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New book in Norwegian about philosophy for children by Beate Børresen and Bo Malmhester: "Let the children philosophise"
Published 10 May 2004
Beate Børresen works at the Oslo University College. Bo Malmhester is a Swedish teacher who has lived in Norway for the last years doing P4C-projects in the Oslo-area with Beate Børresen. Their projects have been quite successful and this book is in many ways the culmination of their joint ventures so far.
The book focuses mainly on structures, working procedures, exercises and examples, lots of examples, so it should do nicely as a manual for experimentally-minded teachers. It is, however, less oriented towards pedagogical theory and closer philosophical examination of the practices involved so it is less useful as a thought-provoker for those who would like to look deeper into the field of P4C.
Beate Børresen and Bo Malmhester:
La barna filosofere – Den filosofiske samtale i skolen
(Let the children philosophise—The philosophical dialogue in school)
Paperback, 269 pages
Price: NOK 359,-
Philosophical café with Oscar Brenifier
Published 6 March 2004
Oscar Brenifier is a philosopher and pedagogian from Canada (and France). He has worked for many years with philosophical dialogues with children and adults. His book Bare spør! Metoder for samtale i klasserommet (Just ask! Methods for classroom dialogues) is soon to be published on Cappelen Akademiske Forlag. The language of the philosophical café is English.
Saturday 20 March, 11.00—13.30
Brenifier-book translated into Norwegian
Published 6 March 2004
Just ask! Methods for classroom dialogues (in Norwegian: Bare spør! Metoder for samtaler i klasserommet) is a book for teachers who would like to help their pupils become more skilled in the difficult art of developing and expressing thoughts. Through organised dialogues in the classroom pupils learn to ask questions, to think critically, and to defend their opinions by way of argument.
The teacher should control the structure of the dialogues so that discussions are not brought to a halt because of contradiction and opposition between personal opinions. The main goal is to begin the labour of problematising.
In his book Oscar Brenifier presents five basic principles for dialogues in the classroom:
- To ask each other questions
- To work with texts
- To correct each others answers
- To investigate a question
- To practise telling/narration
The author presents a great many exercise-suggestions, and he also describes the most common difficulties arising during pupil discussions. Both are a good help for the teachers who want to take use of the investigating dialogue as a general pedagogical procedure.
The book is suitable for teachers in the primary and secondary schools as well as for high school teachers. Also the method is highly relevant and applicable for students and teachers at teacher colleges.
Oscar Brenifier is doctor of philosophy and has published and worked a great deal within the field children and philosophy. This is his first book in Norwegian.
Just ask! Methods for classroom dialogues
Publisher: Cappelen Akademisk Forlag
Language: Norwegian Bokmål
Ready for sale: Medio March
Price: NOK 158,-
Order the book at Cappelen.no
P4C seminar in Oslo with Oscar Brenifier—Oslo College, 19 March 2004
Published 18 February 2004
Oscar Brenifier is a philosopher and pedagogian from Canada (and France). He has worked for many years with philosophical dialogues with children and adults. These days he is busy introducing philosophical dialogues in the French primary and secondary schools. He has also written several books, one of which soon to be published in Norwegian.
P4C seminar in Oslo with Karin Murris—Oslo College, 28 November 2003
Published 27 October 2003
This is a one-day introductory seminar aimed at teachers in the primary and secondary school as well as pre-school teachers and assistants. The college has invited the Dutch/English philosopher and practitioner Karin Murris, associated with Dialogueworks in England, who will present a general introduction to philosophy for children. After the break she will facilitate a philosophical discussion with a group of children from Frogner International Pre-School.
Kindergarten project in Kristiansand—update
Published 7 October 2003
As mentioned in an earlier news bulletin (see 26 April 2003), Kristiandsand municipality started a quality project in 2002 which they called "The good kindergarten with a focus on the children's perspective". This project will run through 2004 and is made possible by a cooperation between the county governor in Vest-Agder and the head of nursery schools in Kristiansand municipality.
