Filozofia dla dzieci Wywiady

Philosophy with children (P4C) past, present and future [wersja angielska, rozszerzona]

Krzywoń Gregory filozofia z dziećmi
Po lewej Maughn Rollins Gregory, po prawej Łukasz Krzywoń
Łukasz Krzywoń talks with Maughn Rollins Gregory, successor of Matthew Lipman at Montclair State University.

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Tell us in a nut­shell what you are cur­rent­ly doing?

I am a pro­fes­sor of the fac­ul­ty of Edu­ca­tion­al Foun­da­tions at Mont­clair State Uni­ver­si­ty. I teach class­es in phi­los­o­phy of edu­ca­tion, gen­der issues in edu­ca­tion, edu­ca­tion and democ­ra­cy, and the ethics and pol­i­tics of edu­ca­tion­al assess­ment. I also con­duct research in these areas and I am the Direc­tor of the IAPC (Insti­tute for the Advance­ment of Phi­los­o­phy for Chil­dren).

Is this the role you took after Matthew Lip­man?

Exact­ly, since he retired in 2001. I start­ed work­ing at the uni­ver­si­ty in 1997, but at the begin­ning I was not per­mit­ted to work direct­ly in phi­los­o­phy for chil­dren, because I was hired for oth­er tasks. It was a few years before I was able to work close­ly with Mat Lip­man and Ann Mar­garet Sharp at the Insti­tute, and then in 2001 I became direc­tor.

Why did you become inter­est­ed in phi­los­o­phy for chil­dren?

Since I was young I had many ques­tions about life—mostly about the Mor­mon reli­gion in which I was raised—and my moth­er, who is devout but also a ques­tion­er and a seek­er, encour­aged my ques­tions and enjoyed dis­cussing ideas with me. Some­times, when we found our­selves deep in a the­o­log­i­cal per­plex­i­ty, she would pick up the tele­phone and call a reli­gious author­i­ty to get some guid­ance. She was also a school­teacher, and I spent many sum­mer after­noons with her, prepar­ing her class­room for the new school year and talk­ing about what and how she would be teach­ing. When I began to study phi­los­o­phy in col­lege, I rec­og­nized that I had been doing phi­los­o­phy with my moth­er for many years. In those years, I often shared with my moth­er what I was read­ing or dis­cussing in my phi­los­o­phy cours­es and then dis­cuss it fur­ther with her. While I was an under­grad­u­ate phi­los­o­phy stu­dent my moth­er found an arti­cle about phi­los­o­phy for chil­dren (P4C) in an edu­ca­tion mag­a­zine and shared it with me. The descrip­tion made the pro­gram seem con­gru­ent with the best of the sem­i­nar-style phi­los­o­phy cours­es I had tak­en and with the Socrat­ic dis­cus­sions my moth­er con­duct­ed in her own class­room. After my under­grad­u­ate degree I took a detour from phi­los­o­phy into law, which was excel­lent train­ing for me, but I missed phi­los­o­phy. After law school I clerked for a coun­ty judge for a few years, after which I decid­ed to take a break from law to get a mas­ters degree in phi­los­o­phy. I went to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hawaii, where I could study com­par­a­tive Asian and west­ern phi­los­o­phy, and where they had a strong phi­los­o­phy for chil­dren pro­gram direct­ed by Dr. Thomas E. Jack­son. I stud­ied San­skrit, Bud­dhist and Hin­du phi­los­o­phy, had won­der­ful sem­i­nars on medieval phi­los­o­phy, aes­thet­ics, and Kant, and fell in love with phi­los­o­phy for chil­dren.

Sure­ly you remem­ber Lip­man and Sharp well. What was it like to be a mem­ber of their team?

I met Mat Lip­man and Ann Sharp in Mex­i­co City, where I was study­ing for a PhD in Phi­los­o­phy with a spe­cial­iza­tion in phi­los­o­phy for children—the first pro­gram of that kind—at the Jesuit, Uni­ver­si­dad Iberoamer­i­cana. Wal­ter Kohan, Ji-Aeh Lee, Chris­tine Gehrett, Gilbert Tal­bot, and Eduar­do Rubio were in the doc­tor­al cohort with me, and Tere­sa de la Garza was the pro­gram direc­tor. Mat and Ann were two of the pro­fes­sors who flew in from around the world to teach cours­es and advise stu­dents. A job came up at Mont­clair State Uni­ver­si­ty while I was writ­ing my dis­ser­ta­tion, and know­ing that was where P4C began and that I want­ed to be part of it, I applied.

