Philosothon Project Newsletter
Number 3 – April 2018
Welcome to the third Philosothon Project newsletter.
A Philosothon is not just a competition between schools. Nor is it just for students who are ‘really, really smart’. The educational agenda behind Philosothons is about helping all young people to think for themselves. What does this mean?
To think for oneself means to be able to question what you have been told and to critique ideas you see and hear. To think for oneself means challenging the views presented to you, in a considered and considerate manner. To think for oneself involves intellectual humility: not only could others be wrong about things, but so too could I. And, it cannot be an isolated activity; rather, it involves building upon the ideas of others, both past and present.
In the tradition of Socrates who taught people to “Know Thyself”, a philosophical thinker should engage in a dialogue with others ideally face to face, in an effort to seek truth and wisdom. You cant do critical thinking alone. Drawing upon the Philosophy in Schools pedagogy of the Community of Inquiry, Philosothons allow dialogue to take place within safe educational spaces that encourage collaborative and caring engagement with others around important philosophical and ethical issues. Philosothons, like the subject of Philosophy itself, deals with course content from all academic disciplines and it is not unusual to find students drawing upon knowledge gleaned from maths, art, science, history, languages, mucic, geography etc. In these ways, a Philosothon encourages participants and whole school communities to develop skills in young people which are foundational, multi-disciplinary and transferable. What is meant here by transferable are skills that can be used in whatever future a young person walks into. Students are encouraged to be collaborative which involves deep listening, responsive contributions and importantly clarifying important issues for the sake of the others in the whole group. This distinguishes a Philosothon from other similar competitions such as a debate. Indeed often students and observers forget they are in a competition.
In Philosothons, there are no pre-prepared answers…no speeches….no single ‘right’ answer. Instead, participants involved in a Community of Inquiry must respond genuinely to the ideas of others that unfold along with the discussion. This involves coming up with creative ways of explaining one’s ideas to a group of their peers, using analogies, metaphors and examples which resonate with the group to further the discussion or take it into new and interesting areas. Students are rewarded for creativity and this requires them to be able to think on their feet!
The art of questioning is foundational to philosophy, and students start the dialogue in a Philosothon by asking their own questions and hopefully end up raising many more interesting questions along the way. Thereby a Philosothon provides a unique but vital input into the educational landscape. It is so much more than just another competition.
The Philosothon Project is co-ordinated by the Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Associations (FAPSA) and is the result of a generous grant provided by the Templeton Religion Trust. Over the next three years a variety of grant opportunities will be made available to schools to help them promote critical, collaborative and creative thinking skills by establishing new Philosothons and participating in existing ones. Other grants will be made available for academics, teachers, and schools (more details may be found on the website). The Philosothon Project prioritises the needs of remote and regional schools and schools in low socio-economic areas. As you will see from the following there is already a great deal happening around the country with over 300 schools participating in Philosothons this year. As we seek to grow and further develop Philosothons across Australasia, we would like to survey all stakeholders so please take a moment to answer a few questions via the link provided. Please note that this survey will be closing at the end of April. Click here to complete a quick survey.
Why not organise a Philosothon for schools near you? There is no better time to do it. Simply fill in an online application form and your school might be selected for a funding grant. Alternatively let us know that you intend to run one and we can assist you in the process.
Contents: 1. 2018 FAPSA Australasian Philosothon
2. New Philosothon Website
3. Revised Grant Recipients
4. Ethics Seminars
5. A list of 2018 Philosothons
This survey fill close at the end of April. If you are a teachers, judge or facilitator that has participated in Philosothons please fill out the survey now. It will take 3 minutes.
1. 2018 F.A.P.S.A. Australasian Philosothon
St Peters College Adelaide
October 2nd (5pm) to the 4th (11 am) 2018
(Please note only qualifying teams are eligible)
Contact: Matthew Wills, Manager of Philosothon Project
We will then supply you with an information and registration form.
2. New Philosothon Website.
Thanks to the grant money from the Templeton Foundation we are now able to afford a new website; Click on the image below.
3. Ethics Seminars in 2018
At this day-long seminar and workshop we will explore ethical theories and see how these theories apply to issues around human rights and responsibilities, animal rights, environmental issues and global justice. We will develop strategies and gather resources to enable students to gain an ethical understanding as they interrogate
issues through such as global warming, sustainable living and socioeconomic disparity. Various ways to foster group inquiry, critical and creative thinking, and co-operative teamwork will be explored.
