04 SES 13 C, Philosophizing with Children: Inclusive Education through Uncertainty and Heterogeneity in the Community of Inquiry
Pre-school children have already acquired the ability to express and argue their own opinion: these abilities are linked to basic language skills. Children must gradually learn how to use subordinate clauses, to use more developed verb forms (such as the subjunctive) as well as complex conceptualization. Preschoolers need to expand their every-day language register to what is called the language of schooling (Schleppegrell, 2004). For children with German as a second language and children with language impairments, the acquisition of these language skills is a particular challenge. The use of complex speech acts should therefore be supported, especially in inclusive context. This study examined if philosophising with children can stimulate particularly complex speech acts. At the centre lies the assumption that the cognitive-stimulating content of open questions, that are not only open in a grammatical but particularly in a conceptual sense (Worley, 2015), demand complex linguistic expression. Philosophy with Children has not yet been examined regarding its potential for complex speech acts and its effects on speech acts at micro level. It is assumed that philosophical dialogue can actively support children in this learning process because children are explicitly challenged to explain terms, express their opinions and justify these, and to speculate, through targeted philosophical dialogue (Michalik, 2006, 2010). Embedded in a pre- and post-test using the “Hamburger Verfahren zur Analyse des Sprachstandes Fünfjähriger” (Reich & Roth, 2004), weekly philosophical conversations were carried out in an experimental class over a period of six months. The control class had the same test but instead of philosophical dialogues, dialogic picture book readings implemented. In both classes were comparable compositions of children with language skills within age-appropriate parameters, children with specific language impairments (SLI) and children with German as a second language (ESL). The central findings are that the philosophising children developed significantly higher language ability after six months - including ESL and SLI children - compared with a non-philosophising control class in two areas: general conversational behaviour and the use of high-grade connectors. In a second part of the study, a comparison was made of the speech acts of the children and their preschool teacher in philosophical conversation with their own speech acts in a further dialogical conversation situation. This showed that content-wise open questions of the pre-school teacher lead to particularly complex linguistic actions of the children, accompanied by the usage of higher verbal forms and structures and sentence-connecting words.
Michalik, K. (2006). Zur Methodik von Nachdenkgesprächen. Grundschule Sachunterricht, 31: 7–11. Michalik, K. (2010). Methoden des Philosophierens mit Kindern. Grundschulunterricht Sachunterricht, 1: 39–44. Reich H. H. & Roth, H.-J. (2004). HAVAS 5. Hamburger Verfahren zur Analyse des Sprachstandes Fünfjähriger. Hamburg: Landesinstitut für Lehrerbildung und Schulentwicklung. Schleppegrell, M. (2004). The Language of Schooling. A Functional Linguistics Perspective. Mahwah, Jersey, London: L. Erlbaum Associates. Tietze, S., Rank, A., & Wildemann, A. (2016). Erfassung bildungssprachlicher Kompetenzen von Kindern im Vorschulalter. Grundlagen und Entwicklung einer Ratingskala (RaBi). Verfügbar unter https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/44744748.pdf Worley, P. (2015). Open thinking, closed questioning: Two kinds of open and closed question. Journal of Philosophy in Schools, 2(2): 17-29.
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