Do you value P4C but struggle to fit it in?
You know enough about P4C to think it would be good for your school. But there are obstacles to implementing it. Traditional one-hour stand-alone sessions won’t fit your timetable. Teaching staff, already under pressure, are wary of taking on “yet another thing” and aren’t sure if they’re “doing it right”. So how can P4C training support colleagues to make it work with your existing curriculum?
Why book a Philosopher in Residence?
When you book one of us as your "Philosopher in Residence", teachers see P4C in action before giving it a go themselves using our resources and with our support.
No two residencies are the same - everything is tailored for your school - but three things always remain:
1. Pupils make rapid progress in their thinking skills thanks to a sustained programme of P4C
2. Teachers observe the range of ways they can use the Philosophy Circles method in their curriculum, and feel inspired to try it out themselves.
3. Teachers immediately embed P4C into their practice by running their own sessions, under our guidance and using our tried and tested Philosophy Circles resources. There's no case of "I'll get round to that one day..."
How does "A Philosopher in Residence" work?
Before the residency:
We have a Skype or phone call with you to discuss your school’s context and the priorities you have for philosophy. The minibooks included with the course – up to thirty copies of Philosophy Circles and Thinkers’ Games are sent to you in advance, along with a brief video introduction from us to your staff.
Your staff try out some taster activities with their pupils. These are sent over in advance, tailored to each year group. They are designed so that they can be run without specialist training in Philosophy Circles by any classroom teacher.
We deliver a day full of pupil workshops, followed by a twilight INSET introducing the key principles of Philosophy Circles, and demonstrating some of the activities the teachers will use in their sessions. A whole school assembly can be included to build some anticipation among the pupils and introduce what philosophy is.
Week 3: .
We provide a carefully selected session plan for each class, and each teacher facilitates their own session. They reflect on the session - noting what went well, and any questions - for example "How do I stop the more confident children dominating the discussion?" They email these to us, and so when we return...
...we run another set of workshops demonstrating answers to their questions. This is followed by another twilight focused on questioning skills that are useful across teaching, not just within philosophy sessions.
Your staff run further sessions with the plans provided. By now, those who have observed a lesson each time, attended a programme and recorded some brief notes will be close to claiming their Philosophy Circles Level 1 Accreditation.
Another full day of workshops and twilight – this time, the option is open for staff to be observed or to team-teach and receive constructive feedback. In the third twilight, we’ll look at how to plan your own sessions – although your school will have access to the full suite of Philosophy Circles plans for common topics in the curriculum (160 as of Jan 2018, plus 39 Spot and Stripe videos for Early Years, and growing).
If you opt to continue your residency (subject to availability) the content of each visit and the support in between will evolve to meet your needs – coaching, curriculum clinics, training of pupil facilitators and so on may be involved.
Why book a Philosopher in Residence?
Booking a Philosopher in Residence is an commitment. There's lots of ideas competing for your school budget, so how do you know it'll be worth the investment? Here's just 3 reasons...
P4C helps children find their voice
More and more children arrive in reception scarcely talking at all. Parents distracted by social media speak less to their children, and the impact is growing. In one school with many younger parents, children joining reception completely nonverbal rose from five, to half to the class.
If they don't learn to talk confidently to groups in their primary years, it's unlikely they ever will. That impacts their learning, and their economic and social wellbeing. You'll learn how to overcome the different obstacles children have to speaking, and get (almost) every child talking:
- Playground Confident, Classroom Shy - how to empower children who clam up in the classroom
- Chance, Chain, Choose - how to reduce inequality in the classroom
- Separating Thinking and Speaking - how to beat the "I dunno" card
- Unwrongification - how to free children from the fear of getting it wrong
- Small Talk Big Talk - how to keep them talking while raising the stakes
- How to make thinking a game by making it physical
It's Practical for Teachers
With the ever-increasing pressure from above, teachers feel more and more accountable for planning every minute of children’s learning. It creates a dependency culture, with children always looking to the teacher. Learn how planning less and letting the questions do the work fosters greater independence and faster progress.
