P4C and Parents: Talk at Home, at Home With Talk

This week, two new stimuli in the Zebra-striped format for paired reading that was popular last year. The text is broken up by alternating bands of colour, with one reader being “Yellow” and the other “White”. Grey-striped versions are included in the attachments too. Click here for the original materials and explanation.
In one – “Lazy” (click to download), a teenager blames the genes his parents gave him for his not wanting to get out of bed, raising questions of personal choice, nature and nurture. The second, “See-Saw Story” (click to download), pasted below, is intended for primary children to read with parents. It is a variation on the “body swap narrative” of popular films, in which the child ends up the size of the parent and vice versa. My hope is that it can be a homework that gets children and parents arguing about ideas, not about homework!
Talking at Home, At Home With Talking  Parent, Pupil and Staff Workshop Day
I’m keen to encourage parents to have more and better talk with their children. Technology encourages family members to lead very separate lives, and children who have had less child-directed speech before arriving at school get the worst of it.
I am looking for schools that would like to run a day celebrating the importance of talk, which will include:
  • Parent workshops at drop-off time, and perhaps at pick-up time as well, supported by a special 12-week email bulletin with ideas and resources.
  • Assemblies motivating children around talk
  • Pupil workshops observed by staff
  • Twilight training on techniques for more and better talk in the classroom
Rather than a fully-fledged introduction to P4C, these days will focus on the general volume and quality of talk – a mix of philosophy, story-based talk, talking games and talk encouragement techniques.
Good Use of Pupil Premium
Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds have often had less talk in the home, in particular child-directed speech other than instructions. This in turn feeds into less confidence in classroom talk, which can exaggerate other educational inequalities. Addressing barriers to talk is an effective way of closing the gap between disadvantaged pupils and other learners, so this day is a very suitable use for Pupil Premium funding. Cost is £1000+VAT for mid-week days, which include six hours of parent or pupil workshops, assemblies and twilight INSET in whatever combination you choose. There is no extra charge for the email support for parents, and the full Philosophy Circles Premium Pack of resources for installation on your school system is included.
“Attended last week’s session with Jason Buckley about Philosophy for Children. What an engaging talk… more like a cocktail party than a school function. Left us wanting more and wondering how to make this a part of our daily lives. Thank you.” – Parent workshop attendee at ISHCMC
Best wishes,
Jason & Tom
See-Saw Story
A strange thing has happened.
It’s very odd.
Really quite peculiar.
At the park in town yesterday, my mum and I found a new see-saw.
It was very, very long.
Right in the middle of the park, away from all the other stuff.
We walked up to it. On one end, it said, “up”.
We walked down to the other end. It said, “down”.
Which was very odd, because of course a see-saw has to go up and down.
“I’ll be up,” I said, and raced back up to the other end.
My mum sat down on the down end, and went up.
I sat up on the up end, and went down.
Up and down we went, as you do on a see-saw.
Every time I went down, it was a little harder to go up.
It seemed a very long way to the other end of the see saw.
In fact, it seemed as if it was getting longer and longer.
Because each time she went down, mum seemed to get further and further away.
In the end, I got bored with see-sawing, and shouted to my mum that I was getting off. My voice came out a bit deeper than normal.
“Alright,” she called back. Her voice sounded a bit higher than normal.
We got off and walked back to the middle of the see-saw.
And what we saw was strange to see.
Normally, mum wishes there was less of her, and I wish there was more of me.
But what we saw by the see-saw was that instead of mum being twice as big me…
…I was twice as big as my mum!
“Help!” she said. “This can’t be happening!”
“But you’ve always wanted to lose weight,” I said.
“Not like this!” she said. “And look at you: you’re taller than your dad.”
“I quite like it,” I said.
“Let’s go home. I can’t have anyone seeing me like this,” she said.
“What if I don’t want to go home?” I said.
“You’ll do as you’re told,” she said.
I wondered if I would, now that I’d grown up all of a sudden.

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