The winner of the Educational Book of the Year, the 2013 Education Resources Award, The Philosophy Shop, is an outstanding resource, which provides active engagement instead of passive receipt of information. It can be used in various subjects on all levels for development of thinking- and interaction skills and for development of reasoning and language skills.
This book is is a one-stop shop for all teachers who want to engage their children, improve interaction in class and encourage students to reflect and also to express their thoughts.
The philosophical exercises are constructed in a way that puts the student in a key role, while the teacher acts as a facilitator and a guide. It is important that the teachers refrains from revealing his or her own thinking as it is likely that the students then would repeat the teacher's view or create variations of it.
The book consists of a large number of exercises, which start with with narrative or a literary context in which the philosophical idea or problem is presented. The introduction can be a poem, an image, an activity, a short story, a thought experiment or a scenario. This “frame” contextualizes the problem and motivates the participants to solve the problem. Problem solving, thinking and reasoning begins with the -˜Start Question', which is linked to the frame. The start question is the “You are here”- arrow on a map: This central and explicit question is something the participants are trying to answer.
After the initial discussion the book offers Questions to Take you Further, which are carefully chosen to lead the participants deeper into the problem or the puzzle in such a way that they do not get lost. The Philosophy Shop also encourages participants to ask their own questions and seek answers to them in their discussion groups.
Teachers who have not conducted philosophical discussions in class are well supported and guided. There is a quick guide to running a Philosophical Enquiry and references to further reading.
Many of these activities and discussions work well as a warm up or as an extra activity in many subject areas.