• How can we teach normative ethical theories i.e Natural Law, Virtue Ethics, Kantian Ethics and Utilitarianism in a way that fosters an ethical understanding in students?
• What do these theories say about human rights issues, animal rights, environmental issues and issues around global justice?
• What is a philosophical community of inquiry and how can this assist students in developing ethical understandings?
• What is an Ethics Olympiad and how can it provide opportunities for students to engage with other students around the world about important ethical issues?
• I need interactive and dynamic resources I can use in the classroom and share with my school colleagues. Can you help?
• What is a Philosothon and how do students develop ethical understandings through involvement?
The seminar will be particularly useful for teachers of English, Civics and Citizenship, Personal Development, Philosophy and Ethics, Gifted and Talented, Curriculum co-ordinators, Chaplains, Religious Education teachers, Principals, Deputy Principals and Curriculum Co-ordinators.
• Gold Coast- Wed 2nd May - A.B Paterson College
• Brisbane- Thurs 3rd May - Churchie
- Townsville- Friday 4th May- St Patrick's College
• Perth - Tues 8th May - St Stephen's School
• Adelaide- Thurs. 10th May - Pembroke School
• Darwin - Friday 11 th May- The Essington International School
• Melbourne- Mon 14th May- Scotch College
• Sydney- Tues 15th May- Mt St Benedict Centre
• Canberra- Thurs 17th May- Radford College
• Hobart- Fri 18th May- Guilford Young College
• Auckland- Mon 21st May - King's College
• Wellington- Wed 23rd May- Sacred Heart College
• Christchurch-Thurs 24th May- St Andrew's College
Seminar Timing: Starts- 9.30 am-Finishes - 3.00 pm
4. Congratulations to the following grant recipients
There are still more grants available so apply here
Regional Philosothon Grants
Newhaven College South East Gippsland Philosothon- Phillip Island- Victoria- Richard Prideaux
Waikato Diocesan School for Girls- Waikato Philosothon New Zealand-Mark Bellham
Kinross Wolaroi School Orange Philosothon New South Wales- Claudia McCalman
St Joseph's College Albany Philosothon Western Australia- Jane Bennett
New Philosothons in cities
Guilford Young College - Tasmania- David Treanor
SA Philosophy in Education Association & Prince Alfred College-South Australia- Lorelei Siegloff
Radford College & SOPHY - Australian Capital Territory- Bill Weigall
Nambucca Heads High School New South Wales- Amanda Taylor
Teacher training Subsidy
Georgiana Molloy Anglican School Western Australia- Bradley Taylor
Golden Grove High School South Australia- Sue Lyons
St Josephs High School Albany Western Australia- Jane Bennett
Young High School New South Wales- Elizabeth Myburgh
St Josephs College Albany Western Australia- Caroline Thompkin
Georgiana Mollow Anglican School Western Australia- Rachel Cook
Over the next three years FAPSA will make available grants for schools and others to set up or participate in Philosothons. Studies have shown that students participating in a philosophical community of inquiry improve on a variety of academic and social measures. If you would like to make this available to your school community click one of the grant links or contact the Philosothon project office.
In 2018 the following schools and universities will be hosting Philosothons;
- Perth Philosothon - Hale hosted the first Philosothon back in 2007. Trinity College is now hosting the Perth Philosothon. Contact Donette Firkins- firstname.lastname@example.org
- South West - Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School- Oct 29th Contact Person - Jane Kirkham- email@example.com
- North West- St Lukes College Philosothon- Karratha - Contact Person Donna Clifford firstname.lastname@example.org
- Albany - St Josephs College- Contact Person Jane.Bennett@cewa.edu.au
- Western Australian Primary School Philosothon The first WA Primary School Philosothon was held in 2013.
