Phillip Blond / Jonathan Douglas / John White

Part of Philosophy for Children

7-7.50pm | Thursday 23 June 2011
Room EAS171, New Theatre, East Building, LSE

Phillip Blond, Director of ResPublica
Jonathan Douglas, Director of The National Literacy Trust
John White, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Education, Institute of Education, University of London

Maurice Fraser, Senior Fellow in European Politics, LSE

Phillip Blond: Philosophy, in the past, grounded educational practice: dialogue, ethical discernment and debating the ‘common good’ were its primary purposes in both academic and political life. If philosophy is deemed unnecessary for education, is it still possible to form active citizens, social entrepreneurs and a politically engaged society? Reintroducing and implementing a ‘philosophy for children’ in our modern-day schools will be at once a challenging yet incredibly valuable exercise – for both the character formation vital to a child’s development and the needs of the wider community.

Jonathan Douglas: Literacy is not static but changes in response to social, technological and cultural issues which define what skills are required to read, write, speak and listen. Literacy in our society has never been so complex. Neither has it ever been so vital for social inclusion and mobility. Critical literacy skills sit at the heart of contemporary definitions of what it means to be literate.

John White: In our age of local financial management, primary schools may wonder about their competence to decide whether to take on Philosophy for Children, and, if they do, to choose among its now many providers. In the absence of other guides, there is a civic role for philosophers of education in helping schools sort through a tangle of issues in the area, not least about how the aims of different kinds of Philosophy for Children work fit in with the schools’ own aims.