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World Philosophy Day 2017 Challenge: What’s Your Constitution?

It’s World Philosophy Day on Thursday, so here’s a stimulus that pupils of all ages can enjoy.
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Inspired by my recent training in South Africa, the challenge is to create a personal “Constitution” – What are the rules that you would set for yourself, so that in the future, you do the right thing even if it is difficult?
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The challenge is introduced, explained, and set in this video:
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You could broadcast it in the morning’s assembly, before sending everyone away to get to work, or alternatively show it in class. If you can’t show the video, the same instructions are in this attached document.
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Creating a personal constitution is a task that lends itself to individual, independent work. However, I would recommend starting discussions in groups on questions like…
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  • What would make a good personal constitution?
  • What should a good personal constitution avoid?
  • What would be easy about sticking to a constitution? What would be hard?

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…so they engage in some energetic and collaborative pre-thinking before they get to work on something that reflects their own values. Critically analysing others’ ideas will also enrich their own thinking, as they may decide to incorporate some but steer clear of others.
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They might decide that it’s an impossible task – that you need to make a judgment on each situation and that it’s impossible to create a set of rules in advance that will capture everything; or that any rule might have to have exceptions. I never advertise the possibility of “breaking the rules” of the task in advance, otherwise it becomes a way of “wussing out” of the challenge; but if people decide, for good reason, that they can’t decide, that’s an assertive step that should be respected.
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If you have colleagues or friends who work in education, please forward this on. I’d love to hear what your pupils come up with – reply directly to this email to feed back.
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Happy Constitutioning!
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Jason
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