reflections on week one

let's reconsider our views on the relationship between childhood and adulthood
it’s time to critically examine our views on the concept of the child

This week I have been challenged by a range of theories and practices of childhood and Philosophy and to the call to bring an ‘epistemological shudder‘ to the thinking of those of us who work with children.

I have observed two different styles of philosophic inquiry with children – one a dedicated session with a skilled philosophy practitioner, the other an integrated lesson conducted by the existing teacher with some P4C training.  I have discussed at length what the best practice for the implementation of this program to young children could be and will continue this discussion with Lizzy Lewis at SAPERE in Oxford next week.

I read the oppositional argument to the ‘uncritical’ acceptance of the developmental model of child development and the impact of this has on teachers and teacher/child relationships.  There is a strongly held view within the P4C community (Karin Murris, David Kennedy, Sara Stanley,  Joanna Haynes and Sue Lyle to name a few) that the child is a ‘being‘ rather than ‘becoming‘, a full human being rather than on a developmental trajectory towards adulthood and evidence that the latter limits the uptake of P4C in schools.

But I have been presented with convincing arguments on how the introduction of P4C into teacher training can be an effective tool to bring change to this binary conception of adult/child and ultimately to classroom practice. How we do this will be the purpose of my visit to Oxford next week.  I have much more to read and much more to think about.

Lyle, Sue (2000) Narrative understanding: Developing a theoretical context for understanding how children make meaning in classroom settings‘, Journal of Curriculum Studies, 32: 1, 45 — 63

Further reading:

Davies, Bronwyn, Listening to Children

Taylor, Affrica, Reconfiguring the Natures of Childhood 

in the series Contesting Early Childhood Series edited by Gunhilla Dahlberg and Peter

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