Say no to groupthink: how philosophy can transform learning

Why is there such resistance to teaching philosophy in Ireland?

Joe Humphreys          Tues, Nov 19 2013             The Irish Times

If philosophy had been on the curriculum 30 years ago, would we be in the same mess we’re in today? It’s a tantalising thought and the very sort of “what if?” question philosophers love to debate. But it’s being asked with deadly seriousness by an increasing number of educationalists.

“To help children think about what’s important to them, and why, is surely important to their education,” says Prof Joe Dunne who was, until recently, a principal lecturer at St Patrick’s College, Dublin City University. Citing US philosopher Michael Sandel’s idea that “statecraft involves soulcraft”, Dunne says philosophy can help students reflect on the sort of hidden values or “external goods” operating in society.

In a post-primary system where there’s a “fragmentation of subjects”, philosophy also “could get students to think more about knowledge in the round”.



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