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filocriatividade | filosofia e criatividade

>> oficinas de filosofia, para crianças, jovens e adultos >> formação para professores e educadores (CCPFC) >> nas redes sociais: #filocri | #filopenpal | #FilosofiaAoVivo

filocriatividade | filosofia e criatividade

>> oficinas de filosofia, para crianças, jovens e adultos >> formação para professores e educadores (CCPFC) >> nas redes sociais: #filocri | #filopenpal | #FilosofiaAoVivo

Peter Worley: ".(..) I think philosophy is inescapable if you’re human."

I met Peter Worley on facebook. I think I was searching for new resources on #P4C and I found about one of his books: The If Machine. Peter was (well, is!) very nice to everyone who approachs him on social media and we started talking about P4C, resources, about how things are going on in the UK and Portugal. Peter is the president of SOPHIA and I joined as a member. Peter asked if I could help him finding out about a place to held the next SOPHIA member's meeting. We talked about it and - guess what? - the meeting will be held in Aveiro, Colégio D. José I, on July 2017. Right after ICPIC, in Madrid. 

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I give you The If Man aka Peter Worley.

 

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Peter, can you recall the first time you heard about philosophy for children (p4c)? "Because I had begun doing philosophy with children off my own back and with nothing other than my years of music teaching/counselling experience to help, my colleagues at the SPP (Society for Philosophy in Practice) put me in touch with their P4C practitioner. Through her, I found out about SAPERE and attended a Level 1 training course."

How did you start working with p4c? "Before I had heard about p4c and Sapere, I was a guitar teacher in schools with an academic background in philosophy and an interest in philosophy outside of academe. After my first degree I trained with Tim LeBon to become a philosophical counsellor while completing an MA in philosophy. So, three things came together: music teaching, philosophy and counselling, and they led me naturally to think about doing philosophy with the children I worked with. At that time, I was unaware of a tradition of doing philosophy with children. The question is: is what I did then and do now P4C? I do philosophy with children (the phrase ‘philosophy with children’ is meant purely descriptively – it is not an acronym or a brand: I do X with F). Also, what I do when I do philosophy with children is not so different (though there are some differences) from what I do when I do philosophy with adults. So, I might prefer ‘P4X’. ‘X’ could be ‘children’, ‘teachers’, ‘adults’, ‘philosophers’ etc. Also, is it ‘P4C’ (for) or ‘PwC’ (with)? Is it ‘over’, ‘under’, ‘between’, ‘around’, ‘through’? Never really quite figured that one out (but looking at these, I quite like ‘between’ or ‘through’). I will be chairing a panel discussion at the next ICPIC conference in Madrid (2017) entitled ‘What does ‘P4C’ capture?’ with the aim of attempting to answer this question. Questions we might explore are: ‘Is p4c a referring term or a catch-all term?’, ‘Are there rules about who can use it?’, ‘Does it refer only to those within the Lipman tradition?’ and ‘If so, how close does one need to be to that tradition to be considered within it?’ When I write about what I do, I’ve taken to simply saying ‘philosophy with children’, ‘philosophy in schools’ and ‘philosophy in classrooms’. The particular approach that we at The Philosophy Foundation have developed we call ‘PhiE’, which simply stands for ‘philosophical enquiry’. But even then, if you run a PHiE, no philosophy is guaranteed. It is the hope. And with greater expertise from the facilitator, and with practice by the group and facilitator, the hope becomes more likely; and if not today then tomorrow. To find out more about PhiE go here: www.philosophy-foundation.org and here: https://kcl.academia.edu/PeteWorley"

 

Thanks, Peter. We shall check out your links. But tell me, do you think p4c is necessary for children? "Why? It depends what you mean by ‘necessary’. (A typical philosopher’s answer, I know!) If we mean a sine qua non then no, it’s not, children can get by in their education perfectly well without it. If, on the other hand we mean ‘necessary to achieve y’ then, maybe it is. And this depends on what we perceive the goals of education to be: functional or ideal?

 

If education aims to produce functional citizens then there are many things that might be considered unnecessary: maths (beyond arithmetic), music, drama and maybe science among them (putting to one side specialisms). But if education aims to produce an ideal learner, a cognitive and moral agent, then you might say, as I do, that philosophy is necessary towards that end. Philosophical thinking is particularly well-placed to develop intellectual agency. How philosophy is to be implemented in education, whether p4c for instance is the right or only way to go, is another question."

 

Nowadays children, at least at portuguese schools, have a lot of activities. Why should we take philosophy to schools? "Having said what I’ve just said, I do think that some strong cases can be made for doing philosophy in schools, without having to commit to its being necessary. A case can be made on the basis that it helps to develop reasoning, or more broadly, intellectual virtues, that it equips children to deal with incoherence, ambiguity, inconclusiveness, uncertainty. And whatever you think about philosophy being necessary for education, I think philosophy is inescapable if you’re human. Providing children with the language and methods to deal with something that they will, at some point, encounter could make a good case for an intervention such as philosophy. Prof. Michael Hand thinks that something like this is the case regarding political and moral aspects of civic life (that education informs). Philosophy is also a good antidote to the ‘pressure cooker’ environment the children find themselves in most of their school life. Having a ‘space to think’ may, for some, be considered a necessary part of any child’s school life, sufficient reason for its inclusion in education; but, I would caution: only if it remains a ‘space’ and doesn’t itself get sucked into the pressure cooker climate of testing and over-evaluation. As I mentioned briefly earlier, I also think that philosophy develops certain intellectual virtues and though philosophy is not unique in this, there is a case to be made for it being best placed to do this.

