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Questioning children

Cassidy, Claire (2012) Questioning children. Thinking: The Journal of Philosophy for Children, 20 (1 & 2). pp. 62-68. ISSN 0190-3330

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Abstract

This paper considers one key aspect of doing Philosophy with Children: the use of children's questions. In particular, the paper reflects upon the place and importance of children's questions in McCall's Community of Philosophical Inquiry (CoPI). Generally children are allowed, within Philosophy with Children practices to ask their own questions. In some approaches questions are set for the children to inquire into. These questions often come from teachers' manuals. What is different about McCall's CoPI is that the facilitator selects the questions for the inquiry and not the children. McCall's CoPI is practised by facilitators with a background in philosophy, who are therefore able to recognise the philosophical potential in children's own questions and who are also able to structure dialogue to stimulate and engender philosophical dialogue. In the article it is further suggested that not using children's questions to promote philosophical dialogue, poses some fundamental questions about how children are perceived and how this may impact upon their place and potential voices in society.