Philosophy sessions have been part of the Pembridge Hall curriculum since 2011 and have now become a well-established opportunity for our students to participate in creative and critical thinking.
This academic year, weekly Philosophy sessions are undertaken in Years Five and Six. The lessons are taken by a philosopher from The Philosophy Foundation (www.thephilosophyshop.co.uk) an educational charity who work in partnership with schools to develop and promote philosophical enquiry skills in the classroom.
The philosophy sessions focus on thinking skills and communal dialogue (‘philosophising’). The girls explore questions such as ‘Is it possible to think of nothing?’; ‘Is there more past than future?’; ‘Is it ever right to tell a lie?’
The teaching approach involves the teacher being a ‘facilitator’- probing children’s understanding and developing their ideas without leading them towards any particular conclusion – rather than a leader or a guide. Our visiting philosopher is highly skilled in this method.
The benefits for the students are widely encompassing. Philosophy develops speaking and listening skills towards a high level of rational, critical and collaborative exploration, through discussion. It enables children to critically evaluate each other’s and their own claims, in a respectful environment where all contributions are valued. The sessions promote the development of reflective, autonomous learning, and prepare children effectively for independent and insightful learning experiences at senior school and beyond.