Are you present in your selfies?

This week, a session from David Birch’s book “Thinking Beans – A Year of Classroom Philosophy Lessons.”

We published the book a few years ago and love facilitating sessions inspired by it our school workshop days – I even used one this week with Year 12 at Eltham College.

This session explores the concept of “Looking” using the story of Perseus – who had to decapitate the serpent-haired Medusa to save his mother from marrying a King she didn’t love. The only problem was, Medusa’s ugliness meant whoever looked at her would be turned to stone. 

It leads to all kinds of questions, some of my favourites being.

  • If you looked at a painting of Medusa, would you be turned to stone?
  • Are you present in your selfies?
  • Have you ever seen your face?

I’m particularly interested by this as recently I’ve been trying to get my head around Sam Harris’ assertion that if we look for who is looking, we’ll eventually realise there is no self, only consciousness. What philosophers get up to in their spare time, eh…

“I think that was the best Personal Development day we’ve had!”

Bookings are coming in thick and fast for our Philosophy workshop days in September and October. These don’t just equip children with new skills (and questions!) but also a provide invaluable CPD for teachers observing. Schools often double-up with twilight INSET by selecting the day of the staff-meeting.  

These days can also include a Parent Workshop, like we did at Westdene Primary School in Brighton two weeks ago. Here’s how the school described it on their website:

Philosophy for Children Day Wow!
What a fabulous day we had yesterday when Tom Bigglestone, The Philosophy Man, spent a whole day with us leading thought-provoking assemblies, workshops, debates and games. Every child from Reception to Year 6 had received “Sticky Questions'”to take home in preparation for the day. The children have rated the day highly and it built upon work we have been undertaking in P4C (Philosophy for Children) for over two years at Westdene. Fascinating topics included moral and environmental themes. We even debated whether the hole in a polo mint is an intrinsic part of its design or just air which led to passionate discussion which was great fun! Thank you to Mr Fowler for organising such a great day, all the parents and carers who attended our workshop and, of course, Mr Tom, for his enthusiasm which engaged everyone!

And these aren’t just for primary schools. A Director of R.E. at a Harris Academy told us:

The students were incredibly complimentary about the sessions – which is not usual! One student said “I think that was the best Personal Development day we’ve had!”. 

There are only a few midweek slots left, so get in touch to start a chat about how we could work with you.

Best wishes,

Tom and Jason

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