 

The kinds of virtues I have in mind are: re-evaluation, judiciousness, developing a synoptic view, all of which develop metacognitive skills. In other words, philosophy is well-placed to develop a reflexive relationship between our ‘inner Socrates’ and our ‘inner slave boy’ (see Plato’s Meno). In effect, philosophy’s special ‘outside-of-itself-and-everything-else’ character helps to develop one’s own inner moral and cognitive ‘guide’. Could this be what Socrates meant by ‘his daimon’ in Plato’s Apology? However, I should point out that it is not a foregone conclusion what it is the guide should lead one to. In other words, I dispute the popular view that doing philosophy necessarily makes you a morally better person or that philosophy leads children to broadly liberal, communitarian values; philosophy is also subversive, iconoclastic and disruptive. I’m currently writing a piece on this for The Journal of Philosophy in Schools special issue on why we should teach philosophy in schools. So, keep an eye out for that!"

 

I remember reading an article that you wrote about questions. Can you tell us what makes a question a philosophical question – from a p4c point of view? "Probably its openness. There is the openness of the question itself – it should be contestable, leading to controversies; and there is the openness of the philosopher – he or she should adopt what I call a position of defeasibility. (See here for more this: http://www.innovatemyschool.com/ideas/item/52-socratic-irony-in-the-classroom-clouseau-or-columbo?.html and http://www.ojs.unisa.edu.au/index.php/jps/article/view/1350 ) It should also get beyond first-order, surface considerations. For instance, ‘Who started the war?’ is not a philosophical question, but there are philosophical questions lurking very close by: e.g. ‘What is a war?’, ‘Under what circumstances would war be justified?’, ‘How can we decide what constitutes the cause of a war?’ Even these are only philosophical if they are treated in a philosophical way. For instance, ‘What is a war?’ might be answered by looking in a dictionary and, if the group feel that the matter is settled, then the question would not have been treated philosophically; but the fact that it still could be means that it has philosophical potential, even if it’s not been tapped yet by a particular group. But with regard to P4C (or philosophy with children), practically rather than theoretically speaking, I would say a good question is one that results in a philosophical conversation with the least amount of effort from the facilitator. Often the question needs to be linked to some kind of situation or other stimulus for contextualisation. For example, in the context of the situation of ‘the ship of Theseus’ (a ship that has all its parts replaced gradually over time) the question, ‘Is it the same ship?’ is perfect. I also think that (and this is not without exception, just a general observation) a good question is grammatically closed (where the answer is a one-word or short phrase answer) but conceptually open (it is contestable): e.g. ‘Is the mind the same as the brain?’ These kinds of question have the best of both worlds: the focus of a closed question but the elaboration of an open question."

 

What’s the biggest challenge p4c faces, nowadays?

 

"There are several challenges: training, funding and resources, but in my view, the biggest challenge is maintaining quality. Making sure that philosophy is done when p4c is done, making sure that it doesn’t get over-simplified and done in the wrong way. Just to take a couple of examples: philosophy should not be used to explicitly lead children to desirable conclusions (particularly moral, political or religious ones), children should not be misled into thinking that ‘there are no right and wrong answers in philosophy’, and it should also not be hijacked for political ends, such as for sniffing out terrorists (the UK has a ‘Prevent’ agenda that p4c is being drawn into) or for promoting (for e.g.) ‘British values’ (another agenda p4c is being used for); to problematise them, yes, but not to blatantly promote them."

 

Can you give the teachers and the parents some kind of advice to help them deal with the children’s questions? "Don’t focus too much on questions! I was in a Year 1 (ages 5 and 6 years) class the other day and we (the teacher and I) tried to run a standard p4c session with the book ‘Frog is Frightened’ by Max Veltjuis and when I asked them to come up with questions about the story the children didn’t know what a question was. (I did an exercise with them where I taught them what a question is and what a statement is and we sorted what they said into questions and statements and this worked very well). What we noticed was that the children became the most animated when one girl said, ‘Ghosts don’t exist’. Now, that’s not a question! So, we could either continue with the process of question-formulation, gathering and voting, or we could just ‘go with the children’. And that’s what we did. The point here is: 1) don’t worry too much about the procedure (be ready to jettison any procedure at any time) and 2) don’t worry too much about questions; statements can be just as – if not more – effective at provoking discussion. And actually, very young children are more likely to respond with statements than questions. This is not a problem though; just go with it. I call it the ‘Quote. Discuss.’ strategy; a common ‘question’ approach for degree and higher exams that works just as well with younger students. I also like tasks such as ‘Do nothing’ or ‘Think of nothing’ or ‘Draw a round square’, or ‘Do a deliberate mistake’. So, it’s not always about questions. The next SOPHIA meeting, here in Portugal, will be entitled ‘Questioning questioning’ and we will be looking in some depth at this and many other related aspects of questions and questioning in the facilitation of philosophical conversations. So, do come along!"

 

Did the children ever surprise you with a question? Can you share that question with us? "Yes: ‘Do you paint your hair grey!’ and ‘Have you had medical difficulties this week, Mr. Worley?’ But if you mean philosophical questions, then, ‘yes’ to that too. One that sticks in my mind is when we had pretty much finished the session and I had been ‘boarding’ a good deal during the session (I don’t always do this) and one very philosophical boy put his hand up and said (while pointing to the board), ‘Mr. Worley, we’ve heard all these ideas today but how are going to decide which one’s right?’ I think this is one of the most profound questions I’ve heard (interestingly, not a voted-on enquiry question; just one that came up spontaneously – my favourite kind, by the way). His question reminds us that philosophy is not just a sharing forum, it has an evaluative aspect that is sometimes forgotten. Philosophy doesn’t just explore, it has to move to an eliminative, evaluative stage too. Good questions we (philosophy facilitators of whatever school) should all ask ourselves are: how often do my philosophy sessions move beyond simply sharing and exploring? And how do I/we move to meta-analyses in the classroom? And how do I/we move to the elimination and evaluation of ideas? Though there are ways to do this, it is not easy and I’m never satisfied that I or the p4c community has properly answered his question. I’d love to hear from anyone who thinks they have!"

