Classes can be facilitated by 2-3 mentors (undergraduate or graduate students in philosophy, or philosophy professors). Classes typically begin by introducing a key question. This question introduces the central topic for the day's class. Students then focus on a short, manageable philosophy text. Students might then participate in a short activity or discussion to further their engagement with and deepen their understanding of the text. Classes conclude by connecting the key question and philosophical text to a broader question or issue.
Much like in the independent structure, classes can be facilitated by 2-3 mentors, in addition to the course instructor. The material taught by mentors will depend on what is currently being discussed in the course. Integrated courses should begin with a brief review of the topic currently under discussion. As with the independent class, a key question that indicates the day's discussion topic should be introduced, as well as a related philosophical text. In the integrated class, students
are encouraged to use the philosophical text to deepen their understanding of the primary text/topic.
Example Class: English
Ongoing Text/Discussion: Voltaire's Candide
Lecture Topic: Philosophical optimism
-How does Pangloss use philosophical optimism' to justify some of these events? some of his actions?
- What assumptions is Pangloss making about these events/about the state of the world?
Why should pre-college students study philosophy?
We've compiled here a number of articles that point to the value of studying philosophy at any age.
"Teaching philosophy at school isn’t just good pedagogy – it helps to safeguard society"
"Teaching philosophy to children has been shown to sharpen reasoning and communication skills. Moreover, students who engage in philosophical thinking are better able to grapple with concepts that might otherwise be beyond their grasp. But, according to Emma and Peter Worley of The Philosophy Foundation, a UK-based organisation that specialises in doing philosophy in the classroom, what’s even more important than these cognitive advantages at the individual level are the societal benefits of having a population that thinks critically and coherently. In this instalment of Aeon’s In Sight series, the Worleys describe how, beyond teaching children to ‘think well’, spreading philosophy is a safeguard against the sorts of educational and societal structures that tend towards authoritarian control."
"Teaching kids philosophy makes them smarter in math and English"
"Kids who took the [philosophy] course increased math and reading scores by the equivalent of two extra months of teaching, even though the course was not designed to improve literacy or numeracy. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds saw an even bigger leap in performance: reading skills increased by four months, math by three months, and writing by two months. Teachers also reported a beneficial impact on students’ confidence and ability to listen to others."
"For a Better Society, Teach Philosophy in High Schools"
"Why philosophy? Because the study of philosophy, the “love of wisdom,” creates and nurtures thoughtful minds, minds that can — as Aristotle suggests — entertain a thought without accepting it. With a philosophic worldview, a Republican who despises any tax increase or economic stimulus could at least consider the notion of tax hikes or Keynesian economics. A Democrat facing antithetical ideas could do likewise. Thought rather than anger could become the default response to opposing worldviews."
"Teaching philosophy to children? It's a great idea"
"By setting children on a path of philosophical enquiry early in life, we could offer them irreplaceable gifts: an awareness of life’s moral, aesthetic and political dimensions; the capacity to articulate thoughts clearly and evaluate them honestly; and the confidence to exercise independent judgement and self-correction. What’s more, an early introduction to philosophical dialogue would foster a greater respect for diversity and a deeper empathy for the experiences of others, as well as a crucial understanding of how to use reason to resolve disagreements."
"Why kids — now more than ever — need to learn philosophy. Yes, philosophy."
"K-12 education in America can be the petri dish in which a more promising and enduring approach to living in an increasingly pluralistic society can be cultivated. Experiencing (and, yes, enjoying!) the participatory, communal manner in which philosophers argue their positions will enable our kids to evaluate the myriad issues that come up in social and political life and, to the extent possible, respectfully engage those who disagree with them."
"The Educational Role of Philosophy"
"One senses in Socrates the conviction that philosophy is thinking at its best, and that to educate children is to provoke them to think well, from which it follows that philosophical activity must be central to the educational process."
Instructional Ideas and Resources
"The Big List of Class Discussion Strategies"
"15 formats for structuring a class discussion to make it more engaging, more organized, more equitable, and more academically challenging. If you’ve struggled to find effective ways to develop students’ speaking and listening skills, this is your lucky day."