It was an hon­or to work close­ly with Mat and Ann while they were both very active. David Kennedy and Mark Wein­stein are also in the depart­ment. The Uni­ver­si­ty had mas­ters degree pro­grams in Crit­i­cal Think­ing and Phi­los­o­phy for Chil­dren, and while I was there we cre­at­ed a doc­tor­al pro­gram in ped­a­gogy with a spe­cial­iza­tion in phi­los­o­phy for chil­dren. We ran the IAPC work­shops at Mend­ham twice a year for two weeks each time, and we had (and still have) a num­ber of inter­na­tion­al vis­it­ing schol­ars study with us for weeks or months at a time. The IAPC pub­lished the jour­nal Think­ing (Kennedy even­tu­al­ly took over as chief edi­tor in place of Lip­man). We were all doing our own research, on phi­los­o­phy of edu­ca­tion as well as phi­los­o­phy for chil­dren. And we worked with a small num­ber of local schools, bring­ing grad­u­ate stu­dents in to do phi­los­o­phy with chil­dren and to work with teach­ers in learn­ing how to do that. In the years that I was at the IAPC, Mat didn’t trav­el a lot but Ann was con­stant­ly on the move, all over the world. I was able to trav­el with her a num­ber of times, speak­ing at aca­d­e­m­ic con­fer­ences and con­duct­ing P4C work­shops.

What was the dynam­ics of work between Lip­man and Sharp? It often hap­pens that one side sup­ports the oth­er in what it is stronger. How was it in their case? Who did what in this duet?

This is an inter­est­ing ques­tion. I recent­ly pub­lished a book with Megan Laver­ty on Ann’s schol­ar­ship, for which we researched her per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al life. Ann died before she man­aged to pub­lish her own book based on all the arti­cles and book chap­ters she had writ­ten. She was very gen­er­ous and shared her texts at con­fer­ences so that they could be print­ed in local jour­nals. So her work was spread all over the world, in dif­fer­ent lan­guages. Much of it is dif­fi­cult to find, because her arti­cles did not always appear in main­stream philo­soph­i­cal or edu­ca­tion­al jour­nals. Our work con­sist­ed in find­ing many of these texts and trans­lat­ing them. We also invit­ed con­tem­po­rary schol­ars to write crit­i­cal eval­u­a­tions of her work. Anoth­er rea­son we put this book togeth­er has to do with the dynam­ic between her and Mat. Mat pub­lished much more than Ann, who spent so much time deal­ing with the dis­sem­i­na­tion of the method, con­duct­ing work­shops, direct­ing the degree pro­grams at Mont­clair, and help­ing var­i­ous peo­ple start their own P4C pro­grams all over the world. In fact, since the book came out, many peo­ple have expressed sur­prise that Ann Sharp had writ­ten as much as she had (only a frac­tion of which was col­lect­ed in the book). Mat was the offi­cial direc­tor of the IAPC, but he and Ann dis­cussed every aspect of the Institute’s work togeth­er and made most admin­is­tra­tive deci­sions togeth­er.

So she was involved in “apos­tolic” work?

Exact­ly. Mat wrote his philo­soph­i­cal nov­els for chil­dren alone, but the teacher man­u­als for their use were writ­ten along with oth­ers, main­ly Ann. Lat­er, she also wrote her own nov­els for chil­dren. Also, Mat usu­al­ly only taught one or two cours­es a year for Mont­clair, but Ann typ­i­cal­ly taught two or three per semes­ter. That’s around 100 stu­dents a year, to assess and over­see their progress.

You’ve been in the P4C envi­ron­ment for two decades. We meet in Europe, where things have start­ed to live their lives. What has changed over the years? This was the sub­ject of many con­ver­sa­tions dur­ing this year’s SOPHIA meet­ing. What is your reflec­tion?

