Philosothon Project Newsletter
Number 10 – November 2019
The 2019 Australasian Philosothon was an enormous achievement for all involved and marked major changes in the future of the project. This was held at Radford College. At the end of a local or regional Philosothon the comments from teachers and university academics are often heard…”It is hard to believe that young people are capable of such profound wise thoughts”, “The students are so clear and articulate in these Communities of Inquiry” and ”The world is in good hands if these young people are its future!” Multiply this by 5 at the Australasian Philosothon. During the COIs the participating students inspired each other, challenged each other and listened carefully to each other while dealing with incredibly vexing issues. We have included below a report on the event.
Throughout 2019 we have been developing and testing software to assist schools in running Philosothons. More information on how schools can acquire this software is contained in this newsletter. This software can be utilized within a school community, in your local community or in a city or even at a national or international level.
Regional Philosothons have been held throughout Australasia over the part 12 months and here we focus on two recent events, the SA Philosothons at Prince Alfred College and the SW WA Philosothon hosted by Georgiana Molloy College.  
We are looking for a Melbourne school to host the 2020 Victorian Philosothon. In fact we have funding available for regional and remote schools to establish a Philosothons in New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and other regional and remote parts of Australasia.
As we enter the final phase of the grant we want to thank those who have supported the grant to date.
warm regards
Matthew (Philosothon Project Manager)
         We still have grants available for primary and secondary teachers/tertiary lecturers/ Phd Students and Schools.
                1. 2019 Australasian Philosothon
                2. New Software available
                3. 2020 Victorian Philosothon
                4. Northern Territory Philosothon Project
                5. Applications for grants 2020 -Now Open
                6. Report from the SW WA Philosothon
                7. The 2019 SA Philosothon
                8. Revised List of Grant Recipients
1. 2019 Australasian Philosothon at Radford College
The 2019 Australasian Philosothon was an enormous achievement for all involved and marked major changes in the future of the project.
Over 190 students, teachers and university-based academics attended the 9th annual Australasian Philosothon at Radford College. We heard from some amazing speakers but one of the highlights of the Philosothon was a presentation by Chris Lawless on the final day. He spoke on the topic of “Why Philosophy”. The fact that he received a minute-long standing ovation from everyone including many adolescents is an indication of the profound effect of his presentation.
Nevertheless, the highlight of the Philosothon was again the Philosophical Communities of Inquiry (COI's). (pictured here) Eight times eight, 64 in total over a period of 24 hours. At the end of a local or regional Philosothon the comments from teachers and university academics are often heard…”It is hard to believe that young people are capable of such profound wise thoughts”, “The students are so clear and articulate in these Communities of Inquiry” and ”The world is in good hands if these young people are its future!” Multiply this by 5 at the Australasian Philosothon. During the COIs the participating students inspired each other, challenged each other and listened carefully to each other while dealing with incredibly vexing issues and questions such as: "There is no such thing as digital death. Can the internet help us live forever" and "Is free will just an illusion?" Here is a link to the resource website for the event;…/2019Home.html
The results were;
-First Place- North Sydney Girls High School NSW
-Second Place- St Andrews Cathedral Grammar School NSW
-Third place-Narrabunda College and Telopea Park High School ACT
-Fourth Place- St Peters Girls School SA
