What is Philosophy For?

Expansive thinking?


Seminar at the British Academy by Stephen Law (with kind permission) http://stephenlaw.blogspot.co.uk

As I’m the author of several popular philosophy books – including three philosophy books for children – and also editor of the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal THINK which is aimed at the general public, I thought I would talk about why I think engaging young people with philosophy might be a good idea.

Two of Britain’s best-known philosophy-for-children organisations are called Sapere and Aude. It’s no coincidence that ‘Sapere Aude’ – dare to know – is also the motto of the Enlightenment. But how might the Enlightenment and philosophy for children be related?

Diderot and d’Alembert defined the Enlightened thinker as one who,

trampling on prejudice, tradition, universal consent, authority, in a word, all that enslaves most minds, dares to think for himself.[i]

Kant, in a short magazine article entitled ‘What is Enlightenment?’ described Enlightenment is:

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Featured eedNET school: Bedales

Battle for the arts and mindslogo

Preview of article published in The Times Educational Supplement by Al McConville (Deputy Head Academic, Bedales) on the purpose of education…

“The way we define education is deeply flawed. Childhood is not a commodity to be invested in an unspecified future….We have to view students as fully fledged people with a rich range of potential, not just future economic players.”

“Nearly everything about our school system was developed to support the ideals of the industrial workplace…What it did not require was individuals who could think for themselves. It was not always so. The three Rs, which became and have remained the cornerstone of educational policy, were in pre-Victorian times not reading, writing and arithmetic but reading, wroughting and arithmetic…The value of art, craft and creativity was downgraded to develop bureaucracies around mechanised processes.”

Quoting expansively Charles Darwin, Nick Carraway (The Great Gatsby), Aristotle, philosopher Josef Pieper, Plato, poet and theorist Matthew Arnold, Sir Ken Robinson, John Cridland (Confederation of British Industry), the Warwick Commission, and Bill Lucas (champion of ‘Expansive Education’),  Al describes a curriculum that has shifted in focus to an increasingly tight core, dominated by the outcomes of an ever narrower assessment regime. He suggests society should seize the opportunity of a new term of government to ask ourselves if this is what we want, and if not, what education should really be for.

The full article can be seen in the TES (8/5/15, pages 24-28) or online (subscription required).

R.E.A.L. Projects – The Beginning

“It’s not a quick fix, it’s a way of life”

Belmont Teach

This post was written by Laura Jackson, our Project Based Learning Lead.

There is a shared folder in My Drive which makes my heart flip every time I look at it…..

REAL projects folder

Rewind almost 18 months and I had just finished reading Ron Berger’s “An Ethic of Excellence” closely followed by  “Leaders of their Own Learning”. The message that stuck with me and I think of several times per day, every day and often quote is:

“It’s not a quick fix, it’s a way of life”.

Ethic of excellence, Berger

Leaders of their own learning

The Dream

In June 2014 I was extremely fortunate to visit the annual Festival of Learning at Cramlington Learning Village and saw some of the R.E.A.L. Projects that the students had been working on in their “Project Fortnight”. The quality of these projects, coupled together with the articulate young people who had been working on them, left me leaving Cramlington wishing we…

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CIRL Webinar – Schools in England Today – A Health Check

On Tuesday 5 May, a few days before the Election, Professor Bill Lucas led a discussion about what children should be learning at school.

What should an educated 19 year old be able to do and know?

Drawing on the argument of his recent book with Guy Claxton –Educating Ruby: what children need to learn – Bill will argue that we have become too focused on tests and not left enough space for the development of character.
He was joined by Mike Grenier of the Slow Education movement; James Stanforth, Head of Digital Education at Eton College’s Centre for Innovation and Research in Learning; and Jonnie Noakes, Director of the Centre.

The link below contains a file that you can download. The video file is around 250mb in size. Please be aware the recording quality is quite poor

CIRL Webinar – Schools in England Today – A Health Check

Austin’s Butterfly: Building Excellence in Student Work – Models, Critique, and Descriptive Feedback

Ron Berger from Expeditionary Learning demonstrates the transformational power of models, critique, and descriptive feedback to improve student work. Here he tells the story of Austin’s Butterfly. 1st grade students at ANSER Charter School in Boise, ID, helped Austin take a scientific illustration of a butterfly through multiple drafts toward a high-quality final product.

This video is one of 27 videos that accompany Expeditionary Learning’s new book, Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools through Student-Engaged Assessment. For more information visit: elschools.org/leadersoftheirownlearning.