It’s an inter­est­ing top­ic. Recent­ly I’ve been research­ing the his­to­ry of the move­ment. It is inter­est­ing how the under­stand­ing of children’s philo­soph­i­cal prac­tice has changed over the years. For exam­ple, Lip­man and Sharp’s first book explain­ing phi­los­o­phy for chil­dren did not con­tain any men­tion of the com­mu­ni­ty of inquiry, for which they lat­er became so famous. Anoth­er exam­ple is how Mat’s the­o­ry of think­ing evolved. His first edi­tion of Think­ing in Edu­ca­tion was only on crit­i­cal and cre­ative think­ing, which he described as “high­er-order think­ing.” Lat­er, he and Ann he devel­oped the idea of car­ing think­ing. I think the way that the the­o­ry of P4C devel­oped at the IAPC in con­junc­tion with the prac­tice of doing phi­los­o­phy in schools, with giv­ing so many work­shops for teach­ers and philoso­phers, and with exchang­ing ideas with col­leagues from so many parts of the world, is impor­tant. I believe the strength, rich­ness and longevi­ty of the IAPC approach to P4C is a result of this mul­ti­fac­eted devel­op­ment. It was nei­ther a case of devel­op­ing the­o­ry first and then sim­ply apply­ing it, or of devel­op­ing a prac­tice and then the­o­riz­ing about it. Each of those aspects informed the oth­er. And the geo­graph­i­cal, cul­tur­al, philo­soph­i­cal, dis­ci­pli­nary, and age diver­si­ty of peo­ple involved in the work pro­vid­ed a nec­es­sary depth. In one of the last talks Ann gave before her death, she empha­sized the need for P4C to remain cur­rent by con­tin­u­al­ly learn­ing from and con­tribut­ing to new devel­op­ments in phi­los­o­phy, edu­ca­tion, and social move­ments. Not that this devel­op­ment has been smooth, by any means! I’ve seen and tak­en part in quite a few heat­ed dis­agree­ments about the mate­ri­als, meth­ods, and ground­ing the­o­ries of just the IAPC approach to P4C! To say noth­ing of what is now a glob­al phe­nom­e­non of brand­ing of dif­fer­ent approach­es.

And what has changed since Lip­man and Sharp are gone?

At the IAPC we have been pay­ing more atten­tion to the so-called “Arc of Inquiry”—the tra­jec­to­ry from a prob­lem or ques­tion, through var­i­ous avenues of gen­er­at­ing and test­ing pos­si­ble respons­es, toward nar­row­ing down on what is most rea­son­able or mean­ing­ful or sat­is­fy­ing. This under­stand­ing of inquiry as some­thing that begins in prob­lem­at­ic expe­ri­ence and aims for improved expe­ri­ence orig­i­nates in prag­ma­tism, of course, but the IAPC approach to philo­soph­i­cal dia­logue doesn’t depend on any­one being a prag­ma­tist! But this is the way we now con­duct our work­shops. This is not a big change, but it is a kind of an evo­lu­tion of the Lipman/Sharp method.

And in prac­tice, the func­tion­ing of uni­ver­si­ties in the US has also changed, which are more and more sim­i­lar to the cor­po­rate and busi­ness mod­el. The gov­ern­ment is less and less sup­port­ing high­er edu­ca­tion, includ­ing our uni­ver­si­ty, so pro­grams and fac­ul­ties like ours have to find the mon­ey to sup­port our­selves. In the past, the IAPC had four full-time employ­ees and three per­ma­nent lec­tur­ers, who were able to release part of their work­ing hours to the Insti­tute. That’s very much in the past. We used to have a whole build­ing, which was lat­er reduced to a suite of offices, and then to part of a stor­age room. In addi­tion, there are changes in the edu­ca­tion sys­tem at every lev­el that work against doing phi­los­o­phy in schools the way we con­ceive it: a high-account­abil­i­ty mod­el, stan­dard­ized test­ing, pay prob­lems, and the assess­ment of teach­ers and schools based on stu­dent test scores.

It sounds like things are going down a bit. It’s a bit wor­ry­ing. We in Europe are also striv­ing for more phi­los­o­phy in edu­ca­tion. Many good ini­tia­tives appear here and there. What, then, do you see for us in the near future? What can we do?

