Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Teaching Ethics through Philosophy for Children

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Education Studies

DESCRIPTION The National Curriculum framework stipulates that the methodology for the teaching of ethics in schools should be the Philosophy for Children (P4C) approach. It is through this approach as developed by Matthew Lipman that one can develop reflective and collaborative inquiry on topics as identified in the Learning Outcomes Framework. Within this approach, ethical issues are identified and discussed in ‘texts’ children encounter in their everyday environment, be it stories, the classroom, the school, family and community. The basic approach in P4C is the Community of Inquiry (CoI). The goal of this study-unit is to link P4C and CoI with the Teaching of Ethics. A Community of Inquiry approach encourages students to engage in the process of thinking together in order to discuss particular issues in a collaborative and reflective manner. This enables the pupils to discuss the moral issues identified by the curriculum in a safe and respectful environment and encourages a sense of inquiry through a search for deeper understanding, meaning, truth and values supported by reason.

Study-Unit Aims:

This study-unit aims to introduce teachers to the Philosophy for Children approach and to help them identify good strategies for using this approach in the teaching of ethics in schools. It introduces students to various texts by means of which they can help pupils attain the learning outcomes in ethics as specified in the Learning Outcomes Framework. It also aims to teach students how to create lesson plans around these texts, deliver lessons and create teaching resources specifically for this subject.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Describe the Philosophy for Children approach and the methodologies associated with it;
- Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the tradition of Philosophy particularly with regards to logic and ethics;
- Demonstrate an understanding of the Philosophy for Children tradition as developed by Matthew Lipman;
- Recognise the value of the classroom as a community of inquiry, particularly as developed by John Dewey;
- Make the connection between philosophy, critical thinking, reflective thinking and ethics;
- Demonstrate an understanding of the different forms philosophy for children takes, including approaches by writers within the tradition such as Karren Murris and Robert Fisher;
- Demonstrate an understanding of the approach to the teaching of ethics through philosophy for children mainly as developed in Australia, particularly through the works of Philip Cam.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Select and analyse stories and other forms of texts for their ethical content;
- Appraise the suitability of stories for various levels/ages within the local educational environment;
- Design teaching material and workbooks to teach the subject;
- Write lesson notes for the teaching of ethics;
- Engage in self-evaluation;
- Collect material that is relevant to the learning outcomes frame for Ethics and combine it with topics being followed in other subjects in class in order to promote a holistic approach to education particularly at the primary level of education;
- Facilitate a community of inquiry;
- Plan schemes of work, curricular material and teaching resources for the teaching of Ethics.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:
- Cam, Philip, 2012, Teaching Ethics in Schools, Camberwell, Vic.: Australian Council for Educational Research.
- Gregory, Maughn, 2008, Philosophy for Children: Practitioner Handbook, Montclair State University, NJ: Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children.
- Haynes, Joanna, 2008, Children as Philosophers, 2nd. ed., New York: Routledge.
- Worley, Peter and Tamar Levi, 2011, The If Machine: Philosophical Enquiry in the Classroom, London: Continuum.
- Worley, Peter and Tamar Levi, 2012, The If Odyssey, London: Continuum.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation SEM1 Yes 40%
Assignment SEM1 Yes 60%

LECTURER/S Joseph Giordmaina
Lucienne Zammit

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.