Who am I?
What does being different mean?
What actually has value?
Based on such questions, children, young people or
adults are encouraged to do research together in specially guided,
philosophical discussions. Philosophising is far more than just asking a
question: Philosophising offers a protected, appreciative framework in
which one's own thoughts, values ??and attitude can be viewed and
developed. Every contribution is just as valuable as the lived
appreciation in the conversation. The philosophical moderator accompanies
and guides the group in this process. The technique and method used by the
academy also includes special, practical exercises that are adapted to the
topic and lead in depth.
...listening, thinking, exchanging....
Philosophising offers an opportunity to find out more about one's own self
and, for example, the questions "What can I do? What do I want?" to look
at more closely. It helps to find your own orientation in life - without
having to rely on ready-made answers, supposed solutions or advice. The
own, self-developed thoughts and ideas thus receive a completely different
quality. In principle, philosophising is not a treatment of philosophy or
the history of philosophy, but a cultural technique and an educational
Through philosophising together in the group, dealing with existential
questions is not only initiated and promoted, but the children and young
people can also bring in their own questions. This creates a conscious
self-image in every individual from the very beginning. In today's time of
disorientation and "often being left alone" this is an important and
healing contribution that philosophising can make. Unfortunately, the
framework is all too often lacking where research is carried out on
important life issues. And although it is firmly anchored in the school
curriculum, for example, the opportunities to develop and promote critical
thinking are very limited. But philosophising makes it possible to let
your thoughts free and to think a lot in new ways!
p4c in an elementary school in Vienna
Promote dialogue and skills
Philosophising together supports the children and young people in their
development by promoting their ability to engage in dialogue and
democratic cooperation and encourage them to think creatively and to
empathize with the ideas and perceptions of others. Anyone looking for
answers to philosophical questions must be open to the perspectives of
others, think creatively and logically and be able to justify their own
point of view. In philosophising, however, one also approaches the nature
and meaning of one's own feelings, thoughts, perceptions and values.
Especially in heterogeneous groups, which are increasingly to be found in
kindergarten or at school, philosophising together has a strongly
integrative character. When philosophising, topics such as being
different, tolerance or prejudices are taken up. It has been shown in
practice that regular philosophising in an educational institution has
significantly changed the appreciation, consideration and self-confidence
of the individual children and young people for the better.
In concrete terms, the following qualities and skills are enabled and
promoted through philosophising:
Curiosity and individual interests
differentiated perceptions, ability to think and
imagination and creativity
Respect and appreciation for others
Empathy and perspective-taking
Communication, cooperation and conflict skills
ability to concentrate
secondary school, Vienna
Of course, it
always depends on the group or class that is being philosophised with,
which of these points requires special attention. As a result, our
training courses also provide methodical and didactic techniques that make
it possible to respond to the respective target groups.The academy offers
special training in philosophical discussion as well as workshops and
seminars on the subject of "philosophising with children and young people"
in order to make this educational principle accessible in Austria.
Philosophising as a principle of education
Philosophising as an educational principle has already been successfully
implemented in many schools and institutions (worldwide) and the Academy
has also been able to achieve success in a wide variety of projects in
Austria (see cooperation). Integrating or implementing philosophising into
existing teaching systems is a major challenge in our time. The Academy
strives to underline the sustainability of philosophising and the positive
effects on future generations, because these are verifiable and already
firmly established in many institutions. A well-known example is the
former focal point school of Thomas E. Jackson, who managed to change an
entire school with regular philosophising (see
Uly Paya in conversation with Thomas E. Jackson
For a renewal of the education system in Austria, it
would be an opportunity to recognize the added value of this educational
principle and to offer it in a practicable way in teacher or elementary
education training. The academy is therefore trying to make philosophising
better known to the public and to convince institutions and politicians of
its possibilities and opportunities.
The establishment of philosophising as an educational principle also
requires a rethink and the willingness of the implementing institutions,
educators or educators. Philosophising is initially a challenge for
pedagogical specialists, since common teaching methods can hardly be
applied here. However, it has been shown in our training courses that the
added value for all educators and participants is very high. Regular
philosophising brings her and her daily educational work with children and
young people to a completely new level.
"How do we actually want to live?"
Especially in times when bullying, prejudice and discrimination are
recurring themes, there is hardly any framework or opportunity for
children and young people to address these difficult issues. Institutions
and teachers are often forced to resort to traditional sanctions. It would
be very easy to accommodate many disruptions and difficulties in terms of
the discipline and motivation of young people and to look at, discuss and
further develop the topics together, namely WITH the children and young
people. The "social potential", the creativity and the will to contribute
is hardly or not at all supported in our current system. The guided,
philosophical conversation could provide the framework to develop
respectful interaction and an appreciative attitude towards others, to
prevent conflicts and to increase the motivation of the new generation. It
strengthens social skills and includes many areas of personality
development, which is essential for motivating people to take up a job and
strive for a fulfilling life.
theory versus practice
Philosophising must be taught didactically and methodically, but first and
foremost it must be learned in a well-founded and practical way. At
present, such practical training does NOT take place at the teacher
training colleges (PHs) or federal educational institutions (Bakips) in
Austria, and if so, then mostly only purely informally and theoretically.
However, philosophising behaves like a climbing or dance course, where the
prospective climbing or dance leader needs a lot of practice with a lot of
practice in order to be able to establish philosophising in a group. For
educators and teachers, for example, this may mean questioning their own
The academy recognized the dichotomy between theory and practice right
from the start and focuses on the practical implementation of
philosophising and practical training in workshops, seminars and the
Philo-Camp. The participants of the training are not dependent on a
theoretical or self-taught occupation with the history of philosophy, but
receive a practical training in philosophical conversation that is
tailored to their personal experiences and goals.
The Academy is pleased about the increase in interest in philosophising.
Quite often we receive inquiries from philosophers who have completed
their studies or from those who would like to write a diploma thesis on
the subject of philosophising. After a few queries, it quickly becomes
clear how far removed the ideas of philosophising are from real practice.
Theories and models on the subject of philosophising are already available
in countless books. It may therefore be surprising at first why
philosophising is not established in so few schools or educational
institutions. From our point of view, this is due to the old forms of
teaching, which seem difficult to overcome, and on the other hand to the
lack of training offers, which focus on feasibility.
“Among my teenagers there was a girl who never said
anything while philosophising for about 3 months. But she always listened
with great interest and very carefully. Then suddenly she broke the
silence because it was about home and she was now saying something about
it. That was a magical moment for everyone. Since then, she has become
much more involved in the talks..."
(Teacher's Report from a secondary school, where weekly
philosophising took place.)
Philosophising means practical action, exchange and
experience! It is also a very inviting and open form of dialogue.
Children, youth and adults can ask questions like "What is freedom?" or
"Where does life come from?" place, just like over 2000 years ago. These
questions are more relevant than ever in our information society!
The academy would like to make philosophising accessible to all social
classes and age groups in Austria and promote it in order to positively
shape healthy coexistence for future generations. The academy therefore
offers well-founded, certified training (=diploma course) in philosophical
discussion as well as workshops and seminars on the subject of
"philosophising with children and young people" in order to spread and
implement this educational principle in Austria.
© Academy "Philosophieren mit Kindern,
Jugendlichen & Erwachsenen", all rights reserved!