We have been engaged in this project throughout 2003 and here is a summary of what we have done so far:
- First we held a 3-hour course in philosophy for children aimed at kindergartens in the city of Kristiansand. The participating kindergartens had on beforehand enrolled in the aforementioned quality project. There were approx. 100 participants from a dozen kindergartens on this course.
- One of these kindergartens showed particular interest in philosophy for children, and consequently we had two full day visits to this kindergarten. During our stay we had several philosophical dialogues with the children (4 and 5 year olds), we monitored and commented several dialogues that the staff had with the children and finally we gave the staff general feedback and deepening information. We also gave them "homework": a comprehensive collection of exercises in order to enhance their understanding of philosophy in general, philosophical thought and philosophical dialogue with children in particular.
- After this practical follow-up it was time to delve more deeply into the subject matter. So we arranged a one-day course for the staff. Here we studied together, in detail, the answers we had received from the exercise sheets. We also gave the staff thorough training in how to perform philosophical dialogues as well as discussing relevant theory in depth.
This project has been most successful, not just because everything went well, but because the seeds are already beginning to grow in the new soil. Today the staff runs philosophical dialogues with the children every week and thanks to the project they have discovered new ways of looking upon themselves, the children and their relation to each other. Also, thanks to the training and material we have provided for them, the staff has now begun educating staff from other kindergartens. For instance they recently had a kindergarten delegation coming down from Oslo who showed great interest in the process they had been through. We have now contacted these kindergartens and hope to develop something along the same veins there.
"Questions"—issue no. 3, 2003 published
Published 4 September 2003
Questions is a new American magasine dedicated to the philosophical questions—and answers—of young people and their teachers. Each issue revolves around a philosophical theme, and contains transcripts of K—12 philosophical discussions, philosophical writings by students, drawings, essays and articles offering advice and ideas for activities for teachers and parents interested in facilitating philosophical discussions with young people.
- Facsimile of the front page of issue no. 3 (approx. 200 kB)
- Visit Philosophy Documentation Center for more information regarding subscription
- American Philosophical Association
- Northwest Center for Philosophy
Children Investigates the Concept of Cause and Effect: An Analysis of Philosophy in Elementary School
Published 1 September 2003
The Swedish student Charlotte Bagge has recently finished her master thesis on P4C at the Department of Education, Stockholm University. Regrettably the thesis is only available in Swedish, but here's at least an English abstract.
The thesis is undertaken within a larger research project, which in turn is a co-operation between the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Education at Stockholm University, Sweden (financed by The Science Board).
An intentional analysis has been employed in a study of elementary school children's conceptions of "cause and effect", where three postgraduate philosophy students and one regular teacher have been observed while discussing the concept of "cause and effect" with their pupils, at two different occasions. The lessons have been audio-taped and transcribed. Different patterns or lines of reasoning have been examined, as well as some of the pupils' explanations.
The first (1) pattern that two of the philosophers seemed to act in accordance with was similar to a Community of Inquiry, the second (2) pattern that appeared in the two remaining groups, with a pattern that teachers in elementary school in Sweden use in general, which is quite different from the former in many respects.
According to the pupils conceptions of cause and effect, it was found that several learners where operating with what could be called a "compounded model" of explanations, that is they used a combination of several models, for example an teleological model combined with a functionalistic or a casual explanation. But also strictly separated models where found.
Children and Youth Philosophers visit Vollen Montessori School in Asker (south of Oslo)
Published 7 May 2003
We were invited by the principal, Else-Marie Haakonsen, a skilful Montessori-pedagogian and a warm supporter of philosophy with children. First we had a conversation about animals with all the pupils at the school (they had just returned from a visit to a country farm). However, the fact that all pupils were present, sounds more extravagant than it really was: the school has merely 10 pupils (7-yo), hence this became a nice little 'community of enquiry'.
We started off by deliberating on numbers and counting. How can we know for sure that 2+2=4? Do we really need 10 fingers to be able to count properly—could we not count all numbers with just one finger? Some of the children thought that it could be a little bit scary to be the one who is counted. In relation to the visit to the farm, it turned out that many of the children had really appreciated the nearness with the animals, especially the cuddly cats and rabbits.
