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Picture a group of children gathered for a regular meeting to talk about their thoughts and concepts of the world. They follow a method of questioning inspired by the philosopher Socrates. You’ve just imagined a Philosophers’ Club. In a nutshell, the Socratic method of discourse is a way for children to seek and find insights and truths by their own lights. Socrates believed that we only discover what we truly think about something by engaging in constructive and empathetic discourse with others.


Philosophers' Clubs invariably help members nurture their ability in "the fourth R" the ability to reason in breathtakingly imaginative and constructive ways. As a result, children are more highly motivated to develop their abilities in the traditional three Rs.


In this form of creative and critical inquiry, children are required to back up their viewpoints with compelling evidence presented in well-structured arguments. Sloppy or lazy thinking is taboo. So every step of the way, the teacher or volunteer educator is helping a child develop reasoning and logical thinking skills. What's more, Philosophers' Club will enable members to ponder in a meaningful way those three questions of questions: Who am I? What am I capable of? Who can I become? As children develop clear and more thoughtful answers to these questions, they become better able throughout their lives to chart courses for realizing their loftier hopes and dreams.
 
Although we have helped to create more than 400 dialogues groups for adults where they deliberate together using what we called the Socratic method of inquiry, our main outreach is education, particularly among special populations at the margins of society. For this we use the same method of inquiry as an approach to educate autonomous thinkers imbued with an acute social awareness. This method of inquiry allows the participants to articulate and develop their own rational and imaginative thinking, to listen intensely and respectfully to others and to be open to perspectives different from their own. By using dialogue in schools, children learn to explore new horizons of knowledge and understanding while building on one another’s interests and talents. This model of education focuses on the individual as well as the community, where all parts are involved and are important for the intellectual and ethical growth of the students. As such, the student is not seen as an isolated individual but as a part of a larger group belonging to a specific community in a global context.
 

National Public Radio’s Richard Gonzales interviews Christopher Phillips about how and why he conducts Philosophers’ Club meetings !

What is the Socratic Method?Socratic_Method.html