiry
“Uncertainty” is central to the method of Philosophising with Children which concerns grappling with philosophical questions and tackling complex, ambiguous content, which is open to different and diverse interpretations. Philosophical discussions are characterised by an openness to participant responses, in view of the fact that there is no simple right or wrong answer. The primary concern is working together to address a question or an issue in the Community of Inquiry in order to cultivate the speaking, listening and thinking together and to enable children to solve problems in dialogic interactions in an atmosphere of respect and mutual recognition. These characteristics of the philosophical Community of Inquiry correspond to a variety of requirements which have been outlined for inclusive learning and an associated teaching culture, such as focusing on a common subject which prioritizes the questions and ideas of children, The PwC method offers different forms of access for children, creating a teaching and learning setting that promotes key elements of inclusive learning such as participation, communication, interaction and cooperation (Barrow, 2015; Scholl 2014; Lin, 2017; Michalik, 2019). This paper presents the results of an empirical study based on group discussions with children and interviews with teachers about their experiences with philosophical inquiry in the classroom (Michalik, 2018). The discussions and interviews were videotaped, transcribed and Mayring’s inductive content analysis method was used to code and classify responses by topic. Findings based on the group discussions with children indicate that philosophical inquiry fosters participation and mutual understanding within the group. An important result is the pronounced high level of the children’s interest in the ideas of their classmates, and the understanding of each other. Another point of particular interest is the children’s general appreciation of the openness of philosophical questions. The uncertainty of possible answers to philosophical questions has a dual positive learning effect: it helps to create an atmosphere which encourages the participation of all the children and it supports the development of attitudes which enable children to cope with diversity, ambiguity and uncertainty in a constructive way. From the interviews with the teachers it became clear that regular philosophising has the potential to contribute to a more collaborative and inclusive style of teaching, that gives space for children’s own interests and activities as a condition for democratic participation.
Barrow, W. (2015). „I think she’s learnt how to sort of let the class speak“. An exploratory study of children’s perspectives on P4C as participatory pedagogy. Thinking skills and Creativity, 17: 76-87. Lin, C.-C. (2017): Diversity and Inclusion. Realizing the Heteroglossic Potential in Young People’s Philosophical Inquiry. In: Lin, C.-C. and Sequeira, L. (Eds.): Inclusion, Diversity, and Intercultural Dialogue in Young People’s Philosophical Inquiry. pp 85-96 Sense: Rotterdam, Boston, Taipei, Michalik, K. (2018): Ungewissheit als Herausforderung und Chance - Perspektiven von Lehrerinnen und Kindern auf das philosophische Gespräch. In: de Boer, H. and Michalik, K. (Eds.): Philosophieren mit Kindern – Forschungszugänge und -perspektiven. Berlin, Toronto. Michalik, K. (2019): Philosophieren mit Kindern im inklusiven Sachunterricht. In Pech, C. Detlef, S. and Schomaker, T. (Eds. ) Sachunterrichtsdidaktische Forschung zu Inklusion. Bad Heilbrunn: Schneider Verlag Scholl, R. (2014). „Inside-out Pedagogy“. Theorising Pedagogical Transformation through Teaching Philosophy. Australian Journal of Teaching Philosophy, 39 (6): 89-106.
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