This year there were major changes to the Australasian Philosothon largely born from the fact that we are searching for the best way to include many more schools given the popularity of the event in recent years. At the 2019 Australasian Philosothon we provided everyone with more down-time between COIs. On the first day we provided the younger students with an opportunity to observe the older, more experienced students and we spread the assessed COIs across 24 hours instead of 6 hours as was the case previously. Between each assessed COI students had a break. While some COIs were open to other students to observe, two of the four COIs were closed to observers apart from organising teachers.
Another major change has been the introduction of Philosothon software. This software will have many beneficial consequences to help with the efficient running of Philosothons. It offers a quick easy way to gather information in the lead up to the event, , it offers a communication hub, it helps process information during the event and, it provides a comprehensive report to each participating school after the event.
Other speakers included Michael Walsh who challenged us to consider a new approach to Critical Thinking, Dr Jen Glaser shared a vision inspired by the philosophy of Hannah Arendt which takes seriously the relationship between politics and accountability. And the Head judge Professor Stephan Millet spoke eloquently about the power of a Philosophical Community of Inquiry backing it up with hard data, proving it is a vitally important and effective pedagogy for the 21st century.
Overall, I am incredibly proud of where the event has come over a relatively short time. Not just the number of schools now involved but the variety of schools involved, State schools, Catholic schools and private schools in a growing number of states. Here is a link to the schools involved; Canberra Girls Grammar ACT, Cavenish Rd State High School QLD, Churchie QLD, Georgiana Molloy Anglican School WA, Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School NSW, Mac Robertson High School VIC, Merici College ACT, Meriden NSW, MLC WA, Narrabundah ACT, Nth Sydney Girls High School NSW, PAC SA, Radford College ACT, Scotch College WA, Seymour College SA, St Andrews Cathedral School NSW, St Marks ACS WA, St Patrick's College NSW, St Peters Girls School SA, Telopea Park School ACT
We thank FAPSA for its support over the last eight years. It appears most likely that the event will be finding a new and exciting institutional home next year. This coincides with a new Philosothon project which will continue to grow and develop Philosothons into the future.
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2. Software available for schools to use.
Over the past few years we have been developing software for schools and universities to use while running Philosothons. At this stage the software has been successfully trialled with regional Philosothons and at the Australasian Philosothon. We are now in a position to offer schools the option of purchasing the Philosothon software which will come with PD in how to use it. If you would like to purchase a licence, then click on this link and fill in your details. We have reduced the price of the licence for schools etc. that are already running Philosothons or schools yet to run their first Philosothon where they are receiving grant support. The software licence will be $280 and this will include two hour long PD sessions and Tech support. We found that this software significantly reduced the admin involved, provided a forum for communication and reporting. The first session will involve Matthew Wills guiding you through the process of setting up a Philosothon using the new software. This will also be useful for organisations already running Philosothon. There is no requirement having purchased the software for you to proceed with conducting a Philosothon.
We are running some free PD on how to use this software on the 26th November via ZOOM. Contact the Office if you are interested in attending.
3. Victorian Philosothon- We are looking for a school in Melbourne to host the Victorian Philosothon in 2020. VAPs has up until now done a wonderful job hosting the Victorian Philosothon at Ballarat Grammar for most of the past 7 years and then more recently at Wesley College. Victoria has been for many years the premier state when it comes to the number of secondary students studying Philosophy. We would like to find a school that shares our vision for an event that will inspire students to study Philosophy, providing a forum for students to engage in Philosophical communities of inquiry with likeminded students. This event will be the entry point for the Australasian Philosothon. Qualifying schools will be invited each year to participate in the Australasian Philosothon.   Ideally the school will be central and it will have facilities to alter for the participating schools. We will be running a training session for interested people November 26th if you are interested to find out more. Contact the Philosothon project manager, Matthew Wills to find out more;