In fact, phi­los­o­phy in the Unit­ed States has nev­er had it easy. It has nev­er been wide­ly rec­og­nized as part of our cul­tur­al her­itage. There have been many impor­tant US philoso­phers, but phi­los­o­phy has nev­er been a required course of study in sec­ondary edu­ca­tion in any state. So from the very begin­ning it was a dif­fi­cult task. The IAPC pro­gram devel­oped much faster in oth­er parts of the world than local­ly, in the US. In the near future, it is promis­ing that var­i­ous approach­es to doing phi­los­o­phy with chil­dren in schools have been devel­oped, in the Unit­ed States and around the world. Peo­ple no longer think that the IAPC approach is the only good approach—in fact, many are quite crit­i­cal of it. Per­haps Ann and Mat thought about their work in this way. Today those of us work­ing at the IAPC believe our approach is good and well-researched, but we nev­er thought it was the only way to do phi­los­o­phy with chil­dren. A new P4C pro­gram at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas A&M, and a new mas­ters pro­gram in P4C at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton are good signs that the move­ment is grow­ing again in the US. And the orga­ni­za­tion PLATO: Phi­los­o­phy Learn­ing and Teach­ing Orga­ni­za­tion in the Unit­ed States acts as a net­work, focus­ing on dif­fer­ent approach­es and orga­niz­ing con­fer­ences. Their activ­i­ties are char­ac­ter­ized by a spir­it of coop­er­a­tion and shar­ing, where peo­ple learn from each oth­er. This seems to be very promis­ing.

Dur­ing con­ver­sa­tions with oth­er par­tic­i­pants of SOPHIA, I heard an inter­est­ing remark that, for exam­ple in the UK, the most inter­est­ing and cre­ative ideas most often come from out­side the main SAPERE orga­ni­za­tion, which con­tin­ues Lip­man’s work. Some­thing like this often hap­pens to estab­lished tra­di­tions, when rou­tine begins to enter into the life of cer­tain ideas.

I agree. But I would like to add some­thing here. Per­son­al­ly, I think that there is a con­nec­tion between creativity—the need to rethink cer­tain things—and a return to one’s roots. When I attend con­fer­ences such as this (SOPHIA) or even big­ger ones (ICPIC), peo­ple present their inno­v­a­tive ideas, and I see that many of them have already been devel­oped by oth­ers over the past 40 years. That’s ok, of course, but this move­ment will be stronger, the more we are will­ing and able to col­lab­o­rate across approach­es and loca­tions. Study­ing what’s been done in the past is part of the work of every aca­d­e­m­ic and tech­ni­cal dis­ci­pline. We can’t be afraid that doing a prop­er review of pub­lished research lit­er­a­ture on a top­ic of inter­est to us will some­how lim­it our cre­ativ­i­ty or our abil­i­ty to make an orig­i­nal con­tri­bu­tion to the top­ic. The oppo­site is true, in fact. This is why I’m so excit­ed about the new oppor­tu­ni­ty to share research pub­li­ca­tions in P4C in the PhilPapers.org data­base. It’s also why I’m spend­ing so much of my own research time look­ing into the his­to­ry of the move­ment. I think that hard­ly any­one reads Lip­man’s work today, let alone Sharp’s, or even that of Gareth Matthews. It is not that they must do so, but I believe it would be instructive—and cor­rec­tive against some of the mis­ap­pre­hen­sions of those ear­li­er scholar’s ideas that I fre­quent­ly come across.

For this rea­son, I enjoyed the “Dia­logu­ing Democ­ra­cy” Sym­po­sium held in con­junc­tion with the SOPHIA con­fer­ence, where I’ve had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk to you, Cather­ine McCall and Joe Oyler, who are respectable elders in our com­mu­ni­ty. Meet­ing with your knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence. When we reach for the roots, we can see if the prob­lems we can deal with have not been resolved before. Why com­mit mis­takes that have already been made and have been learned from? When there are no elders among us and we do not go back to the past, to tra­di­tion, to learn, we lose a lot.

There is a tra­di­tion and there are new gen­er­a­tions. There are many inter­est­ing lessons in the past that maybe begin­ners are not aware of and that is why I would like to make them more acces­si­ble through my work. As I’ve writ­ten about with Jen Glaser, a tra­di­tion only remains vibrant, in good order, if it gets recon­struct­ed through the new needs and inter­ests of the next gen­er­a­tion. But that can only hap­pen if the next gen­er­a­tion sees that the tra­di­tion can still give mean­ing to their work and their lives.

Please, tell us where we can learn more about the IAPC’s work. About what you are doing now. You men­tioned ear­li­er dur­ing the con­fer­ence about your annu­al work­shops.

