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[Xmca-l] Re: Doing Philosophy with kids



Alfredo, and Kim  -  like you, Alfredo, Kim's work was a pleasure to read.  in part it took me back to the mid-1970's when i used Harry Stottlemeier's Discovery, along with the teacher's guide that Lipman wrote, within the school day to work on problems of philosophy with my class of nine, ten and eleven years old students. (i was teaching in a non-graded elementary school where students were grouped in multi-ages.)

in elementary school every discipline taught is by its very nature multi-disciplinary.  it's just part and parcel of the fluidity of working with children where the daily can become unusual and the unusual become daily.  boundaries are always pressed and reconstituted -  it's for this that so many teachers find teaching so intellectually and emotionally exhausting.  so the questions about discourse being civil or academic or or or or ... can be more easily answered through the lens of Wittgenstein, with his understanding of language as a kind of game bound within contextual rules - and, for example, the anxiety over 'right answers' is an anxiety reflecting uncertainty regarding the rules.

Alfredo, you're so right when you wrote:
"Second, and related to the first, I was thinking that, for things to work out, the community of adult/learners studied must have had already some competences/resources for this to happen. So one could wonder which features of the 'looking for the right answer' culture, or of their everyday schooling, may have also made it possible the new culture to emerge."

much is going to depend upon the teacher.  i've witnessed teachers refuse to teach elementary science that it hands-on experiential based, precisely because the outcomes of the science experiments couldn't always be the "right answer".

Kim, you've already noted that your narrative was limited by the constraints of the article length.  i've no doubt that a great deal of singular student revelations and innovations occurred that you of necessity had to cut out.  

phillip