 

Thank you Peter!

See you in Madrid and then Aveiro! 

 

 

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Jane Yates: "I believe that the ability to wonder is our most important human capacity."

I met Jane on twitter, Jane and her "Philosopher's Backpack". In her website we can read that Jane " has over 20 years of practical experience of P4C with primary school children.  She is a registered SAPERE trainer and has led P4C training for over 1200 primary and secondary teachers from over 200 schools across the UK and also in Spain, Mexico City, Nepal, India, British Virgin Islands and Malawi.  These include: whole school training, comissioned courses and open courses for state, private and international schools." I asked Jane to share her point of view about P4C and she answered so quickly! Thank you so much, Jane. 

 

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Can you recall the first time you heard about philosophy for children (p4c)? "I heard about P4C in 1993 from a primary geography lecturer called Chris Rowley (one of the founders of P4C in the UK) at the teacher training college, Charlotte Mason College. He did a workshop at a conference that I helped to organise in response to the infamous Rio Earth Summit in 1992 through my work with Cumbria Development Education Centre, which is based at the college."

 

And how did you started working with p4c? "Every few weeks, some of the lecturers at Charlotte Mason College, where I was working(and had trained), would hold a community of enquiry with each other using the Lipman stories as the stimulus. They kindly invited me to take part. As someone in my early 20s, I remember feeling quite daunted practising ‘philosophy’ with all these learned academics as I had come from an educational background where philosophy was certainly never an option. I was like one of those quieter children you sometimes find in P4C sessions in the classroom. I worried I would be laughed at. I worried that I didn’t have the sophisticated vocabulary to articulate my thoughts. Over time, I grew more confident to speak in this group and realised the impact it could therefore have on pupils. It was during these sessions that I learnt the nuts and bolts of reasoning and realised what a rigorous process P4C should be. I was then hugely fortunate to work with some of the lecturers at the college to try out P4C in some local schools and from there many projects developed. I was part of the catalyst for connecting P4C and Global Citizenship way back in 2010. Whatever job I’ve had, I’ve always tried to build in P4C somewhere. For the last five years, I’ve gone back to teaching and have been working with my school to achieve the P4C Gold Award (a new accreditation we have here in the UK). It was an absolute joy to achieve this in 2015. Crickey! That’s over 25 years of P4C!" Jane, that's kind of a lifetime. Congratulations! 

 

Do you think p4c is necessary to children? Why? "I think p4c is totally necessary. Young children begin their lives naturally wondering about the world. As babies, they use their hands to manipulate objects to explore and wonder about their immediate world. There’s a lot of research about the link between the brain and the hand and how important brain connections are made when toddlers are stimulated to think through object play. As children begin to develop language, there’s a shift of thinking towards speech. This wondering about the ‘world’ can extend not just to their own world, but to that beyond their own immediate experience. I believe that the ability to wonder is our most important human capacity. Just as we would not hesitate to provide a stimulating environment for babies, we must also provide stimulus for thinking as babies become children and navigate their way to becoming adults. Through thinking, children learn about the world, but they also learn about each other. It helps them develop relationships, judgements and decisions."

 

In Portugal have a lot of activities at school and after school. There's a lot of discussion going on around this.  Why should we take philosophy to schools? "Once children know what is expected from a p4c session, it can transfer to any aspect of school through curriculum lessons and life in school. Some of the best p4c that I see happens naturally in a corridor between individuals. Philosophy, ultimately, should help us to live a better life."

 

What makes a question a philosophical question – from a p4c point of view? "There’s lots of debate over this. Most of my P4C follows the Lipman tradition by the hugely powerful experience of children developing their own questions. In this case, I would say a philosophical question generated by children needs to include, explicitly or implicitly, a clear concept or two. The way the question is framed needs to have potential to engage everyone in the community. My favourite way of describing a philosophical question is to say that it is one that we are ‘not going to settle easily’ and ‘there might be different opinions and ideas within and outside our community’ and ‘we might need to apply logic and reasoning to test out different examples within our question’."

Sometimes we hear that a philosophical question has no right or wrong. What do you think about this, Jane? "It used to frustrate me that children often get into a habit of saying philosophical questions have ‘no right or wrong answers’. Arguably, the concepts of right and wrong are so huge in themselves that this notion can often reduce the complexity of a philosophical question to something rather more simplistic. And with this, there comes a tendency for relativism. However, I would suggest that sometimes children perceive ‘something’ from their unique individual experience of being part of a philosophical enquiry and jump to the conclusion there is ‘no right or wrong answers’ rather than it being something the facilitator has stated or encouraged. The binary concept of ‘no right or wrong’ is a hugely powerful one for children, especially when their experience of childhood might have very clear boundaries of what is right and wrong! For me, when this situation arises, it makes for a timely opportunity to explore the concept of right and wrong as binaries and as concepts on their own. Having said all this, some of the best enquiries have come when the questions have not been obviously philosophical. Increasingly, I am seeing the importance of involving the children in enquiry around the philosophical value of the questions themselves. I also think there is necessary value in the facilitator bringing questions that are not generated by the children through discussion plans and activities to deepen and further philosophical enquiry."