But some other children felt sorry for the animals on the farm, for instance there was a dog that was tied up all the time and the poor pigs were going to be eaten in the end! Still it was not obvious to them that the animals would be better off on their own than in partnership with humans. Many thought that the animals would not have survived without human care and attention. One child claimed that wild animals ate other animals, but stopped doing so on becoming tame. Therefore tame animals would not be able to survive out in the free. Still several children reached the conclusion that many animals, i.e. cows, probably never had eaten any other animal. We continued discussing the differences between wild and tame animals and one child suggested that human beings were animals that had never been wild. We also briefly touched the issue whether humans camouflage themselves the way animals do.
After the conversation we discussed our experiences with the teachers who had been observing the whole session. One issue was the difficult balancing between listening carefully to the many diverse contributions of the children on the one hand and trying to create a movement towards deeper understanding on the other. For instance: are we to ignore suggestions that have nothing to do with the topic we focus on there and then or are we to allow 'stream of consciousness-contributions'? Another difficulty was getting the children to listen to each other and at the same time making as many as possible partake in the conversation. This went fairly well this time as almost all of the children in the group had been contributing at least once during the conversation.
Children and Youth Philosophers participates on a quality project in Kristiansand
Published 26 April 2003
Last year Kristiansand municipality started a quality project called "The good kindergarten with focus on the perspective of the child". The project runs from January 2002 until December 2004 and is a cooperation between the county governor in Vest-Agder and the head of nursery schools in Kristiansand municipality.
We became a part of the project as we were asked to perform a seminar for a selected kindergartens in Kristiansand in February this year. We had more than 100 participants and by the end of day it turned out that one of the kindergartens wanted us to visit them for a whole day.
Shortly before easter we visited Kongsgård kindergarten situated near the centre of Kristiansand. We started by observing the staff and the conversations the had with the children. Then we had a philosophical dialogue with the oldest children (aged 5). We told an old story from Iran about a man who held a nightingale in a cage. After lunch we had an outdoor game where the children were to find object and place them in one of two circles: the circle of living things and the circle of non-living things. Finally we had evaluating conversations with the staff.
We wrote a report from this day which we handed over both to the kindergarten and to the county governor. Hopefully we will continue our participation in this project as it continues to develop.
Children and Youth Philosophers proudly present www.skoletorget.no—a new site for the entire primary and secondary schools in Norway
Published 28 October 2002
What is Skoletorget?
Skoletorget (which means "the school market/square") is a site for the entire primary and secondary school. We will offer teaching material in the six basic subjects: Norwegian, English, Social Studies, Religion, Mathematics and Natural Science. The project is still in it's early phases but we hope to be able to present a complete service on the net by the autumn of 2003. From January 2003 we will, however, update the pages with new material at least once a week.
The philosophical Skoletorget
All teaching material on Skoletorget is accompanied by philosophical questions. These questions are very well suited as thought provokers for the pupils and as a basis for philosophical dialogues in the classroom. The philosophical questions help the pupils absorb the material and put new knowledge into new and hitherto unexplored contexts. When the questions are being discussed in the class their critical senses are strengthened as are their abilities to formulate their opinions, to argue pro et contra and, generally, to communicate with others. They also get used to listen to what other pupils have to say before they make up their own mind.
Resource pages for teachers
On Skoletorget the teacher will find informative texts and exercises, teaching plans, resources and philosophical questions for use in the classroom. All material is developed with an unswerwing reference to the Norwegian curriculum (L97). All texts and teaching plans are also available as printer friendly PDF-documents. Besides Skoletorget will contain a complete teachers manual on how to do philosophy with children and youth.
Resource pages for pupils
For the pupils there are texts and tasks but also exercises and games to train particular skills, for instance memory or word recognition. The pupils may also listen to a reading of each text and to each topic (regardless of subject) we have made reading exercises to be solved directly on the net. Besides each text is supplied with interactive word explanations to ease the understanding of the text and the appropriation of the subject matter itself. By using these interactive explanations the pupils systematically expand their vocabulary and their understanding of new concepts.
