More and more children arriving in reception scarcely talking at all...
...but research tells us that engaging children in conversation is more important for brain development than trying to bridge the '30 million word gap'. Distraction by devices mean adults speak less to their children, children speak less to each other, and the impact is growing. 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. So how can we improve the volume, and quality, of talk in our pupils?
Talking At Home, At Home with Talking:
Workshops and training to encourage better talk in your school community
No two bookings are the same - everything is tailored for your school - but three things always remain:
- Pupil Workshops, observed by staff
- Parent Workshops on how to have better talk at home
- Staff Twilight INSET on techniques for more and better talk in the classroom
This way, staff see the techniques in action with their own classes, which is powerful proof of its benefits. It provides visible examples of what our our Philosophy Circles approach looks like in the classroom, and so makes the subsequent INSET all the more grounded and accessible.
This also has the advantage of allowing you to use any normal school day plus your regular meeting, or some scheduled twilight time.
In the INSET session, we cover look at several strategies to increase the volume (in both senses!) and quality of talk in the classroom. By exploring the three core principles of Philosophy Circles in an interactive and engaging way. More participation and less PowerPoint. The key aim is to empower staff to embed more effective talk activities in their own lessons, so it’s another way of doing what they already do, rather than something extra. Staff will leave confident and enthusiastic about trying the ideas the very next day.
Help children find their voices
Typically, we can fit in four to five pupil workshops into a day. We work with existing classes in their spaces, and with their current topics. As many staff as can fit are welcome to observe.
Through observing our workshops, your staff will 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
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 and talk activities do the work fosters greater independence and faster progress.
During the demonstration day, teachers can see how easy it is to embed talking strategies, 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.
- 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
Spreadable to your Whole School
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 twilight INSET includes attractive minibooks that are written with busy teachers in mind, and following the course 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
The twilight INSET 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.
Over 100 session plans with a consistent, easy to follow format, plus a wealth of supporting stimuli and other resources.
Over 120 curriculum based session plans
Self- and peer- assessment tools
Workshops for Parents
Why limit P4C to the school gates? We also run parent workshops to help you showcase what the school is doing, and also extend the tools of talk to those who speak to our children the most.
We can focus the session on anything you ask:
- Do you feel some parents need help understanding the importance of talk at home?
- Do some parents just need the confidence to talk more about questions they might feel out of their reach?
- Or you have another challenge altogether?
We help you organise the session, from planning to delivery:
What’s the difference between Philosophy Circles and “traditional” P4C?
All P4C gets children thinking about challenging questions, and teachers act as facilitators rather than knowledge-givers. Traditional P4C follows a series of stages. Children see or read a stimulus, think about the ideas in it, create questions, evaluate the questions, and then choose one to talk about. In Philosophy Circles, the facilitator usually asks the first question, so the discussion gets started faster. The children’s own questions are still important, but they emerge through discussion. Rather than stages, Philosophy Circles is built around three facilitation principles which run through the whole process. It makes it more fast-paced and versatile for use across the curriculum.
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
Tailored resources so talking starts in reception and 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.
Also in the series...
The Wild West
Town and countryside
"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
"The resources are practical, effective and require very little preparation- which is great!"
After an inspiring and informative Inset Day, led by Tom, all staff were eager to try out P4C strategies and felt strongly about the principles P4C promoted.
P4C has enabled children to voice their opinions in a calm and controlled manner whilst having their views challenged. It has provided them with time to critically think about their own morals, beliefs and thoughts.
We invited Tom back for Interfaith Day! Through P4C, children naturally made comparisons and built upon their RE knowledge. Children thoroughly enjoyed the current and interactive assemblies, pitched appropriately for each Key Stage.
The weekly bulletins inspire and instigate current discussions with the children which can occur in many curriculum areas. The mini resource booklets are great too as they are concise and clear. The resources are practical, effective and require very little preparation- which is great!
Though we have separate P4C sessions, we have easily and seamlessly begun to use it in other curriculum areas.
Greenway Primary School
Booking and Delivery Models
Lots of schools like to start by booking a single day, but for the deepest impact and so that you can be guided through the whole programme, you need two or more days. Please book by filling out the contact form below, or contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
|Peak INSETs Full day||Mon, Fri Full/half day||Tue – Thu Full/half day||School Packs||Teacher Packs|
|from £1250||£1250 / 800||£1000 / 700||1 included||30 included|