During a "Residency", teachers can see how easy it is to embed P4C, and immediately give it a go themselves. There's no wondering of "where am I going to fit this in?" or "I'll do this soon" and it never see the light of day.
- Sessions that support deeper reflection about seasonal events such as Christmas, harvest and Easter
- How to create deep, worthwhile discussions within a 30 minute timetable slot
- Dozens of ready-to-use activities your staff can can adapt for any context
- Simple, memorable principles that connect with your teachers' values
It's Spreadable to your Whole School
Even once the "Residency" is over, the resources keep coming...
Handouts from training courses often sit in the "INSET graveyard'. It's full of ideas that sounded great on the day but which never quite got passed on to colleagues. Teachers are very busy, and so new initiatives often get buried under the hectic pace of day to day teaching. To avoid that, each booking includes attractive minibooks that are written with busy teachers in mind, and following the "Residency" our huge range of resources means there's every support for you and colleagues continue using P4C regularly.
The books have memory aids in the form of stories, summaries and catchily-named activities so that it is easy for colleagues to make it part of their general teaching style.
Over 150 session plans for use within the primary curriculum
Any Philosopher in Residence booking includes our Premium Pack of Resources - 150+ 30 minute sessions on the most popular primary school topics. It makes it another, richer way to do what you do already, rather than something else to squeeze in.
The Snail and the Whale
The Lighthouse Keepers’ Lunch
Myths and Monsters
St. George and the Dragon
Tame and wild animals
Mind and body
Invaders and Settlers
World War One
Art, Design and Technology
Health and Diet
Changes and new beginnings
Over 120 curriculum based session plans
Self- and peer- assessment tools
Tailored Resources for EYFS/KS1
Much primary school training is focused on KS2, with Early Years teachers left to adapt as they can. Our sequence of a year’s worth of professionally filmed “Spot and Stripe” videos provide the perfect introduction to philosophy for younger children, introducing children to discussion and argument through colourful, fun characters and irresistible questions.
"All the positive testimonials provided by other schools was certainly a winning factor for us. The P4C training and workshops were simply outstanding."
I inherited my role as P4C coordinator from my colleague who tasked me with planning a Philosophy Day. I had looked at several workshops and was pleased to stumble across The Philosophy Man website. All the positive testimonials provided by other schools was certainly a winning factor for us. The training and workshops were simply outstanding.
All the staff had basic P4C training but did not know how to use it within their classrooms. This then acted as a CPD opportunity for all staff and this was furthered in the staff meeting. There was a buzz during the staff meeting, which for any member of staff attending a staff meeting at the end of a half term, knows this is a rare thing! All the staff said how enthused and excited they felt to get back into their classrooms and try out the methods they had been shown.
After the workshops, I interviewed some children about their experience. I deliberately picked children who really struggle with the academic side of school life. One child, who had a workshop on bargaining for his life against a Mayan tribe, said “I loved the P4C workshop. It was so much fun to think of reasons why my life was valuable and the best part was, we didn't have to do any work!”. The children saw the workshops as a chance to express themselves.
Thank you so much for inspiring us to continue with the exemplary training you provided and we look forward to working with you in the future!
Dulverton Primary School
This all sounds great, but what will OFSTED say?
With the relentless focus on data, everything schools do has to show an impact on maths and literacy. Fortunately, not only does OFSTED look very favourable on Philosophy for Children, but a recent EEF study demonstrated that it had a positive impact on both maths and literacy scores. We are excited about philosophy for its own sake, but it’s nice to know that it has a benefit for measurable outcomes, and in particular that it helps to diminish the difference between disadvantaged children and their peers.
‘Philosophy for Children is giving pupils the skills they need to present a point of view and become more articulate, thus boosting their confidence
St Matthews School, Westminster
“Impressively, year 2 pupils can identify ethical dilemmas in their fiction books and propose related questions for discussion in philosophy lessons” “Philosophy lessons challenge pupils to respond to probing questions, such as, “Are all humans connected in some way?”
