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Philosophy Assemblies

By Tom Bigglestone | June 15, 2017

This week’s theme is assemblies, although the stimuli mentioned could be used for a normal-sized group. Philosophy Assemblies are a great way to embed philosophy as a whole-school practice, but they are very different to normal assemblies. How can you set the right mood, choose the right stimulus and facilitate successfully with such a large…

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P4C Thought Experiment: The Us

By Tom Bigglestone | June 6, 2017

This week, a stimulus that seeks to go beyond the rough-and-tumble partisanship of election debates to a more profound approach to thinking about a just society. The stimulus and enquiry plan is attached as a PDF here, and there’s an audio version of the stimulus here: r r It’s called “The Us”, and is an…

“Types” of Facilitation

By Tom Bigglestone | May 11, 2017

The stimulus for this article was “Just My Type, A Book About Fonts” by Simon Garfield. He mentions a talk by Beatrice Warde, a grand dame of typography, called, “The Crystal Goblet, or Why Printing Should Be Invisible.” Her thesis was that typography existed to convey ideas, not to draw attention to itself. You can take…

Post-SATS Thinking Treats

By Tom Bigglestone | May 9, 2017

Soon, Year 6 pupils in England will emerge from the long tunnel of SATs, and have two more months to enjoy their primary schools without that pressure. This week, a few story-based “Community Builders” that encourage listening and collaboration. Because story-based talk is especially powerful for younger children, you will find these approaches as enjoyable…

P4C Session Plans: Easter, Animal Rights, Horrible Histories and Space Exploration

By Tom Bigglestone | May 5, 2017

This week, three pick-up-and-go Philosophy Circles plans and an Easter-themed Spot and Stripe video, so you can easily inject some philosophical thinking into your pupils’ first week back. p For Reception, Years 1 & 2: Would it be better to give real eggs at Easter? Spot and Stripe argue whether it would be better to give real eggs…

Triple-Session Topic for Robots

By Jason Buckley | March 31, 2017

This week, three summarised enquiry plans for a topic on Robots, all using video stimuli from news or film. Are there some jobs robots could never do? Who is to blame if a robot car does not allow for human error? Could you ever love a robot? Could a robot love you? Philosophy with Robots Teachers…

When Does the Old Become the New?

By Tom Bigglestone | March 3, 2017

I can’t help feeling like a criminal. I’m currently using what crime writers call a ‘burner’ phone: cheap, low-tech handset that’s invariably thrown in a river to avoid being traced. Using it has also created a sense of nostalgia, and I’m clearly not the only one: affection for a bygone era led to this week’s reissuing…

Can bad actions be justified by unfair circumstances?

By Tom Bigglestone | February 22, 2017

An interesting video stimulus from the BBC this week: We’re often presented with examples of behaviour from the animal world that are chosen to compare favourably against humans. This contrasting example has several layers: the selfish behaviour may be out of necessity due to the monkey’s low status – how far can bad actions…

Pay to Protest?

By Tom Bigglestone | January 26, 2017

Many around the world have exercised their right to protest in the past week. So in this bulletin, a stimulus to explore the concept of protest itself. It can be used as a stand-alone session, or as part of Citizenship/PSHE. To provide a way in, the attached dialogue raises the idea of having to pay to protest.…

From Chequerboard to Spot and Stripe

By Jason Buckley | December 16, 2016

The first episode of our new argument show for young children, Spot and Stripe, has been released in time for Christmas. We recorded 39 episodes this week, which are being edited over Christmas ready for inclusion in the Philosophy Circles resources packs. After the class watch an episode, the invitation is for the teacher to…

The value of the bad example

By Tom Bigglestone | December 5, 2016

  We’re often asked for ideas to deepen pupils’ thinking. For tactics to move their discussions on from interesting chat to richer philosophical dialogue. One way is show a ‘bad example’ of philosophy. Perhaps where a particular skill is absent, or where participants are locking horns on a concept without actually defining it.   It’s…

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