 

What’s the biggest challenge p4c faces, nowadays? "It’s always challenging giving the time to start something new. People want quick results and P4C is not something that can change things over night. I don’t think you can do p4c half-heartedly with children, as they will know you are doing this and the rich benefits will not be as apparent."

 

What can you say to teachers and parents about P4C, some kind of advice?

"As a teacher, I would use Socratic questions within the context of the enquiry to respond and help them deepen their thinking. I’m more of a facilitator of their thinking without swaying them with my own opinions. As a parent, I would always try and find out their thinking behind the question: What made you ask that question? It’s so easy to make assumptions about the meaning behind our children’s questions. Then I’d ask: What do you think?   I’m more of a co-enquirer with my own children. For example, sometimes I might agree or disagree with what they are saying, through reasoning. Above all, I never tell them they are wrong. My 10 year old son made up a great quote recently: ‘If you say someone’s wrong then you are closing the question, but if you disagree with someone then you are opening it up for more answers.

 

Can you share a question that really surprised you? "I’m never generally surprised by any question but I’ve had many that have really made me think. Once, we had an enquiry around: “If children were in charge of school, then how would school be different?” What interested me most, was their ideas were hugely possible and powerful but called for a very different structure than our current tradition of schooling. We must never underestimate the power of children’s ideas and only see them within the narrow lenses of our own experience."

 

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Tomas Miranda Alonso: "Las preguntas de los niños nos cuestionan a nosotros mismos, nos tienen que ayudar a pensar."

Tomas Miranda Alonso vive aqui mesmo ao lado, em Espanha. Conheci-o numa das aulas da Pós-Graduação que fiz na Universidade dos Açores (UAc). Em Outubro de 2016 tive o prazer de o conhecer num encontro organizado pelo NICA (UAc). Desafiei o professor Tomas no facebook, para responder a estas perguntas. O sim foi imediato. 

É um privilégio estudar numa altura em que as pessoas que citamos em artigos estão à distância de um e-mail, de um tweet ou de uma mensagem privada numa qualquer rede social. 

 

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¿Te acuerdas cuando fue la primera vez que oiste hablar de filosofia para niños? " Sí, perfectamente. Fue en un artículo de Félix García Moriyón publicado en Revista de Filosofía y Didáctica de la Filosofía en 1987 con el título: «La filosofía para niños, una propuesta sólida y coherente». En este artículo descubrí que existía un proyecto educativo que surgía de preguntas semejantes a las que yo me hacía en mi práctica docente y que ofrecía una metodología, unos materiales y unos procedimientos adecuados para convertir el aula en una comunidad de indagación filosófica."

 

¿Como has empezado a trabajar en area? En el verano de 1988 asistí al primer Seminario de Formación de Formadores de FpN que se celebró en España, el cual lo dirigió Anne Sharp, ayudada por Félix. Aquel grupo inicial de profesores que acudimos al curso, casi todos de la especialidad de Filosofía, asumimos la tarea de aplicar FpN en nuestras clases y de formar a otros profesores. En mi caso, empecé aquel curso 1988-89 a aplicar FpN en mis clases de Ética en el instituto de bachillerato en el que estaba destinado y a realizar cursos de formación para el profesorado. Desde entonces he aplicado la metodología de la comunidad de investigación en mis clases, tanto en el instituto como en la universidad, sigo trabajando en la formación de profesores, he participado en trabajos de investigación y de creación de materiales curriculares, etc."

 

¿Consideras que la fpc és necessaria para los niños? E porquê? " Yo no diría que se trate de una condición necesaria, pues hay niños que no han acudido a sesiones de FpN y no por ello podemos decir que no se han desarrollado adecuadamente. Sí pienso que el desarrollo de la capacidad de pensar exige cuidar y potenciar la capacidad y la necesidad que tienen todos los niños de hacerse preguntas filosóficas y de pensar filosóficamente. Sí es necesario crear las condiciones educativas adecuadas para que el niño pueda pensar crítica y creativamente."

 

Hoy en dia los niños em Portugal tienen muchissimas actividades en la escuela e fuera de ella.  ¿Porquê debemos tener la filosofia en las escuelas?

"Porque los niños se hacen preguntas filosóficas, porque precisamente es en la niñez cuando surgen las preguntas filosóficas más profundas, porque los niños disponen de la capacidad de asombro ante lo que les rodea y necesitan buscar sentido a lo que hacen. Porque los niños no solo piensan, sino que también piensan sobre el pensar. Porque los niños disfrutan dialogando y pensando sobre cuestiones filosóficas. Porque necesitan y les encanta ejercitarse en el juego del pensar. Pero ¡ojo!, la mera presencia de la filosofía en el currículo educativo no asegura que los estudiantes vayan a ser más críticos. No se trata de que los niños memoricen las respuestas que los filósofos han dado a las preguntas que ellos se plantean, o las que da su profesor o un libro de texto, sino de que dialoguen entre ellos buscando las mejores razones para apoyar sus puntos de vista, siempre dispuestos a modificarlos teniendo en cuenta los puntos de vista de los demás."

 

¿Que és lo que hace que una pregunta sea una pregunta filosófica - desde el punto de vIsta de la fpc? Más que definir en qué consiste una pregunta filosófica, voy a dar algunas características que comparten éstas, las cuales, como los miembros de una misma familia, tienen en común algunos rasgos, pero no todos. Por ello, podemos decir que las preguntas filosóficas comparten un aire de familia. Algunos de esos rasgos son: son preguntas importantes para todos los seres humanos, tienen que ver con el sentido de la experiencia humana, sus respuestas no se pueden encontrar en las ciencias ni en una enciclopedia, nadie las puede responder por ti, son preguntas abiertas, es decir, pueden tener más de una respuesta, tienen un carácter abstracto. Podríamos decir que las preguntas filosóficas se relacionan con las grandes ideas que nos mueven a los humanos: el ser, la verdad, la bondad y la belleza."

