Philosophy for Children boosts children’s progress in literacy and maths

We in Athens are particularly pleased at the recent connections made between ‘philosophy for children’ and children’s success in literacy and maths. Today we spoke directly to the originator of P4C’s method of questioning, Socrates himself:

“I’m pleased because I’ve always thought that my method of questioning could be of use to state policy makers and educators of the young, but I’ve never been able to demonstrate this convincingly. I’ve always been inclined to communicate the value in terms of useless things like discerning the good and working out how best to live one’s life. One education endowment fund project was able to demonstrate that my interventions boosted the development of wisdom by as much as two months, but I don’t think this was publicised very well.

I’m very proud that gains can be demonstrated in mathematics and writing as a result of doing philosophy. This is despite what you might have heard about my views on writing. It’s said that my view is that writing will implant forgetfulness in children’s souls, and that they will cease to exercise memory as a result of it, and that this can only offer a semblance of wisdom, or the conceit of wisdom. In fact, that people who can write will be a burden to their fellows. But this, as you know, was all reported by my student Plato, and as everyone knows, all of my former students are rogues. And you also know that I have always said that you can’t trust anyone who makes a living from philosophy, so don’t listen to him.”

One slave boy we interviewed said: “My teacher just asked me a couple of ‘Socratic’ questions, and I was amazed to discover I already knew all maths.”

Another former student of Socrates, Alcibiades, reported: “Everything I have become is down to Socrates and his philosophical teaching”.

When we asked Socrates about his future plans in light of this success, he informed us that he will be drinking hemlock tomorrow, as his questioning has made him an enemy of the state. He is to be executed on the charge of corrupting the young.

Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain Oxford Branch Events

Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (Oxford branch) – joint seminar programme with the Religion, Philosophy and Education, OUDE:

All seminars start at 5pm and end at 6:30 (OUDE, 15 Norham Gardens).

7 October

The Rt Revd John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford

Reflections on his time as the Church of England’s lead bishop on education


20 October

Professor Gemma Moss, Institute of Education, University of London

Progression, knowledge and assessment in the curriculum: Who’s interested in the sociology of knowledge now?
(Public Seminar)


18 November

Prof Christopher Winch, King’s College, London

How Do We Know that Someone Knows How?


25 November

Dr Daniel Moulin, University of Navarra, Spain

On the nature of antitheism: an exploratory study of anti-Christian prejudice in English secondary schools


2 December

Dr Emma Williams, Philosopher in residence, Rugby School

Thinking beyond the straits of reason