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Community for Inquiry

Updated on December 2, 2017
Patrick Patrick profile image

Patrick has been working as a freelance writer for the past 3 years

Critical thinking

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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.

Thinking

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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?

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© 2017 Patrick

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    • Patrick Patrick profile image
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      Patrick 5 months ago from Nairobi

      You have some very important points there. You should honestly write a hub about this. I feel like you have so much to add

    • Jessie L Watson profile image

      Jessie Watson 5 months ago from Wenatchee Washington

      It's difficult to say from a developmental standpoint how well this would work for younger children. We know that they're quite plastic but often what mediates high level cognition is the pre-frontal cortex which is not yet fully developed until after adolescence. The biggest challenge I see is that there are some developmental imperatives that prompt children to learn by making mistakes. Their capacity for abstraction is mostly embodied in the world. At young ages, it's quite difficult for them to separate themselves from the rest of the world. Between the ages of 7-12, they're just starting to develop Theory of Mind.

      Humans are by nature social organisms. We are designed to think socially. So, yes, I believe it's totally possible but there are some obvious ethical concerns

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