Who is behind Skoletorget?
Skoletorget was originally thought as a cooperation between CYP and Skolavefurinn (www.skolavefurinn.is) on Iceland. Skolavefurinn (The School Web) has delivered teaching material in all the Icelandic school subjects since 2000. However it soon turned out that CYP had other wishes for this project than merely to transfer the Icelandic idea to Norway. Therefore it no longer served the purpose to continue the cooperation as planned. For the time being we still use the Icelandic logo and design templates, but this will gradually change as the Norwegian site is moving towards completion.
Today CYP cooperate with Major students at the Pedagogical Research Institute at the University of Oslo. Together we now aim to attach relevant partners to the project so that we may quickly be able to present a complete Internet service for the Norwegian schools.
ICPIC 11th Biannual Conference, Varna, Bulgaria, June 26-30, 2003
Published 19 August 2002
The conference theme revolves around dialogue between children and adults. Interactive presentations are welcome which approach this theme from any number of angles—whether theoretical papers, reports of relevant research, original curriculum, or some other. Thirty to fifty children, mainly from the Rakovsky School in Varna, a grades 1-12 institution which has been practicing P4C for nearly a decade, will attend the conference, and approximately one-third of the sessions will be planned as philosophical dialogues among groups of children, as well as groups with roughly equal numbers of adults and children. Keynotes will be delivered by both adults and children.
Since this is an inter-generational conference, we encourage you to consider bringing any or all of your own children, if this is appropriate—or, if you live within the region—schoolchildren with whom you practice philosophy.
If you wish to propose a paper, or to conduct a session with a specific theme, please submit a proposal of 300-500 words to any or all of these ICPIC officers: David Kennedy, President (USA); Beate Børresen, Vice-President (Norway); Cecilia Hornell, Secretary (Sweden); Brynhildur Sigurdardottir, Treasurer (Iceland)
Published 5 July 2002
Questions is a new American magasine dedicated to the philosophical questions—and answers—of young people and their teachers. Published annually, each issue revolves around a philosophical theme, and contains transcripts of K—12 philosophical discussions, philosophical writings by students, drawings, essays and articles offering advice and ideas for activities for teachers and parents interested in facilitating philosophical discussions with young people.
Funding for Questions is provided by the American Philosophical Association, the Northwest Center for Philosophy and the Philosophy Documentation Center. Subscription is $25 pro annum.
Issues 1 and 2 are however freely distributed. You may therefore download a PDF-version of the first issue. More about subscription: check the last page in the magasine.
- Visit Philosophy Documentation Center for more information regarding subscription
- American Philosophical Association
- Northwest Center for Philosophy
The film "You and I" on the Internet
Published 23 May 2002
Some of you may have seen the English subtitled film "Du og jeg" (You and I) which Per Jespersen made some years ago. Here we met four Danish children in the age from 10 to 12 expressing themselves about deeply philosophical topics like the importance of a You for the I (and vice versa), knowledge and consciousness, life and death, responsibility and ethics. Throughout the whole film Per Jespersen himself remained in the background and every now and then pointed questions to the children to help make their thoughts prosper.
Last year Per Jespersen made an English-speaking sequel to "Du og jeg". This time we meet four English-speaking children at the same age exchanging their thoughts about the same complex, but at the same time very rich and fascinating questions. This film is now available as streaming video! Per Jespersen's home pages
Danish Society for Parents demands philosophy in school
Published 15 April 2002
The Danish Society for Parents—«Skole og Samfund» (School and Society)—has recently published a commentary in the Danish journal «Skolebørn» (Schoolchildren) where the Society marks out six issues it finds particularly important to address in contemporary Danish school. Listed among several wishes for a better school, the Society says that it wants philosophy to become a new subject in the grade school. Here's a report translated from www.uportalen.dk:
«The Danish School Act now being over 9 years old, there is a growing political pressure to change different parts of it. In this preliminary discussion of possible alterations of the Scool Act, the Society would like to make it's voice heard, it says in the commentary.
