Let your mind boggle...

16th February 2007 at 00:00
Who went?

Tim Jeffs, Phase 4 manager, and his colleagues at Ambleside Primary in Nottingham.

What was it?

Philosophy for Children (P4C). Two days of in-school training for the entire team, run by Sapere, an educational charity based at Oxford Brookes University.

What did it do?

It was about encouraging pupils to question the world, and to look beyond the obvious.

Why go?

We felt our pupils struggled with higher-order thinking, and we had heard very good things about this programme.

Message, motto or mantra?

Change your mind.

Handouts or hands-on?

On the second day we all had to bring in an object which could be used as a stimulus for philosophical debate. Someone brought a coin with a bullet mark in it, which had saved their grandfather from being shot during the war. That led to a group discussion about a whole range of interesting issues including fate, war, life and death.

Something I liked

It was good that our staff received the training together. Because of that, we have been able to implement the ideas right across the school.

Something I learned

There are four types of thinking - critical, creative, collaborative and caring. The ability to analyse what type of thinking you are doing is the first step to becoming a better thinker.

Has it made a difference?

All pupils now have an hour's philosophy lesson each week, and that filters through into their other subjects. Children have become much more empathetic and more willing to consider the views of others.

The verdict?

An exciting course. And surprisingly easy to put the ideas into practice.

Interview by Steven Hastings

Coming soon?

There are regular courses around the country, or, like Ambleside, you can organise in-house training days. Visit www.sapere.org.uk.

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