DEC Scan Journal : Volume 33 Issue 2
2014 Volume 33, Issue 2 8 Contents Editorial Currents Teaching & learning Research Curriculum support Share this Resource reviews presentation of a stimulus, for instance a picture book, a passage of text, or a short clip. Children are prompted to volunteer what they found puzzling or interesting about the stimulus. From this a whole class discussion ensues relating to the great themes of literature and life: What is fair? How should we treat one another? What is equality? Are words as powerful as action? etc. Children learn how to question, how to examine a question, how to contribute to a discussion, how to refine ideas in accordance with new information, and how to reason. Importantly, children also learn how to respectfully disagree because the focus is explicitly on taking issue with a claim rather than taking issue with a person. Philosophy in English lessons Some samples of classroom dialogue and individual written work by students in philosophy-driven English lessons with Stages 1, 2, and 4 is showcased below. It is impressive that even students as young as Stage 1 can capably use thinking tools and the metalanguage of thought. Child’s comment Thinking move Do animals love each other? I don’t think so. On TV I saw a snake squeezing a crocodile so he didn’t love him. Question posed.Specific example put forth to support a statement of opinion I disagree. I’ve seen elephants holding trunks. Expression of disagreement with supporting reason But do animals even know what love is? Questioning the concept Well love is something you feel in your heart; it’s a feeling. Establishing a criterion So if love is a feeling, my dog has feelings. I know when he’s happy. Making an inference Well humans are animals and we know what love is. Categorisation But some humans don’t love each other. The Twits didn’t love each other Counterexample Are there different kinds of love? Clarification and classification of concept Like can you love a thing? I love ice cream and I love my teddy. Expanding the concept But a teddy can’t love you back Making a suggestion, building a new criterion Can you love someone who doesn’t love you? Further questioning Well I love Mia but she doesn’t love me. Example I don’t think animals love each other. I think they just like each other. Returning to the original question Is there a difference between love and like? [Teacher prompt] I think they are different. My Mother sometimes says I don’t like you when you’re naughty but I do love you. Offering an example to make a distinction Philosophy in a Stage 1 English class In response to a visual text depicting a mother and baby panda, a student asked, the question: do animals love each other? This particular class had been engaged on a weekly basis with philosophy since starting school and were accustomed to the rigour of a community of inquiry (COI). They spontaneously started a dialogue (EN1-1A) using a range of interactive pedagogical strategies. An unedited part of that dialogue is shown in the first column of the table above. The thinking moves automatically applied by the students in the right column have been identified. Questioning the concept: do animals have human feelings? Dialogue: do animals love each other? Reflection texts from Stage 1: types of love It is impressive that even students as young as Stage 1 can capably use thinking tools and the metalanguage of thought.
Volume 33 Issue 3
2014 Issue 1