The Birthplace of P4C

This summer I was lucky enough to attend the annual summer seminar organised by the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC) based at Montclair State University, NJ.

It was inspiring to spend a week with fellow P4C advocates from the USA and further afield. As well as examining some of the academic papers written about P4C, we immersed ourselves in philosophical enquiry. Only by doing it ourselves can we get close to experiencing some of what children might think and feel when they do it.

Questions including 'Are all gifts burdens?' and 'Is there anything art shouldn't express?' engaged us all in the pursuit of finding possible - and reasonable - answers. We were challenged to give evidence and examples to back up our positions, all of us taking a turn to facilitate an enquiry.

Something that I found particularly useful was the practice of naming our 'moves'. I am going to give a counterexample. Or, I am going to add some supporting evidence for Sara's position.

This requires tight facilitation, and can interrupt the flow of dialogue, but, I believe, has huge potential for increasing the quality of dialogue and developing confident, articulate speakers.