That's why the Society puts forward these six issues: obligatory pre-school classes, more education, education adapted to the single pupil, unity and coherence in the entire school progression, increased decentralisation in the common grade school—and philosophy as a separate subject. [...]
[...] According to the Society the introduction of philosophy will enhance the pupil's personal development in a community of common values. It will also contribute to the pointing out and discussion of fundamental issues in the school's education—as well as creating greater connections between the different school subjects.
Philosophy is a subject, the Society says, that unites all school activities into a meaningful whole whereby promoting and motivating the pupils' contribution to and understanding of life at school, both their own and that of their peers. Also it is thought that the new subject should give room for elaboration, reflection and wonderment in a school that is subject to the speed and transformation of the information society. And strengthen the identity formation, co-responsibility and openness of the individual pupil. [...]
You are now enjoying version 2.1 of www.buf.no
Published 10 January 2002
In this update we have:
- restructured the web-hierarchy to make navigation more logical
- given the news and the search facility (also added an advanced option) it's own mainpages
- introduced the international audiences to our net forums
- checked all links for validity and added several new links
- omitted graphics to improve downloading/accessing times
- corrected files for code bugs, misspellings etc.
New philosophy-book for children by Liza Haglund
Published 1 December 2001
This book—called Att tänka noga (To think thoroughly)—is an introduction to philosophical thinking for children from age 11 and upwards. It is based on pivotal questions that adult philosophers have wondered about for hundreds of years, e.g: what do the words mean? what is the difference between facts and value judgements? is "finders keepers" a fair principle? Philosophical questions are really difficult to answer and yet they concern us all. Liza Haglund is a Swedish philosopher and pedagogian who in this book tries to present these questions in a straightforward and sincere manner for young thinkers.
Concluding report on a philosophy project at the Norwegian Telecom Museum
Published 26 November 2001
The idea to have philosophical dialogues with pupils in connection with their guided tour at the museum was to give the children a chance to reflect upon questions related to communication and technology. In partaking in dialogues they could themselves join in in creating a philosophical frame to complement their thoughts and experiences. The philosophical dialogues were supposed to be a supplement to the tours which of course focussed on conveying knowledge about the exhibition itself. In the dialogues we started out with the children's own thoughts and tried to open up to new and deeper aspects of both communication and technology—concepts that most of us, children and adults, are inclined to take for granted in our daily life. [...]
2hr course for The Faculty of Arts, University of Oslo
Published 23 October 2001
The Faculty of Arts at the University of Oslo wants to recruit more students. One way to do that is to approach pupils in the high schools, inform them about the variety of subjects at the Faculty of Arts and thus inspire them to choose a humanistic education. To do this job the Faculty sought 15 graduate students who would like to present their particular subject to pupils in the schools—and also to have dialogues with the pupils on the basis of questions emerging from the presentation. But before considered fit to enter the classrooms, all these students had to undergo a special preparatory course.
This is where we came in. We (i.e. CYP) were invited by the Faculty to tell the graduate students about philosophizing with children and youth—how to do it and what it takes to be a good facilitator. We had two hours to our disposal which was just enough time to go through the basics about Socratic attitude and method plus having a philosophical dialogue together.
The question this group chose to talk about was: is there any point in studying humanistic subjects? (sic!) During the conversation we found that even though the humanistic subjects were perhaps less "useful" than other topics and subjects aimed at a particular profession (e.g. medicine), they had intrinsic meaning and value that the other subjects didn't have. It was also pointed out, however, that the humanistic subjects in today's society could also be "useful" (in the narrow sense of the word), for instance many humanists are today employed in both commercial and non-commercial sectors.
Philosophy with children in Kongsberg
Published 9 October 2001
Teachers and pupils at Skavanger elementary school have worked specifically with Jostein Gaarders Sophies World this autumn. They have read extracts aloud, they have dramatised and performed scenes from the book, made drawings etc. Our task this day was to have dialogues with the children to help forward some of the thoughts that had been accumulated during this process. We philosophized with the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th graders. We also told the teachers about philosophy for children.