 

¿Cuáles son los mayores desafios que se enfrenta hoy en dia fpc? En primer lugar, pienso que hay que cuidar mucho la formación del profesorado que trabaja en FpN. Los profesores han de tener interiorizado un modelo de educación cuyo objetivo no consiste tanto en adaptar a los estudiantes a la sociedad en que viven, ni en trasmitirles una conjunto de conocimientos, sino en ayudarles a que desarrollen las habilidades que les permitan pensar por sí mismos y decidir que personas quieren ser y en qué mundo quieren vivir, para ir construyéndose y construyéndolo en procesos cooperativos. Los facilitadores de los diálogos filosóficos han de ser capaces de mantener y de animar el diálogo filosófico y, para ello, han de tener como supuestos necesarios las virtudes que hacen posible el diálogo: capacidad de escucha, conciencia de su falibilidad, respeto al otro como persona, humildad intelectual, etc. En segundo lugar, FpN se está aplicando actualmente en diversas circunstancias y espacios, y se está adaptando a diferentes contextos y situaciones. FpN ha salido fuera del aula y ha recibido influencia de otras corrientes filosóficas y pedagógicas que pueden ser enriquecedoras. Es importante, pienso, que este crecimiento sea coherente con los planteamientos teóricos y metodológicos que caracterizarían de un modo abierto y procesual las señas de identidad de FpN."

¿Puede dar algunos consejos a maestros y padres para ayudarles a lidar com las perguntas de los niños? Los maestros y los padres han de tener en cuenta que los niños no son objetos de una educación que tienen ellos que dar. Los niños deben ser sujetos activos de su propio aprendizaje. La misión de los educadores consiste en ayudarles en esos procesos de enseñanza-aprendizaje. Son los niños los que se hacen las grandes preguntas filosóficas, pero los mayores no debemos caer en la tentación de darles las respuestas, nuestra función es ayudarles, por medio del diálogo, a que sean ellos los que vayan respondiéndose a sí mismos. Las preguntas de los niños nos cuestionan a nosotros mismos, nos tienen que ayudar a pensar. Los que convivimos con niños tenemos la gran suerte de poder aprender a pensar con ellos. Niños y adultos nos educamos mutuamente."

 

¿Alguna vez has sido sorprendido con una pergunta de un niño? Puedes compartir con nosotros la pregunta? " Son muchas las veces que me he sorprendido por preguntas de niños. Recuerdo una ocasión en la que un sobrino mío, de nueve años, me llamó por teléfono a las once de la noche diciéndome que tenía que hacerme una pregunta. Yo pensé que se trataría de una cuestión de alguna materia escolar, que tendría una respuesta cerrada. Sin embargo, la pregunta fue: “tío, ¿qué es la eternidad y qué es el infinito?” Evidentemente yo no podía dar una respuesta a esa pregunta que no fuera la mera definición del diccionario, pero no era esto lo que mi sobrino demandaba. Decir que “infinito” es lo que no tiene fin no es la respuesta a la pregunta, aunque a lo mejor conseguía con ella callar al niño en aquel momento. Aquella era una buena ocasión para establecer un diálogo con él para intentar entre los dos aclarar el significado y la referencia de esas palabras, aunque, quizás, no era la hora apropiada.

Recuerdo también otra anécdota graciosa y muy interesante. Estaba pidiendo a una niña de ocho años razones de algo que había dicho, y su respuesta era “porque sí”. Después de repetirme cuatro veces que “porque sí”, se para, se queda un poco pensando y me dice: «ya sé que “porque sí” no es una buena razón, pero lo dice mi madre». Interesante, ¿no?

A los niños y adolescentes que me rodean y me han rodeado tanto en mi familia como en el ejercicio de mi profesión les agradezco todo lo que me han aportado en la construcción de la persona que soy."

 

 

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nota:

FpN = filosofia para niños 

Jorge Sánchez-Manjavacas Mellado: "el trabajo que se desarrolla en las sesiones de FpN es una propedéutica para otras materias que presentan sus primeros retos como la literatura o las matemáticas."

Conheci o Jorge Sánchez-Manjavacas Mellado através das redes sociais. Temos um amigo em comum, o Jose Barrientos Rastrojo (o orientador da tese do meu primeiro mestrado). Além disso, temos algo mais que nos une: a filosofia para crianças / filosofia para niños. Acompanho o trabalho do Jorge à distância e não podia deixar de lhe enviar estas perguntas, pensadas em português e traduzidas com a ajuda de uma pessoa amiga, no twitter.
As perguntas e respostas foram trocadas via e-mail e são partilhadas com todos vós, na língua dos "nuestros hermanos". O Jorge faz parte da minha lista de pessoas com quem gostaria de trabalhar um dia. 
 
 
 
 
¿Te acuerdas cuando fue la primera vez que oiste hablar de filosofia para niños? "Pues mi acercamiento al mundo de la Filosofía Aplicada fue por parte de mi profesor de Filosofía en Secundaria. Mi relación con él ha estado muy presente desde que dejé el instituto y él me hablaba, entorno al 2003 sobre diferentes herramientas en las cuales la Filosofía tiene aún mucho que decir. 

Posteriormente, en 2011, lo escuché como teoría y práctica en un curso con Oscar Brenifier y a partir de ahí empecé a indagar por mi cuenta quienes era Lipman, Sharp, Moriyón, etc."