Every year dur­ing the first week of August, a sum­mer sem­i­nar takes place in Mend­ham, New Jer­sey. A ver­sion of this sem­i­nar has been hap­pen­ing since the very begin­ning of the IAPC in the ear­ly 1970s, and it has run con­tin­u­ous­ly at Mend­ham since 1985. Dur­ing the sem­i­nar we intro­duce the par­tic­i­pants to the IAPC approach to phi­los­o­phy for chil­dren, using the Lip­man / Sharp mate­ri­als and meth­ods. It is an intense, res­i­den­tial course with an inter­na­tion­al char­ac­ter. We live and phi­los­o­phize and eat and hike togeth­er for eight days, so in effect we cre­ate an inten­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty. It’s some­thing I look for­ward to every year. We also have two or three vis­it­ing schol­ars come to study with us at Mont­clair every year for a few weeks or months, or even for the entire aca­d­e­m­ic year. And of course, each of us still con­ducts our own research.

You also men­tioned some­thing about an inter­net library …

Yes. This idea arose from a cer­tain need. Due to my posi­tion in IAPC, I receive hun­dreds of emails with ques­tions like: Do you know some­one who pub­lished a work on P4C in a pri­ma­ry school relat­ed to math­e­mat­ics or lit­er­a­ture? I have cre­at­ed the­mat­ic bib­li­ogra­phies over the years but when PhillPapers.org was found­ed I thought it would be the ide­al venue for shar­ing research in P4C. I wrote to them and after about two years of nego­ti­a­tions they agreed on an addi­tion­al cat­e­go­ry of Philosoh­py for Chil­dren with a num­ber of sub­cat­e­gories, each edit­ed by an expert in that sub-field. This data­base now con­tains pub­li­ca­tions on var­i­ous approach­es to phi­los­o­phiz­ing with chil­dren, as well as the phi­los­o­phy of child­hood and edu­ca­tion.

Great. What are the con­di­tions for adding works to this col­lec­tion? How is the con­tent of this work mon­i­tored?

It must be a peer-reviewed, aca­d­e­m­ic work such as a jour­nal arti­cle, book chap­ter or book, rather than piece of cur­ricu­lum. If you own the copy­right, you can upload the full text by your­self to the plat­form; oth­er­wise, you can pro­vide a link to where the work is pub­lished. You should pro­vide the abstract and key words, and you can nom­i­nate each work for up to three the­mat­ic cat­e­gories in the PhilPa­pers tax­on­o­my.

June 2, 2019, Gal­way, Ire­land


Maughn Rollins GregoryMaughn Rollins Gre­go­ry is pro­fes­sor of edu­ca­tion­al foun­da­tions at Mont­clair State Uni­ver­si­ty (USA), where he replaced Matthew Lip­man as direc­tor of IAPC (Insti­tute of Progress of Phi­los­o­phy for Chil­dren) in 2001. He pub­lish­es and teach­es in the field of phi­los­o­phy of edu­ca­tion, chil­dren’s phi­los­o­phy, prag­ma­tism, gen­der and edu­ca­tion, Socrat­ic ped­a­gogy and con­tem­pla­tive ped­a­gogy. He is a co-edi­tor of the Rout­ledge Inter­na­tion­al Hand­book of Phi­los­o­phy for Chil­dren (2018) and has edit­ed a num­ber of spe­cial­ist jour­nal issues devot­ed to phi­los­o­phy for chil­dren. He is cur­rent­ly work­ing as the inau­gur­al research coor­di­na­tor at ICPIC (The Inter­na­tion­al Coun­cil of Philo­soph­i­cal Inquiry with Chil­dren)

Łukasz KrzywońŁukasz Krzy­woń - MA in phi­los­o­phy, grad­u­ate of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Sile­sia. Author of a text­book, Phi­los­o­phize with chil­dren, in Poland. His mas­ter the­sis, Hid­den Shine, appeared in print in 2005. He writes for a Pol­ish mag­a­zine Filo­zo­fuj!, where he presents con­ver­sa­tions on top­ics relat­ed to phi­los­o­phy with chil­dren. He has lived in Ire­land since 2004. For many years he has been work­ing there with chil­dren and young peo­ple, lead­ing, among oth­er things, philo­soph­i­cal inquiries in schools. A spe­cial­ist in phi­los­o­phy for chil­dren with The Phi­los­o­phy Foun­da­tion in Lon­don, he is also an active mem­ber of the Euro­pean asso­ci­a­tion SOPHIA, pro­mot­ing phi­los­o­phiz­ing with chil­dren in Ire­land and in Poland. He is cur­rent­ly work­ing as an envi­ron­men­tal edu­ca­tion offi­cer with Green-Schools Ire­land. He also runs his Lit­tle Rain­bow Acad­e­my Ire­land where he pro­motes arts and phi­los­o­phy as means for a hap­pi­er world.

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