4. Northern Territory Philosothon Project
Planning continues for the first NT Philosothon at the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory (MAGNT). The event will be called the "Between the Moon and the Stars Philosothon". This event offers middle School students an important opportunity for students to engage in COI's and for teachers to receive training in preparation for the event. Dr Nic Bullot at Charles Darwin University wrote;
"Philosophy for Children (P4C) is now taught in all Australian jurisdictions except the NT and meets national curriculum requirements for learning outcomes in the areas of critical thinking, analysis and clarity of expression. It is geared to encourage students to identify bad arguments, to be able to follow and expand upon sound arguments and to develop the self-confidence to participate in personal and public discussions of complex issues without recourse to verbal abuse, intimidation or ad hominem arguments. Research has shown that the development of these critical thinking skills often flows through into learning outcomes in other school subjects as diverse as English expression, Mathematics and the physical sciences. Amongst students from disadvantaged backgrounds, the P4C program has also seen significant improvements in student attendance rates and aspiration levels across genders and cultural divides.” 
5. SW WA Philosothon
On Wednesday 23rd October Georgiana Molloy Anglican School (GMAS) hosted the South West Philosothon.  This was the first time the event was held at GMAS and it was a great success. The students were excellent in both their conduct and engagement and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening. We would like to say a huge thank you to the judges, facilitators, and teachers whose efforts make the South West Philosothon possible. 
The results from the competition were:
1st Place – Bunbury Catholic College
2nd Place – Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School
3rd Place – Georgiana Molloy Anglican School
7.The 2019 SA Philosothon
On Tuesday 29th October 20 schools met in the Piper Pavilion at Prince Alfred College for an evening of Philosophical discourse dealing with Big Bang Cosmology and the Existence of God, Aesthetics, the problem of consciousness and the problem of indication. Students from year8 to Year 11 participated in the event. Judges came from each of the major universities and the Head Judge was Dr Antony Eagle from Adelaide University. The most promising Philosopher award was renamed the Sue Knight award for the most promising Philosopher” This was to honour the work of Dr Knight over many years.  Dr  Knight has for many years promoted Philosophy with young people throughout Australia. She has worked with teacher-educators, practicing teachers and principals, as well as pre-service teachers and doctoral students, to embed Philosophy in the Learning Areas at both Primary/Junior Primary and Secondary levels of schooling. She was involved in writing S.A.'s Senior Secondary Philosophy curriculum, and served as inaugural Chair of the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia's Philosophy Subject Advisory Committee. In 2010 she was appointed chief evaluator of the NSW Ethics Course Trial. At the end of the evening the trophy went to St Ignatius College, with St Peters Girls School coming second and Seymour College coming third. The Sue Knight Most Promising Philosopher prize went to Emile Williams and Silas Hansch-Maher.
Year 8 first prize went to Devika Mukherjee from Wilderness
Year 9 first prize went to Nicholas Koh from St Peters College
Year 10 first prize went to Holly Wallman-Craddock from St Peters Girls School
Year 11 first prize went to Silas Hansch-Maher from St Ignatius College.
Next year the 2020 SA Philosothon will be held at Seymour College. A hearty thanks to Prince Alfred College for hosting the fit three years of the SA Philosothon.
Congratulations to the following grant recipients
There are still more grants available so apply here
Regional Philosothon Grants

