A Little Bit of Philosophy Really Does Make You Smart
This is a follow up from a post in February of this year – A little bit of philosophy makes you smart… – about the effect of teaching primary school children thinking skills.
I noticed, via a TED post, that the BPS research blog has referenced a follow up study on Topping’s research. Testing the group of children two years after the initial study. The benefits of the teaching had persisted. So, a little bit of philosophy really does make you smart(er), or rather, you can be taught to think. I just hope it isn’t too late for an adult geek like me, and that the government enables schools to act on these findings. I still have my ‘introduction to philosophy’ book to hand (Philosophy: The Basics). Something to study in the new year.
UK teachers do a great job, but a radical shake up of the curriculum is required, given the changes that have happened in technology and society. We have to learn to learn, rather than just learning. We also need critical thinking skills to separate fact from opinion, in the age of micro publishing.
The community based approach to enquiry used in Philosophy for Children (P4C) scheme reminds me of how the blogosphere can work, at its best. Complex questions that can’t be answered by one individual or one discipline can be answered by the community’s skills. I wonder what it would have been like if Socrates had had access to today’s technologies. I bet his blog and comments feed would have been a cracking read!
Learning to think? Now there’s a concept. They seem to be doing more of this stuff in schools. Certainly didn’t get anything think like this when I was learning computing though.
To me, one of the biggest down sides of the national curriculum is the way it has encouraged ‘teaching to test’ rather than ‘teaching to think and learn’. Hopefully the powers that be are starting to put this right.
Teaching HOW to think is really overlooked. A clear example is in India, where rote memorization is the norm. I love India, but the education methods have left a sad imprint on the minds of those who have been subject to its whims.
HOW to think is of course distinct from WHAT to think. Someone with trained thinking skills will be taught discrimination, so that they may effectively choose what to think, and how to evaluate what they are exposed to.
@ReddyK, very interesting to hear that. I’m not familiar with the education systems in many other countries. I have heard some similar comments about China and Japan. The progression to ‘what’ to think is an interesting one. The whole area of internal dialogue must have a huge impact on how effective we are in daily life. I’d like to hear more!
[…] unhappy children in the developed world. So why don’t the government let schools focus on teaching children thinking and learning skills instead? Perhaps a well educated population would be far too dangerous for the average politician. What […]