Forum: Doing philosophy with children RSS
Universities still complaining...
...about student's lacking skills
Oyvind (Administrator) #1
User title: Children and youth philosopher
Member since Oct 2006 · 74 posts · Location: Eidsvoll, Norway
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Subject: Universities still complaining...
Matthew Lipman—the father of the modern philosophy for children movement and the founder of IAPC (Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children)—is famous for stating that the lack of basic language and thinking competencies in his Columbia University students was what put him on the idea that there was something seriously wrong with the primary and secondary education in the US. That was some 40 years ago. Currently, in our apparently advanced day and age, one should have expected that the quality and aptness of students had improved beyond recognition since the late sixties.

Not so, at least not in Britain. In the Daily Telegraph we can read that, according to a study carried out by ACS International Schools, "teenagers are starting university with little creativity or independent thought because of Government reforms." The article continues: "A culture of "teaching to the test" at school and college has left many students struggling to cope with the demands of degree courses." And: "Most [of the responding Universities in the study] said creativity and the ability to think independently was the most sought-after quality in new undergraduates."

Well, look no further. Drop the sordid test regimes and look to Matthew Lipman and the IAPC. He still has got the answer: philosophical explorations with children within communities of enquiry, communities that teach critical as well as creative thinking. One cannot help but wonder why this obvious route towards the alleviation of the student's constant under-achieving is still not, after 40 years, given the time of day.
Retention of strangeness is the only antidote to estrangement. T. W. Adorno
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