The classes were divided into two so that each half consisted of approx. 10 pupils—which is an ideal size of a group. At each session there were one or two teachers present, not to take part in the philosophizing, just to listen to it. This day turned out to be very intense and exciting. None of the classes were particularly interested in talking about themes from the history of philosophy. Instead they came up with lots of other questions. Here are some of them:
- how can we know that a person actually is the person he claims to be, and not just an advanced robot claiming to be this person?
- do we need love in the same way that we need clothes?
- is there a connection between rich and poor on the one hand and smart and stupid on the other?
- what makes a body healthy and what makes it unhealthy? is it meaningful to talk about healthy and unhealthy thoughts as well?
- what is fun and what is boring?
- how would life have been if we hadn't had the chance to ask questions?
- what is black hole (questions concerning time and space)?
- can we control our thoughts? if not, how then can we control our actions?
- why are there more insects than people?
Courses for «Alineforeningen»
Published 10 September 2001
Alineforeningen is a Norwegian society for adoptive- and foster parents with children whose biological parents misused alcohol and/or drug during at the time of conception and pregnancy. In effect these children suffer from diverse mental and physical disorders, more or less serious.
Last weekend this society arranged a seminar where we were invited, both to tell the parents about philosophy with children in general, but also to have philosophical dialogues with the children themselves. We divided the children into two groups: from 5 to 8 and from 9 to 12—and had exciting dialogues (among other things) about justice and whether it is a good thing or a bad thing to be too kind.
Courses for the Norwegian Humanist Society
Published 24 August 2001
The Humanist Society (Human-etisk Forbund) has for many years arranged a non-religious alternative to the Christian practice of confirmation for youths. They call it "secular confirmation" (borgerlig konfirmasjon) which comprises a 3-months course in ethics, human rights and an orientation about the different lifestances (livssyn). All youths may choose to follow this course instead of the traditional Christian education programme. Now, every year the society arranges a weekend-seminar for the teachers on the secular confirmation-courses. This year we will have a 3-hour course in P4C on this seminar.
In our course we seek to:
- account for our view on the relationship between adult and child
- explain the difference between philosophical dialogues and regular modes of communication
- demonstrate how philosophical dialogues may be executed
Ariane B. Schjelderup author of new philosophy book for youth
Published 20 April 2001
Finally Arianes new book about Socrates, Plato and Aristotle is ready for the market. It is (of course) in Norwegian and has received the following title:
Filosofi – Sokrates, Platon og Aristoteles
(Philosophy—Socrates, Plato and Aristotle)
The book is published by Gyldendal Education and is meant to be integrated in their Special Themes Library. This is a library designed for the Norwegian primary and secondary school. Here is what the book says about itself:
"This is a book about the three great philosophers of the antiquity: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. They thought that there exists something that is eternal and unchangeable and that we can attain knowledge about this by asking and investigate philosophical questions. These three thinkers start out with queries and intellectual challenges that are equally important and relevant today as they were back then. For instance the questions whether the world in which we naturally live is the most real world that exists—why human beings not always do that which is right and just—what makes it possible for a tiny seed to develop into a huge tree.» (translation: Øyvind Olsholt)
Ariane B. Schjelderup,
Filosofi – Sokrates, Platon og Aristoteles
Gyldendal Undervisning (Gyldendals Temabibliotek)
Hardback, 62 pages
ICPIC 10th International Conference, Winchester, England—12.-17. July 2001
Published 31 March 2001
The International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children (ICPIC) was established in 1985 to provide an international network for the development of Philosophy for Children and other approaches to doing philosophy with children that have been inspired by the pioneering work of Professor Matthew Lipman and his associates in New Jersey. (Quoted from www.sapere.net)
This is the tenth time this biennal conference is held. Now the main themes are:
- Philosophy for Children
Buf.no now in compliance with the XHTML- and CSS-standard
Published 19 March 2001
As you can see—and hopefully appreciate—www.buf.no has had a complete facelift. Not only have the layout been redesigned on all pages, buf.no now also complies with the new XHTML 1.0 standard and the CSS standard. This compliance is what is indicated by the images:
that are included on the bottom of the index page.
XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) merges the traditional HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and the XML (Extensible Markup Language) standards and thereby brings HTML back to its roots: to describe content without concern for how that content will be displayed in the user specific browsers. The XHTML standard also makes web pages generally more accessible and readable by different browsers.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a relatively new standard that further helps separate content from layout in a web page hierarchy. With CSS you can keep all the layout information in a single textfile which all the regular web pages have a common reference to. Thus changing layout in a web hierarchy is much more simple than before: now you only have to edit the layout file to edit the layout of all the pages that refer to this file. CSS also makes it possible for Internet users to apply their own style sheets to web pages.
- The official XHTML 1.0 recommendation: www.w3c.org/TR/xhtml1/
- The W3C's CSS pages: www.w3c.org/style/css
New book: Philosophical conversations with children
Published 3 February 2001
Below is an extract of the application form we wrote to The Norwegian Non-Fiction Writers and Translators Association (NFF). To complete the project here described, we have now luckily received a 3-month scholarship from the NFF. We estimate that the book will be out by the end of 2001 or by the beginning of 2002.
The Philosophical Conversation
Being a creature searching for meaning, human beings have a need for the philosophical conversation. The conversation stimulates and develops the individual—ethically, creatively and intellectually. Children too are searching for meaning—and in a sense more so than the adults since life is still new and fresh to them. Philosophical dialogues with children are one way of helping them to formulate and further explore their own thoughts on life and reality. A conversation based upon philosophical concepts like right and wrong, life and death, truth and lie, gives children and adults alike a quality-opportunity to pursue their search for meaning and purpose in life. In order to establish a philosophical conversation with children, the adult must, however, refrain from constituting a base of knowledge, authority and superiority. The philosophical adult is a person who wonders with the child, who doesn't have the ready answers, and who yearns for truth and wisdom.
Last year we published the first P4C-book in Norwegian together with Beate Børresen (Filosofi i skolen, Tano Aschehoug 1999). This book shows how to arrange and perform philosophical conversations with children. For different reasons, however, the book was directed specifically towards teachers and teacher students. Yet it was written in order to be read and used by anyone who deals with or is interested in children, not only educators. Our previous book was therefore a book with a seemingly wide potential, but with a regrettably narrow range.
That's one important reason why we wanted to write a new book on the same subject, this time aimed at a general audience—especially parents. This is the book we now apply for. Let it be mentioned that we have also been encouraged to write this "sequel" by professionals, either connected to or unrelated to our own publishing company. As of the time of writing, there exists no other book in Norwegian on philosophical conversations with children (apart from our own, aforementioned book).
In the new book we seek to develop further central topics from Part I of our previous book which deals with the philosophical conversation and it's necessary preconditions. It is essential for us now to labour the point that philosophical conversations with children and youth are not to be limited to the classroom. Philosophical conversations do not merely constitute a new pedagogy—although this is also a part of it—rather they imply a fundamentally different attitude towards communication and reflection in a community, indeed, a novel approach towards sociality altogether.
We want to make extensive use of examples and illustrations from our own experience and to attach the chains of thought to chosen thinkers and ideas from the history of philosophy.
- Introduction: our ideals and the way we act. To what extent is there a coherence between our ideals (what we attempt to teach our children) and our actions (what we demonstrate by and through our own lives)? Is such a coherence possible at all?
- A philosophical investigation of the relation between child and adult: the child's and the childhood's significance for the adult (the child as the invoker and reminder of typically philosophical questions), the adult's importance for the child (the adult as a model and example) and children's and adult's picture of the world and their self-relation. We also want to discuss the modern pedagogical notion of equality between child and adult and to examine critically our natural desire to have (produce) children.
