Stephen Law: Can children think philosophically? | Butterflies in my head | Scoop.it

One notable example is the Buranda State School, a small Australian primary school near Brisbane, which in 1997 introduced into all its classes a philosophy program along much the lines outlined above.

A report on the success of the program says,

[f]or the last four years, students at Buranda have achieved outstanding academic results. This had not been the case prior to the teaching of Philosophy. In the systemic Year 3/5/7 tests, our students performed below the state mean in most areas in 1996. Following the introduction of Philosophy in 1997, the results of our students improved significantly and have been maintained or improved upon since that time.

There were substantial payoffs in terms of behaviour too. The report indicates “significantly improved outcomes” occurred in the social behaviour of the students:

The respect for others and the increase in individual self esteem generated in the community of inquiry have permeated all aspects of school life. We now have few behaviour problems at our school. [T]hey are more willing to accept their own mistakes as a normal part of learning and they discuss problems as they occur... A visiting academic commented, ‘Your children don’t fight, they negotiate’…