Friday, October 23, 2015

Who are the philoSURFERS?

Several years ago, Kailua High School made a commitment to creating a more mindful and philosophical schooling experience. As a result, philosophy for children (p4c) Hawai‘i has become a widely used teaching practice on campus. p4c Hawai‘i is an approach to teaching that aims to create intellectually safe classroom communities where students learn to think for themselves by engaging in philosophical inquiries with their peers and teachers concerning the questions that matter most to them. Since 2007, the University of Hawai‘i’s Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education has provided KHS a Philosopher in Residence whose primary duty was to assist teachers in bringing p4c and philosophical inquiry into their classes. 

Over the years, an increasing number of k-12 teachers have become interested in bringing p4c Hawai‘i and the philosopher's pedagogy into their classrooms. However, like with many innovative initiatives in education, there was not enough resources to adequately support these teachers efforts. The philoSURFER project is an extension of the successful Philosopher in Residence initiative and places high school juniors and seniors in the role of a Philosopher in Residence (Kailua High School's mascot is the Surfrider and they are affectionately known as the Surfers, hence the philoSURFERS).

This year serves as the "pilot" and introduced three philoSURFERS (Maureen, Logan, and Cindy) to the Kailua High School k-12 Complex. Essentially, the course the students have enrolled at the high school in is an "internship" placing them in kindergarten through ninth grade classrooms four times a week. Their primary duty is to aid teachers in engaging students in meaningful philosophical activity. Thus, the philoSURFERS participate alongside the students and teachers as they explore the questions that matter most and then reflect with the teacher afterwards in order to help make philosophy become a reliable educational option. 

The purpose of this blog is to spread the philoSURFERS' innovative work with p4c and philosophy to a wider audience. Our posts will offer a “field report” of the philosophy for children Hawai‘i movement (, provide space to extend (and reflect upon) the philosophical inquiries students are having in classrooms, include ideas on how to bring philosophy into the k-12 classroom, and engage others in living an examined life.

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