Churchfields Infant School, South Woodford
The school advises and supports other schools in the use of philosophy with children. This exemplary practice is spreading throughout the school and is having a positive impact on pupils ‘communication and thinking skills and this is beginning to be reflected in their achievement. In an excellent philosophy lesson in the nursery children were challenged to think about the characteristics of two imaginary characters and whether they would change depending on their facial expressions or on what they wear. The curriculum is broad and balanced and meets pupils’ needs well, including the excellent promotion of their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and philosophy.
SparHawk Infant and Nursery School, Norfolk
In a year 5 and 6 philosophy lesson, excellent use was made of a recently released Christmas advertisement for a famous store to encourage pupils to identify sophisticated concepts such as reliability, hope, trust and friendliness. This work made a particularly good contribution to developing their social and moral awareness
North Lakes School, Penrith
‘The thought provoking and exciting curriculum the school has developed over the last two years is an outstanding component of the school’s success (this includes) the development of ‘Philosophy for Children’, a powerful tool which both excites the pupils and gives them the confidence to explore stimulating and challenging ideas and concepts. It not only strengthens their academic learning, but also encourages their empathy for others and gives them insights into the adult world
Ropsley Primary School
"I loved the idea of 'going into orbit'; I wasn't sure how it would go but yet again my pupils have proved me wrong and they were absolutely amazing!"
As a SEN school it can be quite frustrating to attend courses that only focus on mainstream schools. The wonderful thing about Jason and Tom's training was that I felt not only could I use all the ideas in my school but also that pupils with special educational needs have absolutely been considered in their approach. I have used a number of ideas and resources from The Philosophy Man website with our pupils and have been so impressed with the positive effect it has had on the communication skills of all but especially those on the autism spectrum. I highly recommend this training to any teaching professionals as I feel it provides a fantastic opportunity to support pupils' emotional, social and academic progress. Thanks again for a fantastic training session and for your brilliant website.
Immediately following the training I ran a communication group session based on the pirate thinkers game. I had a group of 15 pupils aged between 10 and 15 with a range of special needs but mostly on the autism spectrum. I explained to them that they we were pirates who had been shipwrecked and that myself and my TA had been swept away on a piece of driftwood so they had to decide who their new leader was. I loved the idea of 'going into orbit'; I wasn't sure how it would go but yet again my pupils have proved me wrong and they were absolutely amazing! Am definitely going to plan more sessions that allow for pupil independence. We have been doing philosophy in school for 2 years now and I was mindful of what Tom said about having to pump up a football before you play with it; this is so true of my pupils. We have worked with them to give them strategies for effective communication, debate and decision making so to watch them put those skills into action with no adult input was just amazing!
Class Teacher, Fitzwaryn Special School, Wantage,
"I have to admit, it was one of my favourite PD lessons and having used it with students properly in a lesson, I can now see more applications for it within my own teaching"
Soham Village College
Before the training, I didn't have any knowledge to the depths P4C could go with children's thinking.
Before the training, I wasn't familiar with the concept of the sessions and what each session could help the children achieve. I didn't have any knowledge to the depths P4C could go with children's thinking.
The training was brilliant. I really enjoyed taking part in the activities, as they gave you a good insight in the potential outcomes and focuses throughout a session. The training provided and explained a variety of stimuli and games, which fed into discussing the structure of a P4C session. The training allowed the adult to step into a child's shoes when taking part in an activity and this enabled us to gain a clear understanding and experience of how a child might feel and what they might be thinking in certain situations, especially if they are unfamiliar to inquiries.
Our school have allocated slots during teacher's planning time, where we carry out P4C across the school (EY's-KS2). We use many of the resources that were provided on the training and resources sent via email to assist our teaching. We have generated displays and scrap books to display the children's work, discussions, stimuli and photos of the sessions.
The continuous support through email is brilliant and is helping massively.