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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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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What would you like to learn today? Building a center for research into Self-Organized Learning

What would you like to learn today? Building a center for research into Self-Organized Learning

TED Blog

Students at a School in the Cloud lab in India investigate a big question on their own in a SOLE. At the newly-opened SOLE Center at Newcastle University, academics from many disciplines will  conduct research on this type of learning. Photo: School in the Cloud Students at a School in the Cloud lab in India investigate a big question on their own in a SOLE. At the newly-opened SOLE Central at Newcastle University, research will be conducted on this type of learning. Photo: School in the Cloud

Picture a classroom teacher without a lesson plan — a teacher who instead asks students an open-ended question to explore: Can animals think? Did dinosaurs exist? What is a soul?

With the opening of Newcastle University’s SOLE Central on Monday, this vision is coming to life, in a research center where the concept can be tweaked and improved as it rolls out to the wider world.

SOLE Central is the first global hub for research into self-organized learning environments (SOLEs) – the style of learning championed by TED Prize winner Sugata Mitra. In his 2013 prize-winning wish, Mitra offered up a vision of education that combines the resources of…

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Visible Learning and The Science of How we Learn


If you have not had a chance to read the new book by John Hattie and David Yates – there are a great deal of good points and interesting research.Below are some quotes that I found interesting, I hope that you may find some of them interesting to.

Hattie and Yates – Visible Learning and The Science of How we Learn

  • We are motivated by knowledge gaps but not by knowledge chasms
  • Feedback matters a lot. It should always focus on next steps.
  • Knowing what to do matters more than knowing what your level is.
  • Understanding what to do is greatly helped by worked examples which are analysed.
  • Great feedback provides a map – it is a mode of processing but also motivating and ensuring that a knowledge gap is bridgeable and does now become a chasm.
  • Feedback is as much about reflecting on your own effectiveness as a…

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Resourceful and creative learners or PISA success or both?

Bill Lucas in Teach Primary May 2014

Bill & Ellen's Blog

When English children are compared unfavourably to those in Finland or parts of China by their PISA test scores (as they frequently are), there is always a temptation for people to suggest that teachers should change tack.  ‘We must focus on the basics of English and maths and stop being interested in this wider learning capability stuff’, is the cry from some.
But such polarizing sentiments are deeply unhelpful and ill-founded. Doing really well at maths and becoming a powerful learner are not mutually exclusive goals. We can and must achieve both. It was in an attempt to reconcile these ‘false opposites’ that Guy Claxton and I coined the expression ‘expansive education’. In our recent book Expansive Education: teaching learners for the real world, we explore the underpinning research for this view (it’s strong) and share examples from across the world of teachers who want outstanding results but not at…

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Factors that contribute to deep learning

eedNET Action Research

Agency, Voice and Participation – A featured piece of Action Research by new eedNET member school – Rainham Mark Grammar School

This inquiry project has its genesis in an original piece of work conducted some five years ago
at Rainham Mark Grammar School by the then newly appointed Assistant Head Teacher with
responsibility for Teaching and Learning. His project investigated the key practices and methods
that students found most beneficial in terms of learning and teaching.

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