A practical guide to facilitating philosophical conversations with groups (especially in schools) based on philosophical and pedagogical principles derived from the ancient Greek philosophers but supported my modern-day research and pedagogical practices. It divides facilitation up into basic, expert and advanced levels, allowing a teacher to get going with some basic moves and principles allowing for development of facilitation over time. As well as being packed with practical strategies, questioning prompts and methods for developing metacognition and critical thinking in pupils, it also has brand new session plans published nowhere else previously.
Peter Worley is the co-CEO and co-founder of the registered charity The Philosophy Foundation. He is also a Visiting Research Associate at King’s College London and an author of many books on doing philosophy in schools and questioning in classrooms.
A little background
Introduction to PhiE
Part One: Philosophy and dialectic
What is philosophy?
Philosophy as conversation
The 4 ‘R’s
Logos and flux
Ambivalence: Two-eyed thinking
The reason for reason in philosophy
Philo-Sophia and the love of learning
And to the children?
A word about right and wrong answers in philosophy
The origins of dialectic
The dialectical effect: thinking flows like a river
Aspects of Platonic dialectic
Correspondence to PhiE
Two dialectics in Plato’s Parmenides
Aristotle and PhiE
Community of Enquiry
Part Two: Core values of PhiE
Ancient core values of PhiE
Exploration and discovery
An open, questioning mind-set
Friendship: xenia and knowing thyself
Excellence and competition: the paradox of Socrates
Oracy: small ‘d’ and big ‘D’ dialectics
Part Three: pedagogical principles of PhiE
A sensitive method
A descriptive approach
Philosophical maturity: was Plato wrong?
Interest and engagement
The need for conditions
Ideal speech situations
PhiE begins with intuitions
Within and without: is PhiE democratic?
Truth and knowledge
Two keystone principles in PhiE: Absence and Open Questioning Mindset
Absence and Presence
Socrates’ midwifery principle
Open Questioning Mindset
Guess what’s in my head
‘Guess what’s in your head’ and intentional sensitivity
Two aims of PhiE: dialectic and inclusion
Socratic irony and questioning mindsets
About the author
Corrupting Youth is a fresh, dynamic and engaging book, enriched by Peter Worley’s experience in schools and enlivened by his great capacity for story-telling. With this two-volume compendium, Worley introduces the foundational principles of Philosophical Enquiry (PhiE): both theoretical (its roots in Ancient Hellenistic philosophy, especially Socrates and Heraclitus) and practical (the skilled facilitation of dialectical philosophical enquiry). Worley has written a book that is erudite, expansive and warmly encouraging. Accessible to philosophers and teachers alike, it contains so much of value, including the four components of philosophizing (responsive, reflective, reasoned and re-evaluative); the Greek concepts of logos and flux; the eight core values of PhiE, especially dissent, oracy, and friendship; and the session plans. Whatever your current approach to pre-college philosophy education, reading this book will only enhance it.
Worley understands children and their extraordinary power to think. With these books Worley connects and updates the ancient Socratic Dialogue tradition to our digital present, sharing practical tools to work with children as active participants and build their cognitive confidence to express their thinking, so that no child’s thoughts ‘may fall to the ground.’ Evidence of the fruits of Worley’s 20 years of direct work with pupils shines through on every page, bringing Philosophical Enquiry to life. Worley believes all children can achieve great futures and sets us a collective challenge with these books, which we would do well to meet: help children think for themselves, to create themselves and create their best futures.
With a deep commitment to excellence in philosophical thinking and to valuing young people’s thoughts and ideas, Peter Worley presents a method for facilitating philosophical inquiry that is well-defined and rigorous and at the same time fosters collaboration and community. Theoretically rich and filled with practical ideas and techniques, the two-volume Corrupting Youth offers carefully constructed and accessible strategies that will be appreciated by beginning and experienced philosophy instructors alike.
In his important new book, Corrupting Youth, Peter Worley gives a comprehensive account of his PhiE method for practising philosophy for and with children. He traces the method’s core ideas back to Ancient Greek philosophy, provides the approach with a systematic theoretical structure and offers a great deal of useful practical guidance with many engaging examples. Clearly written and tightly organised, it is an excellent contribution to the subject, from which both practitioners and theorists will learn a great deal.