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Philosophy with children : talking, thinking and learning together

Cassidy, Claire and Christie, Donald (2013) Philosophy with children : talking, thinking and learning together. Early Child Development and Care, 183 (8). pp. 1072-1083. ISSN 0300-4430

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Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence affords greater autonomy and flexibility to teachers and schools through advocating curriculum integration and experiential and active learning with greater emphasis on the processes of learning rather than detailed learning outcomes. It is in this context that the present article is grounded. This article explores children’s participation in Community of Philosophical Inquiry (CoPI) with a specific focus on collaborative dialogue. Evidence is drawn from pupils’ philosophical dialogues in classrooms in a range of primary school contexts. Although talk is vital for learning and development, not all talk is of equal educational value and there have been several attempts to classify different kinds of talk that emerge in classroom discussions. Through analysis of dialogues with children between the ages of 5 and 11, the article outlines key features of talk occurring in CoPI, highlighting aspects of meaningful talk through philosophy in the early stages of children’s schooling.