Key Stage 4 – Philosophy

Class Cyprus become Philosophers!

 

Class Cyprus are thinking hard. We recently started doing philosophy once a week. How boring, you might think – all those dead Greek men. Not at all. We are learning how to be philosophers and think philosophically.

 

Each week the class are given a stimulus – something to get their brain juices flowing and they generate philosophical questions based on their ideas. Then we vote for our favourite question – the one we think will produce the most interesting discussion (not the one our best friend came up with!). The question with the most votes is taken forward into a philosophical enquiry. This is where we sit in a circle and discuss the question, taking turns to speak and listen carefully to others. Mark and Zoë who lead the session constantly challenge the class to think harder and deeper and try to get them to reach some kind of agreement.

Philosophy 4

This week in Philosophy we looked at a variety of pictures showing different groups of friends. The students then worked in pairs to come up with some philosophical questions about friendship. Here are their questions, plus two odd ones the pictures made them think about. We will tell you which question the class voted to discuss next week and what we talked about.

  • Are we all capable of being kind?
  • Does everyone need friends?
  • Why are our friends important in our lives?
  • What makes you happy?
  • How do you make friends?
  • What makes a good friend?
  • Do friends make you happy?
  • Is it an advantage to be a man or a woman in different professions, i.e. sports?
  • Is shopping the most important thing in our lives?

This week, I asked the class what they thought about our Philosophy lessons. They are always very honest and said that they found it challenging because it’s not like a normal lesson where everyone has a set seat and knows what to expect. In Philosophy lessons, the pupils set their own agenda and decide what to discuss. They also said it was challenging because it made them think hard, which is pleasing to hear. Different children said they enjoyed the warm up games and others liked the lessons but were sad that they were not longer!

In terms of learning, students agreed they had improved their listening skills, were better at taking turns and at giving reasons for their opinions.

Sculpture of Aristotle
Students is a circle talking
Students discussing philosophical questions about scratch cards

… it’s not like a normal lesson where everyone has a set seat and knows what to expect.


Students in a circle discussing philosophy
Is it a good or bad idea to sleep all day?

… students agreed they had improved their listening skills, were better at taking turns and at giving reasons for their opinions.


Students infron of a smart board that says a good lie and a bad lie
What is a good or bad lie?

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