Many people often feel intimidated when hearing the word “Philosophy” and feel doubtful about its usefulness in reality. Even many adults give it up - let alone teens. So, what is the point of learning such a hard subject?
The truth is that Philosophy exists in our daily life, and it comes to children sooner than we think. Children are innately surprised by the whole new world. Their natural curiosity and constant questioning are philosophers’ most important spirits. However, children tend to lose curiosity while being at school. We unintentionally shut the door of children’s endless world and limit their perception.
By studying Philosophy and keeping questioning, teens’ inquisitiveness about the world will continue to grow immensely and their inquiries will lead to all possible answers and evolution that former generations could not achieve. Philosophy also gives students opportunities to think for themselves and nurture a desire to live a meaningful life.
In addition, PHILOSOPHY FOR TEENS (for senior high schools) helps enhance the essential thinking competences that any prestigious university will require from their students in the 21st century: Critical thinking, Creative thinking, Caring thinking, and Collaborative thinking.
An excerpt from the article “Teaching Philosophy to Children? It’s a great idea” by Michelle Sowey will shed light on the usefulness of “Philosophy for Children” subject:
“...Training in various jobs has made me into various kinds of professional, but no training has shaped my humanity as deeply as philosophy has. No other discipline has inspired such wonder about the world, or furnished me with thinking tools so universally applicable to the puzzles that confront us as human beings...
... By setting children on a path of philosophical enquiry early in life, we could offer them irreplaceable gifts: an awareness of life’s moral, aesthetic and political dimensions; the capacity to articulate thoughts clearly and evaluate them honestly; and the confidence to exercise independent judgement and self-correction. What’s more, an early introduction to philosophical dialogue would foster a greater respect for diversity and a deeper empathy for the experiences of others, as well as a crucial understanding of how to use reason to resolve disagreements...
... while academic achievement, career advancement and financial success are no trifling things, they’re simply visible husks that may grow around a philosophical life. The hidden kernel is made of freedom, clarity of thought, and a professional mastery of what it means to be human. These are qualities we should seek for all our children, no matter what they grow up to become...”
(Reference: Teaching philosophy to children? It's a great idea)
We are “doing philosophy”, not “learning philosophy”:
Once students acquire the four philosophical spirits and the four thinking skills, they will be able to:
- Raise significant questions for a meaningful and improved life and carry out a proper procedure to find out the answers
- Think for themselves, give reasonable arguments and present ideas thoughtfully
- Welcome diverse perspectives, extend empathy and collaboratively create alternatives
- Be a free human being and a responsible citizen.
Philosophical topics are selected (but not limited) in the following areas:
- IRED Institute adopts “Philosophy for Children (P4C)” approach founded by Prof. Mathew Lipman at Moinclair State University, United States and practiced around the world. Thanks to this approach, philosophical topics are accessible and fun to children.
- The method is preserved and expanded by The International Council of Philosophical Inquiry with Children (ICPIC), of which IRED is a member. ICPIC has a history of 50 years with nearly 100 members, including the US, UK, Australia, Canada. P4C is recognized by UNESCO as a contribution to the development of global citizens.
“Culture is something that everybody seems to know and understand. Yet if so, why is our society dysfunctional and disordered? It must mean the understanding of the notion of culture is questionable.
Culture helps us define what is right/wrong, true/false, real/fake, good/bad and form a “brake” and an “accelerator” within us. A “brake” will discourage us from doing wrong and an “accelerator” will urge us to do what is right.
A more important question than “What is so much money for?” is “Why do we study so much?”. “Why is Vietnam considered a nation with hardworking people but remain poor?” Does the love for learning mean learning to get good grades or certificates, but rather become a cultured man or an expert in a field?
In my opinion, there are at least three subjects that people should study to understand culture: PHILOSOPHY, HISTORY and RELIGION. These three subjects have long been neglected. They have not been properly taught as knowledge of culture while they are the core of culture. If schools do not teach them in a correct manner, how can students become cultured?”
- Gian Tu Trung
Author of Dung Viec/ In Search of the Truth - A Perspective on Enlightenment of Our Time