New South Wales
- Sydney - St Andrews Cathedral School in Sydney is currently has hosting the Sydney Philosothon. Currently 22 schools are involved in the Sydney Philosothon- Contact Jonathan Hall - JHall@sacs.nsw.edu.au
- Northern NSW Bishop Druitt College in Northern Coffs Harbour will host their second Philosothon in 2013. Contact Sue Paff Bishop Druitt College email@example.com
- Central NSW, Orange- Kinross Wolaroi School Contact person Claudia McCalman Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Melbourne- Victorian Secondary School Philosothons- 15th October 2013 Contact the Education Officer for the Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools (VAPS) email@example.com
- Melbourne -Victorian Primary School Philosothons-The Federation for Australasian Philosophy in Schools Associations are hosting the first Primary School Philosothon in 2012. Contact Rosemary Etherton Rosemary.Etherton@ngv.vic.gov.au Janette Poultonfirstname.lastname@example.org
- Melbourne -Victorian Middle Years Philosothon The first Victorian Middle years Philosothon was held in 2016. Contact the VAPS office if you are interested. Click here
- Philip Island- Newhaven College- Contact person Richard Prideaux - Email: email@example.com
- Brisbane - Since 2014 the Brisbane Senior School Philosothon has been held at the University of Queensland- Contact- Peter Ellerton- firstname.lastname@example.org
- Brisbane- Cavandish High School In 2014 Cavandish HS hosted a Philosothon for Year 7 students.Contact Adam Kuss at; email@example.com
- Adelaide- Prince Alfred College will host the first South Australian Philosothon in 2017. Contact Matthew Wills if you would like to know more at; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hobart- Tasmanian High Schools & Colleges Philosothon The first TAS High School & College Philosothon was held in 2013 Contact Dr David Treanor. DTreanor@gyc.tas.edu.au
Click here if you are not currently registered and would like to participate in a Philosothon.
Click here if you would like to host a Philosothon.
2018 FAPSA Conference
The Future of Philosophy in Schools
What was once called Philosophy for/with Children (P4C), now known as Philosophy in Schools incorporates philosophical inquiry in the classroom, reflective education and Socratic dialogue through the use of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) methodology.
The biennial FAPSA Conference will be held in beautiful, historic Fremantle, Western Australia at The University of Notre Dame Australia July 9 - 11, 2018.
The Conference theme asks: What is the Future of Philosophy in Schools?
Practitioner Expert Peter Worley CEO & Co-founder The Philosophy Foundation (UK) will demonstrate best practice alongside other facilitators of P4C for early childhood, primary and high school aged students. Peter will run a PD session with teachers at a one-day In Action Day held at Hale school on Monday 9 July 2018.
Professor Michael Hand is Professor of Philosophy of Education at the University of Birmingham (UK). He works in the areas of moral, political, religious and philosophical education. His books include A Theory of Moral Education (Routledge, 2017), Patriotism in Schools (Wiley, 2011), Philosophy in Schools (Bloomsbury, 2008) and Is Religious Education Possible? (Bloomsbury, 2006).
Professor Sandra Lynch is Director of the Institute for Ethics and Society and Professor of Philosophy at The University of Notre Dame Australia (Sydney Campus). Sandy is a moral philosopher, with expertise in applied and professional ethics, ethics and values education, the constitution of the self, friendship, critical thinking, and the intersection of philosophy and literature
CFPs: Email 600-800 word abstracts for 25 min papers, 50 minute symposiums or 1hr workshops stating author(s), affiliation(s) and short bios to Dr Laura D’Olimpio, conference convener, on email@example.com by Monday 29 January 2018. Website: http://fapsa.org.au/
Conference Registration Fees:
FULL non-members: $300 (Tues & Wed, UNDA Campus)
FULL members: $250
FULL students / unwaged: $150
One Day waged: $160 (Tues OR Wed, UNDA Campus)
students / unwaged: $80
In Action Day (Mon 9 July, 2018, Hale School, Wembley Downs)
One set fee (covers cost of refreshments and lunch): $25
Authors of accepted conference papers are invited to submit their completed papers for review to FAPSA’s official journal, the Journal of Philosophy in Schools (JPS) ISSN 2204-2482 http://www.ojs.unisa.edu.au/index.php/jps/index which will publish a special conference issue: Vol 6 Issue 1 April/May 2019. The journal welcomes submissions which interrogate theoretical and conceptual understandings as well as those which draw on original empirical research within the field. Queries may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Project co-ordinator Mr Matthew Wills (e) email@example.com | Ph: +61 (0)400 029 660 | FAPSA Website: http://fapsa.org.au/ This project was made possible through the support of a grant from Templeton Religion Trust. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Templeton Religion Trust.