Philosophy has always grappled with the tension between the individual and the community. In the Philosophy for Children (P4C) movement led by Matthew Lipman, this tension remains. Lipman and his followers have always recommended a dialogical model for children to practice philosophy – flowing from the ancient tradition of the Greeks. The increasing desire in education for the development of 21st century skills has breathed new life into this ancient tradition. Lipman’s Community of Inquiry (COI) model promised to help children overcome the alienation of contemporary lifestyles through engaged dialogue and collaborative thinking. However, given the imperatives of a school system and the need for assessment, the challenge is for teachers to meaningfully assess philosophically rich discussions in an equitable (fair, valid, reliable) manner. Such traditional notions of rigor in assessment have hitherto not been central concerns in the P4C movement – hence the scarcity of literature on the subject of assessment of student discussions and dialogues. This contribution seeks to engage the growing P4C movement with the conversation on assessment.
One early realization during this journey was precisely the need to balance an assessment of the child as individual with the need to see the child as an integral part of a wider conversation. Exclusive focus on the individual was an unrealistic abstraction. Focus only on the group risked ignoring the distinctive contributions of individuals. Est modus in rebus. Some middle ground had to be found. This paper traces the development of an assessment approach that seeks this balance.
Kevin Ng Pek Kee, Raffles Girls' School, Singapore
Stream: Ethics; Religion; Philosophy
This paper is part of the ACERP2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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