¿Como has empezado a trabajar en área? "Empecé en 2012 en una biblioteca en la que llevaba realizando un Café Filosófico desde el año anterior. Allí me dieron la oportunidad de trabajar 6 meses con niños y 6 meses con adolescentes. Lo cierto es que las oportunidades que me han dado en las bibliotecas han sido clave para que yo pudiera desarrollar mi labor y seguir aprendiendo mediante una práctica de lo que quería hacer."


¿Consideras que la fpc és necessaria para los niños? E porquê?
 
"No solo es necesaria, además desempeña un papel fundamental en la adquisición de destrezas, habilidades y competencia de los niños. En muchos casos, el trabajo que se desarrolla en las sesiones de FpN es una propedéutica para otras materias que presentan sus primeros retos como la literatura o las matemáticas."
 
Hoy en dia los niños em Portugal tienen muchisimas actividades en la escuela e fuera de ella. ¿Porquê debemos tener la filosofia en las escuelas? "Eso es justamente lo que ocurre actualmente con mis talleres. Los niños tienen deportes, inglés o música y acaban por no darle una oportunidad de la Filosofía para Niños porque se quedan sin tiempo para algo tan positivo como es jugar. Esto me entristece mucho porque no le están dando importancia a la calidad del pensamientos o del diálogo de los más pequeños y queremos que hablen muchos idiomas y sean muy inteligentes, pero no saben de qué temas hablar o con qué calidad en las argumentaciones, ni si quiera se preocupan por saber si sus actuaciones están dentro de la moralidad o es una simple repetición de acciones de que otros hacen.  Aunque para llevar esto a la escuela es otro reto. En las escuelas e institutos españoles se elige entre una asignatura enfocada al desarrollo de habilidades éticas y morales o la moral religiosa católica (muy pocos colegios ofrecen una religión que no sea la "mayoritaria"). De esa manera se crea una competencia muy compleja entre alumnos que saben que recibirán una alta calificación si sigue una moral religiosa o alumnos que tienen que trabajar duro y esforzarse para tener una buena nota.  Yo considero que la creencia religiosa debería dejarse en el plano extracurricular, debemos ofrecer a los alumnos que en los colegios se de esa convivencia y tolerancia que existen en las comunidades de indagación o investigación y que fuera de las enseñanzas formales cada uno elija al dios que quiere rezar o en el mito que quiere creer."

¿Que es lo que hace que una pregunta sea una pregunta filosófica - desde el punto de vista de la fpc?
Una pregunta propiamente filosófica es aquella que plantea un reto; sea un problema dilemático o plantee resorte que despierte su curiosidad por averiguar qué hay detrás, en el fondo de la cuestión. 
Casi cualquier elemento de la realidad, al analizarlo de una manera detenida, muestra las aristas y la complejidad de su propia existencia. Solo las preguntas que son retóricas y que buscan una respuesta preestablecida son las únicas que se alejan del potencial de la pregunta filosófica. 
También habría que preguntarnos en este asunto un elemento importante: ¿Puede influir la formulación de una pregunta para que adquiera el cariz filosófico o no?

¿Cuáles son los mayores desafíos que se enfrenta hoy en dia fpc? "Creo que el mundo de la Filosofía en la infancia se enfrenta a múltiples desafíos: por un lado considero que existen múltiples formas de aplicar un programa, el de Lipman, que hoy tiene múltiples caras y múltiples visiones. Existe la Filosofía con Niños, Filosofía desde la Infancia, Filosofía visual para Niños, Filosofía para Niños en contextos de marginalidad y de exclusión social, Filosofía para las Familias, etc. 
Creo que lo interesante es todo lo que se puede aportar a día de hoy que nadie excluya al otro considerando que solo existe un único programa o una única de usar los programas y metodologías. 
Creo que aportar podemos aportar todos, excluir, no debemos excluir a nadie."

¿Puede dar algunos consejos a maestros y padres para ayudarles a lidiar com las perguntas de los niños?
En mis sesiones con padres siempre les hablo del "Diálogo democrático" y se lo ofrezco como un espacio para hacer en casa con los niños y las niñas que quieran tener durante un rato a la semana o al día ese espacio en el que los niños tienen algo que decir y pueden hacerlo. Además de proponer cosas en el funcionamiento de la familia, etc. Cuando les damos voz y oímos sus exigencias, en algunas ocasiones se da eso tan interesante como que la educación es democrática y no la convencional de corte más dictatorial o dogmático ("¡Te lo comes porque yo lo digo!")"

¿Alguna vez has sido sorprendido con una pregunta de un niño? Puedes compartir con nosotros la pregunta? "Creo que las que más me han llegado a sorprender son las que tienen que ver con comer animales y la crueldad, con la sensibilidad que pueden tener los niños sobre el maltrato a animales, mujeres o niños. Temas que ni se tratan en casa en profundidad, excepto mediante las noticias y de manera más descriptiva que reflexiva.
Alguna que el último curso me llamó la atención fue:
 
"¿Pueden los humanos pegar a otros humanos y seguir siendo humanos?"
"¿Es miedo lo que siente un hombre que pega a una mujer?"
"¿Alguna vez alguien ha pensado como piensa un cerdo al que nos vamos a comer?"
 
 
 

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Nick Chandley: "I think many would agree that developing critical and creative thinkers is the main aim of education, along with encouraging children to become good citizens."

I met Nick Chandley on twitter. I was at one of my classes and we were talking about a document signed by Nick. I had a doubt about one thing I read on that document. I looked down and found that Nick had a twitter profile. I send him a tweet with my question and he replied, minutes later. Since then I follow him on twitter. I challenged Nick to give me some answers and he said yes. Thank you, Nick! 

