Community for Inquiry
P4C community of inquiry
In P4C (Philosophy for children) Community for Inquiry is the term used to refer to the approach that encourages children to come together and engage in both social and intellectual practice of thinking through collaborative and reflective approach to discussions. In this case, a community for Inquiry may be simply described as an approach through which children get to interact socially and engage in rational discussion within certain rules.
Through this approach, a sense of community is created, which is based on respect, cooperation and care. Moreover, it is aimed at helping children to gain deeper understanding, strive towards truth and values that are supported by reason. Here, it is well understood that some members of the group will have behaviors that runs against the desired ends of the community. For this reason, there are rules as well as a facilitator to oversee the process. This is therefore meant to ensure that there is constructive dialogue based on reason, which would in turn benefit the children by helping them be well able to listen to the views of others, think about such discussions and give counter arguments based on their understanding. In addition to developing their capacity to reason, children also get an opportunity to learn and develop their strengths as speakers, critics or moderators among others, all based on sound reasoning.
Community of thinking kids
The fact that the community is composed of young children presents one of biggest challenges. As noted, some of their behaviors are likely to go against the direction of this approach and its objectives. Because they are still children, they may be unable to control their emotions and feeling in response to the views and ideas of the other children, which may limit their ability to listen objectively and use reason in their response. Moreover, for children, their ability to focus and concentrate in such an environment may be significantly limited, which may hinder the program from realizing its main goals and objectives.
While it is true that the reasoning abilities of children are yet to develop sufficiently for them to participate constructively in such a community, it is also true that such a community enhances their ability to reason at such a young age, and influences their capacity to have a meaningful discussion or even conversation with others. From a young age therefore, the children get to learn how to listen to the views of others, think about what has been said and give their points of view. Despite the fact that there may be interruptions and other challenges, the main benefit is that children get to start learning early. This has a great advantage in that it teaches them to reason instead of rushing out, use reason to make their points and be in a position where they can reach meaningful conclusions with others in the society (parents, peers, friends etc). For this reason, it is false that a community of inquiry only sounds good in theory and cannot work in practice.
Is it possible for kids to form a community of thinkers?
© 2017 Patrick