- Then a thorough presentation of the philosophical conversation itself. We'd like to explain how and why the conversation belongs anywhere where there children and adults are together, and what makes the philosophical conversation different to other kinds of conversation. We will give practical hints as to how the arrangement and performance of philosophical conversations with your own and/or other's children. However, let us stress right away that we do not subscribe to the oversimplified view that a philosophical conversation is all it takes to solve the bulk of the problems in todays families, at school or in the society in general.
- After this we have something important to say about what it means to live like a philosopher and what characterizes the special "sight" of the philosopher: what does actually the philosopher see in another human being that other people don't easily see, and what difference does it make for an individual whose eyes he or she is observed with? Is there perhaps something preexistent in my fellow man that may assist me in discovering myself?
- Finally we want to demonstrate how the very same attitudes and rules that apply to the philosophical conversations on the whole may also be attributed to non-philosophical contexts, e.g. in daily life conversations aimed at the solution of practical matters. [...]
P4C scholarship at the University of Tromsø
Published 10 November 2000
The University of Tromsø is Norway's most northern University. And it is the first University in Norway to announce a P4C-scholarship. The scholarship's mandate is to discuss and define central topics and issues concerning children and philosophy in particular relation to the grade school and kindergarten.
The scholarship is made possible thanks to a cooperation between the Pedagogical and the Philosophical Institute at the University of Tromsø on the one hand—and the Tromsø University College (Høyskolen i Tromsø) on the other.
Philosophy Club started!
Published 4 November 2000
We have since long wanted to start a philosophy-club consisting of local children and youngsters, a club that can meet on a regular basis to discuss a variety of philosophical questions and topics. Now this has finally become a reality! The club had it's first assembly on Thursday 12 October in our living room, which is now converted into the club's exclusive venue once a week.
The name of the club is: MFK (which stands for Maiberget Filosofiklubb, the name of the place where we live).
The club members are so far (alphabetically):
- Dennis, Hurdal (10)
- Henriette, Eidsvoll (15)
- Johanne, Eidsvoll (10)
- Kari Line, Eidsvoll (17)
- Lise, Eidsvoll (15)
- Magnus, Hurdal (15)
- Marte, Eidsvoll (11)
- Steinar, Bodø (15)
- Tea, Eidsvoll (11)
Why not visit the club's own homepages: http://www.buf.no/mfk Here you'll find lots of written material, photos etc. (Norwegian only)!
New book for mums and dads
Published 1 October 2000
In 1999 we published the first book in Norwegian on philosophy for children (Philosophy in the School, Tano Aschehoug). For several reasons this book was aimed specifically towards teachers and teacher-students, although it was written to be read by anyone that deals with children. Thus Philosophy in the School was only marketed towards this narrow segment, despite its universal approach.
No wonder then that we had a wish to write a new book along the same lines, only this time to be aimed towards a general audience—preferably parents. Let it also be mentioned that we have been encouraged to write such a "sequel", both by our publisher (Tano Aschehoug, now merged into Universitetsforlaget) and by others that have either read Philosophy in the School or by other ways have become aquainted with P4C.
As we see it a philosophical conversation does not comprise a novel theory of education—and if it does, this is not the most important or significant aspect of it—but rather a new attitude towards communication and thinking within a group, towards a truer grasp of man as a social being. This we'll expound on and exemplify in the light of chosen thinkers and ideas from the history of philosophy. Hence it follows that philosophy for children and youth should not be limited to the educational field (i.e. the school) only.
The central issue in the new book will still be the personal and individual preconditions that must apply to any adult person who really wants to partake in philosophical deliberations with children and youth—with an open and investigating frame of mind.
The book is due in the autumn 2001 or early 2002.
Philosophy in School goes electronic!
Published 24 August 2000
This summer the Norwegian publishing company Aschehoug and the bookstore Olaf Norli presented the so-called "e-book". The e-book is simply an electronic text-version of a book and is read using a handheld pocket/palm-pc. Later this autumn Philosophy in School will hopefully appear in this format. The price of the e-book will be the same as for the paper-version.
Page created: 02.10.06. Page last modified: 07.02.13 23:15.