Take a look at Philosophy for Schools

*

 

"I was a teacher in a primary school but had been seconded out to a small, very creative team of teachers working across 9 schools, from a nursery to a secondary school. I went on a Level 1 course in the UK and immediately connected with it as I felt that the P4C way was the type of teacher I already was and had always wanted to be." So, how did you started working with p4c? "I took it back to my schools immediately and they all loved it too so my employers decided it would be good to have a trainer in the local area and encouraged me to attend the various courses and complete the coursework. I became a trainer in 2006 and have been incredibly lucky to have spent my time since then taking P4C into schools." 

 

Do you think p4c is necessary to children? Why? "Yes, I do. John Holt wrote over 50 years ago that the world is changing at such an incredible pace that we need to do all we can to develop our children as thinkers as we couldn’t hope to give them all the knowledge they’ll need when they try and enter the workplace. I think many would agree that developing critical and creative thinkers is the main aim of education, along with encouraging children to become good citizens. P4C, if done well, has all this and more – and the children love it!

 

And what do the children think about philosophy?

"I asked one class of 9/10 year old children why they enjoy P4C so much. They said it’s because it makes them think, so I asked why that’s important because surely, we’re thinking all the time? One girl said that it’s important she does all her thinking when she’s young as she won’t have time when she’s older. I could see why she thought that, possibly observing the adults around her, teachers included, dashing around everywhere (take a look at David McKee’s brilliant book, Not Now, Bernard). I did ask her from what age she thinks she’s going to be too busy think and she said 15!" 

In Portugal, some schools are offering #p4c to their students, as one of the many activities at AEC (in portuguese: actividades de enriquecimento curricular). "Philosophy, as well as enhancing thinking specifically and thinking generally across the curriculum, can also be seen as an ‘activity’. Children really like wrestling with big ideas, especially when we use the various tools at our disposal and I know of many popular philosophy clubs in schools. I also know of groups of schools that come together in a ‘philosothon’, a community of enquiry involving children from various schools who meet and enjoy discussing big ideas. It’s also an activity that continues outside the session and often at home as children think more about the issues raised and explore them with other people.

 

From a #p4c point of view, what makes a question a philosophical question? Nick Chandley reminds us of SAPERE's guidelines: 

SAPERE, the UK P4C charity, says that philosophical questions:

  • are open to examination, further questioning and enquiry;
  • can't be answered by appealing only to scientific investigation or sense
  • experience;
  • are questions about meaning, truth, value, knowledge and reality

And Nick says:

 "I don’t like to use the term ‘questions where there’s no right or wrong answer’ as this could lead children to think it doesn’t really matter what you say. Of course, we’re all entitled to our own opinion but we should be encouraging children, and people generally, to examine whether what they think is based on sound reason. I like to think of philosophical questions as ones that we enjoy engaging with and which encourage us to reflect on our own experiences. In fact, the best philosophical questions, I feel, are ones where it’s difficult to avoid engaging with them. Philip Cam, in his book ’20 Thinking Tools’, introduces us to the question quadrant, a nice tool for helping children distinguish the various types of questions and to develop discussion plans. All too often, children in school are faced with what he would categorise as ‘left side’ questions, those that have an undisputable right answer. Whilst good teachers will always engage children in the wider issues, P4C gives us a methodology and a structure to develop this across the whole school."

 

When asked about the biggest challenge that  #p4c faces, nowadays, Nick anwers: "In these days of data-driven education, one challenge is that the impact of P4C is often difficult to quantify in the terms that the policy-makers demand. There are studies that show its effect but unfortunately, until these effects are statistically measurable in core subjects such as English and maths, P4C is likely to remain a marginal subject. Recent research has linked P4C with improved attainment in English and maths, with results so interesting that the EEF has recently announced another, much larger study of up to 200 primary schools, so we will await the outcome of that project. In the meantime, however, the UK has many, many headteachers that see the benefits and invest both money and curriculum time to embed it in their school."

 

Can you give the teachers and the parents some kid of advice to help them deal with the children’s questions? "Simply be interested in and listen to the children and help them explore their ideas through the use of Socratic questioning – asking for clarification, examples, reasons, similarities & differences, alternative viewpoints, connections, questions etc. People on my courses must get fed up of me saying that the children are the teacher’s best resource but it was John Dewey that said, in My Pedagogic Creed, ‘The child's own instincts and powers furnish the material and give the starting point for all education’.

 

Did the children ever surprised you with a question? Can you share that question with us? "I work regularly with the BBC and one of their producers, Katy Hall, came to observe a session with some 7/8 year-old children, a group I’d been working with for a number of years, as research for a new programme they were making. I did no preparation and didn’t bring anything for the children to think about – no story, picture, video etc, I just simply asked them what they’d really like to talk about. One boy said we should talk about ‘life’ so I asked them what specifically about life they’d like to talk about. They thought about it for a minute or two and decided they’d like to discuss ‘why is life so unfair for normal people?’. A great question and some very sparky discussion followed but I was so proud that the children were so mature and thoughtful. We should never underestimate children’s ability to think but we should give them time to do so."

 

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"joana, podíamos fazer um debate"

depois de sentarmos nos lugares, de nos acalmarmos, de regressar da ida à casa-de-banho ("joana, ainda dá para ir num instante?) e de termos recapitulado a última aula (quem se lembra e quer partilhar o que fizemos no último dia?) a L. pede a palavra e diz:

- joana, podíamos fazer um debate!

ah sim?, perguntei. então e como é que é isso do debate?

- então, umas pessoas vão dizer se concordam, as outras dizem ou defendem que não concordam e depois falamos. cada um defende um lado.

