Today I have been at a ResearchEd event in Oxford focusing on Maths and Science. I’ve been keen to engage with this movement, which aims at improving the research literacy of teachers. That can only be a good thing, especially since Tom Bennett’s initial accompanying rhetoric about ITE institutions not actually being very good at doing or teaching research seems to be softening. I got a complimentary ticket in any case, which I’m pretty pleased about. There was certainly a lively and intelligent atmosphere. I say this even though I offered a philosophical/ ethical presentation (on the use and abuse of certain narratives from the cognitive sciences to improve student motivation) that was rejected by the event’s organisers.

But I’ve expressed my reservations about these events in the past, particularly because the tagline – ‘working out what works’ – seems to take normative educational considerations off the table. I’m not…

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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:

“Yes, well 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…

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