This is a structured session following the P4C (Philosophy for Children) model that is designed to encourage children to engage with philosophical issues and think more critically. The session starts with a short game followed by a stimulus such a as a short story or film clip. The children then discuss possible philosophical questions surrounding the stimulus and vote on which question they would like to discuss. At the end of the discussion everyone is given a chance to say what they think surrounding the issue. Recently, a clip from the film Chicken Run was used. After voting, the children based their discussion around how animals differ from humans and if this means they can be treated differently.
Secondary Schools/sixth Forms
This is Philosophy in the City’s largest school, but we currently only help their A level students. In the first term I went in once a week and hosted classroom sessions with the Year 13s, helping them during lessons or leading seminar-style discussions. This term, we have switched focus to the Year 12s and currently run mentoring sessions once a week. During these the volunteers and I help students largely with essay writing but also content during one-to-one sessions.
Thomas Rotherham Sixth Form
This project involves us going into the college once every week for an hour to work with the A Level students there. We run after school mentoring sessions for the students, working in small groups, typically a couple of AS groups and a couple of A2 groups, dependent on student numbers. It is important that the students find the work we do interesting and useful to their studies, so we ask them what they will find the most helpful to work on week to week and this forms the basis of our sessions. This usually involves going over content from their course and developing their understanding of specific aspects; critiquing arguments; answering essay questions and practicing essay writing techniques.
With this project we work with Year 7 students at the Mercia School. For each session we have a different philosophical stimulus and encourage discussion amongst the students. The aim is to get them thinking critically and freely, with us in the role as facilitators as opposed to leaders.
Oasis Don Valley School
We aim to start this project in the Spring semester. The sessions at this school will have a similar structure to the Mercia school sessions as it is a similar age group and there is no specific curriculum we need to stick to.
We run sessions for young (14 – 18 year olds) homeless people, where we talk about philosophical concepts and have various philosophical debates.
We run sessions for adult homeless people at Sheffield Cathedral, where we talk about philosophical concepts and have various philosophical debates. These sessions take a more interest-led approach as there is no curriculum.
Brantwood Specialist School
This is a new project where we will be going into the Brantwood Specialist School for students who experience autistic spectrum conditions, developmental delay or other complex learning difficulties. We will be running specially designed sessions which aim to improve communication skills (we are working along side a speech and language therapist). These will most likely start with a stimulus, followed by a discussion.