 

no quadro, o tópico da última aula: "fazer muitas perguntas: é bom fazer? ou é mau fazer? e as justificações para defender o "é bom"  e o "é mau". e eu perguntei à L. se ela achava que podíamos fazer o debate com aquilo que temos no quadro? "sim", foi a resposta. 

 

então, disse eu, vamos organizar-nos para o debate. as pessoas têm que definir se defendem "é bom fazer muitas perguntas" ou "é mau fazer muitas perguntas". e até temos ali algumas razões. vamos procurar exemplos para essas razões? 

 

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e surgiram alguns ares de estranheza. qual é a diferença entre razões e exemplos? 

o M. deu o pontapé de saída nesta dúvida. "joana, não estou a perceber bem o que é um exemplo disso que já temos aí". perguntei se alguém tinha alguma sugestão, se podia ajudar a encontrar um exemplo. o C. juntou-se ao M. na dúvida e a aula continuou neste sentido: apurar o que é uma razão e o que é um exemplo - e de que forma é que o exemplo ajuda as nossas razões a provar a sua força. 

e ficaram alguns TPP (trabalhos para pensar) para a próxima aula.

no final, o C. perguntou-me se podia apagar o quadro. ao fazer isto, perguntou-me:

- joana, uma pessoa pode ter só um nome?

- só um nome? como assim?

- achas que há uma pessoa que se chama só Fábio? 

- C, viste o que aconteceu? 

e ele ficou a olhar para mim, como se estivesse a pensar "para dentro". 

- dei um exemplo?, perguntou ele.

sim. agora só tens que pensar na razão que queres defender e encontrar exemplos, como encontraste para essa pergunta que fizeste. já viste que os exemplos dão muito jeito, C.?

e ele sorriu.

- até para a semana, joana, e colocou a mochila às costas e saiu pelo corredor. 

 

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perguntar, investigar: "ó joana, o que é a filosofia?"

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"estou há cinco aulas a tentar responder a esta pergunta", dizia-me uma pequena-grande-filósofa do alto dos seus 7 anos.

mal sabe ela que esta pergunta incomoda e inquieta muita gente há uns dois mil e muitos anos... :)

a investigação desta aula aconteceu em torno da filosofia em si mesma, algo que os meninos ainda estão a descobrir. como? pela experiência. de aula para aula, os grupos têm vindo a revelar que sentem aquilo que é diferente nas aulas de filosofia, face às outras aulas que têm. 

"esta aula é só perguntas, perguntas e mais perguntas", dizia-me a I., há dias. 

a pouco e pouco, os meninos vão sentindo segurança e percebendo que nestas aulas se vive um espaço de liberdade e de autonomia, onde podemos dizer o que pensamos, concordar, discordar - e nem por isso deixamos de ser amigos uns dos outros - apresentar ideias diferentes, imaginar "como seria se"... e se há quem sinta desconforto perante isto, outros usufruem deste processo até ao tutano. e querem mais. 

"eu detesto as aulas de filosofia", dizia-me o P. olha, P., eu às vezes também não gosto muito. mas a vida tem coisas das quais gostamos mais, outras das quais não gostamos tanto. não é meu intuito que os meninos saiam da aula apaixonados pela filosofia (como eu estou, confesso!); é meu intuito que os meninos saiam das aulas com a curiosidade (ainda mais) aguçada e com vontade de olhar à sua volta e fazer perguntas, revelando assim o que "os incomoda", o que lhes agrada, o que não gostam, o que querem fazer. revelando a sua visão do mundo - que é única. somos todos diferentes, sabiam?

"nas tuas aulas podemos escolher coisas. e às vezes acontecem coisas aqui, diferentes das outras aulas, porque tu deixas-nos ser diferentes. somos todos diferentes! e tu és uma professora diferente!"

 

 

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há ainda muitos preconceitos em relação à filosofia para crianças. começa pela questão dos "conteúdos" das aulas. e depois as "avaliações" - tema muito polémico no que às AEC' (actividades de enriquecimento curricular) diz respeito.

em conversa com uma amiga e colega que trabalha na área, falamos do desempenhos dos "bons e maus alunos" nas aulas de filosofia: "normalmente, os alunos estão habituados a estudar (alguns literalmente a "marrar"), alguns são diariamente acompanhados pelos pais, com vista a obterem sucesso. quando se trata de filosofia, o que acontece é que eles não têm, de facto, matéria para estudar e isso é muito complicado para os ditos bons alunos, para os pais e, inclusivamente para os professores titulares. estes alunos aprendem a reproduzir e, como diria o Oscar Brenifier, a responder como os professores querem que eles respondam... não estão habituados a questionar, a interrogar-se e a explorar outras possibilidades." 

 

isto de estar no terreno, a colocar a filosofia em prática, vai muito para lá das quatro paredes da sala de aula. é ser consequente na prática do diálogo, no questionar, defendendo as metodologias e esclarecendo quem as estranha - na esperança de que as possa entranhar.

 

Bebés gostam de jazz? e de filosofia? - artigo de Maria Barbosa no Expresso


«E eis que ganha terreno a Filosofia para Crianças. O projecto criado de raiz por Joana Rita Sousa - «Filosofia para Crianças, Criatividade & Meia Dúzia de Chapéus às Cores» - tem dois anos e alunos não lhe faltam. (...) Hoje, o seu objectivo é ajudar os não-filósofos a trabalhar o pensamento, "caso contrário, enferruja". E estarão as crianças em risco? Joana Sousa diz que sim, "sem estimulação, começam a cair no óbvio". E como é que se cai no óbvio aos três anos? "Deixam de se espantar com as mais pequenas coisas, ou de olhar para elas como se fosse a primeira vez."»

Expresso, 24 de Outubro de 2009, p. 28

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