Think before you teach philosophy

21st October 2011 at 01:00

Thank you for your wise editorial in TESpro, but I must express some disappointment that the accompanying article is unduly influenced by a narrow, rather Anglocentric view of philosophical inquiry with children.

At the risk of appearing to reinforce the judgment that the field is "sometimes vitriolic" and "quite a hornet's nest", I should say that this, itself, is a narrow judgment unsupported by evidence. Both SAPERE (which promotes Philosophy for Children) and SOPHIA (its European equivalent, in which nearly 30 countries are represented) are inclusive and magnanimous networks of people who almost all practise what they endorse under the title of philosophical inquiry.

Both networks do, indeed, embrace a diversity of theory and practice, but I would assert that they demonstrate remarkable unanimity in regard to essential purposes and processes.

To leave your readers, then, with the impression of heinous division rather than healthy diversity is not only to perpetuate woolly thinking but, worse still, to undermine the sound practical advice of your very own editorial.

Roger Sutcliffe, www.dialogueworks.co.uk, Former president, SAPERE and the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children.

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