Yooie Choi- Kinross Wolaroi School Orange Philosothon NSW

Richard Prideaux- Newhaven College South East Gippsland Philosothon-
          Phillip Island- Victoria

Mark Bellham - Waikato Diocesan School for Girls- Waikato Philosothon New Zealand

Jane Bennett - St Joseph's College Albany Philosothon Western Australia

Mandi Randell - Central West Leadership Academy NSW

Amanda Kelk- Bundaberg Christian College Qld

Alison Freeman - Geographe Primary School WA

Catherine Boydell - The Armidale School NSW

Michelle Rocca - Mornington Secondary College VIC

Northern Territory Grants

Jane Dwan- Alyangula Area School Groote Island- N.T.

Kaye Liedke- Umbakumba School  Groote Island- N.T.

New Philosothons in cities

David Treanor- Guilford Young College- Tasmania

Mark Foy- Prince Alfred College-Adelaide South Australia

Bill Weigall - Radford College & SOPHY - Australian Capital Territory

Travel Subsidy

Amanda Taylor- Nambucca Heads High School  NSW

Jane Kirkham- Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School WA

Jane Dwan- Alyangula Area School  NT

Andrew Rogers St Marks ACS - WA

Brad Taylor Georgiana Molloy Anglican School  WA

Teacher training Subsidy

Bradley Taylor - Georgiana Molloy Anglican School WA

Sue Lyons - Golden Grove High School SA

Jane Bennett- St Josephs College Albany WA

Elizabeth Myburgh - Young High School NSW

Caroline Thompkin- St Josephs College Albany WA

Rachel Cook - Georgiana Molloy Anglican School WA

Yooie Choi - Kinross Walaroi School NSW

Judges Subsidies

Elizabeth Myburgh- Young High School NSW

Ben Kilby- Moonee Ponds West Primary School VIC

Catherine Boydell The Armidale School NSW

Ines Hipolito- Woolongong University NSW

Youie Choi- Kinross Wolaroi School NSW

Michelle Rocca - Mornington Secondary College VIC

Phd Training Subsidy

Jane Weiling Loo - Sydney University NSW

James McGuire 
Monash University VIC

Antonia Smyth 
- Melbourne University VIC

Timothy Nailer - Adelaide University SA

Richard Phan University of Melbourne  VIC

Carley Tonoli
 - University of Melbourne VIC

Timothy John Neal - Deakin University VIC

Caitlyn Lesiuk - Deakin University VIC
Catherine Anne Brockman Haines NSW

Resource Development Grants

Robert Neurath NSW
         Students benefited from discussing philosophical issues with a wide range of students from different backgrounds to their own.
Anonymous Feedback from 2018 Australasian Philosothon
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We invite you to consider applying for one of the grants listed below. You might wish to take advise from us going forward or we are happy to provide the funding and then watch as you create something uniquie to your school. These are some of the grants available.
This means we offer funding packages and assistance to establish your school as a hub for the development of critical thinking skills. Philosothons are now an well established mechanism for schools to take seriously this aspect of the curriculum helping thier students develop critical thinking skills, collaboration skills and creative reasoning. This inittiave is supported by academics thoughtout Australia in both the tertiary sector, and the school sector as well as many that are passionate about this area.

New Regional Philosothons: Subsidies are available for schools to help regional and remote schools cover the costs associated with starting up their own local Philosothon. This will involve other schools in their area. Click here for an application form.

New Philosothons will be supported in cities that do not currently have one, including the New Zealand, the Northern Territory, Singapore and Hong Kong. Click here for an application form

Northern Territory Grant applications- These are travel grants to enable teachers to participate in professional development opportunities related to the Philosothon Project. Some priority will be given to indigenous teachers and or teachers of indigenous students. Please fill in the online application form and we notify you ASAP if your application was successful. Click here to apply.

Travel & Participation subsidies: Subsidies will be provided to assist students/staff who might not otherwise be able to participate in a Philosothon. This might be because they live in remote locations or
because the school is dealing with students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Click here for an application form.

Judges/facilitators subsidy- Money is available to schools to pay judges/facilitators an Honorarium to cover travel costs etc. Click here for an application form

Teacher training subsidy- Money is available to schools to pay judges /facilitators an Honorarium to cover travel costs etc. Click here for an application form

Training for Phd Students: Training and professional development will be organised to allow students to be trained in the Community of Inquiry pedagogy which, in turn, enables them to act as facilitators in Philosothons. Click here for an application form

Resource development: Teachers and academics will be recruited to consult on and develop age appropriate resources to be used as stimulus material for Philosothons. A website will be developed to house these resources and enable access for all participants. Click here for an application form.

FAPSA is an umbrella organisation which seeks to enrich and expand philosophy education in primary and secondary schools in Australasia. It supports the interests of its nine affiliated Associations through professional development and advocacy initiatives, has an official open access journal, Journal of Philosophy in Schools, and holds a biennial conference. Contact: Project co-ordinator Mr Matthew Wills (e) | Ph: +61 (0)400 029 660 |FAPSA Website:

Click here for previous newsletters
Over three FAPSA have 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.years.
Contact: Project co-ordinator Mr Matthew Wills (e) | Ph: +61 (0)400 029 660 | FAPSA Website: 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.