Category Archives: Books

Something to Prove

Something to Prove: Philosophy, Community of Inquiry and Creative Thinking

Dr Andrea Monteath (The Life Writing Project, 2015)
Something to Prove is an introduction to philosophical thinking, and the practice of community of inquiry. Researched and written specifically for young adults and their teachers, it pokes an exploratory finger into the areas of metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, political ideology, equality, culture, freedom, and more. The book employs contemporary story-­telling techniques, informal language, and a fast-­paced variety of hypothetical scenarios, all within the familiar framework of a textbook. Something to Prove is an educational resource modelled on the Western Australian Certificate of Education’s
‘Philosophy and Ethics’ course, and is designed to support teachers and students interested in introductory philosophy concepts, philosophical community of inquiry practices, and creative problem-­solving techniques.

Something to Prove Flyer


Art is What You Make of It

Susan Wilks & Tony Healy,  Art is What You Make of It (Hawker-Brownlow, 2012)

The arts perform a vital role in the growth of human consciousness because they create sensory experiences and help the development of perception and aesthetic awareness. If we use the exploration of social and cultural contexts as the framework for developing visual arts curricula, then the nature of learning experiences will be much more diverse. Art Is What You Make of It assists teachers to engage their students, from the middle years and beyond, in the exploration of complex issues presented by artworks of both contemporary and past eras. The term “artworks” here encompasses all aspects of the fine arts, design and digital media. The scenarios and examples in the book examine the blurring of boundaries between art forms; art which is ephemeral or which exists only in photographic, technological or other forms of information storage; and art that seems to deliberately set out to upset or offend the viewing public. The scenarios and information in Art Is What You Make of It offer fruitful and stimulating starting points for inquiry, and assist in the development of a better understanding and appreciation of art’s diversity and complexity. The issues raised and the discussions that stem from this book can lead to exploration of issues that range across disciplines and year levels.

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Social Reconstruction Learning Jennifer Bleazby, Social Reconstruction Learning

Social Reconstruction Learning

Jennifer Bleazby, Social Reconstruction Learning

This volume argues that educational problems have their basis in an ideology of binary opposites often referred to as dualism, which is deeply embedded in all aspects of Western society and philosophy, and that it is partly because mainstream schooling incorporates dualism that it is unable to facilitate the thinking skills, dispositions and understandings necessary for autonomy, democratic citizenship and leading a meaningful life. Drawing on the philosophy of John Dewey, feminist pragmatism, Matthew Lipman’s Philosophy for Children program, and the service learning movement, Bleazby proposes an approach to schooling termed “social reconstruction learning,” in which students engage in philosophical inquiries with members of their community in order to reconstruct real social problems, arguing that this pedagogy can better facilitate independent thinking, imaginativeness, emotional intelligence, autonomy, and active citizenship.

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Cover art, Philosophy Park

Philosophy Park: A beginner’s guide to great philosophers and their ideas

Philip Cam (ACER Press 2013)

Philosophy Park introduces readers in the upper primary years to influential ideas of some of the world’s most famous philosophers—both ancient and modern—through conversations between a cast of colourful characters. Children first learn about each philosopher, and then read a story that unpacks a key philosophical debate, before reflecting, analysing and discussing the ideas in class.

Some of questions explored in Philosophy Park:
• What is it for something to be good?
• Is happiness the most important thing in life?
• How do we know what is real?
• Where do ideas come from?
• How can you be sure that you exist?

To assist in this process, an accompanying Teacher Resource provides carefully constructed topic questions, activities and exercises that are designed to extend student thinking and guide classroom discussion and debate. Working in this way will help children to develop the art of Critical and Creative Thinking — a core requirement and ‘general capability’ in the Australian Curriculum.

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Cover art, Philosophical and Ethical Inquiry for Students in the Middle Years and Beyond

Philosophical and Ethical Inquiry for the Middle Years and Beyond

Sarah Davey Chesters, Liz Fynes-Clinton, Lynne Hinton, Rosie Scholl (ACSA, 2013)

This book seeks to broaden teachers’ understanding of stimuli for philosophical inquiry, and suggests a variety of easily accessible stimulus materials appropriate across disciplines. Students and teachers are able to unleash their ability to question, to satisfy their thirst for meaning and understanding, to explore possibilities with others and to test their own thinking within a supportive community. Engaging in philosophy sessions enables teachers and students to explore the curriculum and life beyond the schoolyard in depth, through learning to think in a critical, creative and caring way. This form of learning will assist them to understand and make sense of their lives.

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The Socratic Classroom: Reflective Thinking Through Collaborative Inquiry

The Socratic Classroom: Reflective Thinking through Collaborative Inquiry

Sarah Davey Chesters (Sense Publishers, 2012)

This book provides a framework for a collaborative inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning suitable not only for formal educational settings such as the school classroom but for all educational settings. For teachers, educationalists, philosophers and philosophers of education, The Socratic Classroom presents a theoretical as well as practical exploration of how philosophy may be adopted in education. The Socratic Classroom captures a variety of philosophical approaches to classroom practice that could be broadly described as Socratic in form. There is an exploration of three distinct approaches that make significant contributions to classroom practice: Matthew Lipman’s Community of Inquiry, Leonard Nelson’s Socratic Dialogue, and David Bohm’s Dialogue. All three models influence what is termed in this book as ‘Socratic pedagogy’. Socratic pedagogy is multi-dimensional and is underpinned by ‘generative, evaluative, and connective thinking’. These terms describe the dispositions inherent in thinking through philosophical inquiry. This book highlights how philosophy as inquiry can contribute to educational theory and practice, while also demonstrating how it can be an effective way to approach teaching and learning. Audience This publication is suited to educators, teacher educators, philosophers of education and philosophers in general. It has a theoretical and practical focus, making it truly interdisciplinary.

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Teaching Ethics in Schools

Philip Cam, ACER Press, 2012

Teaching Ethics in Schools provides a fresh approach to to moral education based on reflection and collaborative enquiry. It demonstrates how an ethics-based model can stimulate ethical enquiry, influence habits of mind  and encourage students to develop good moral judgement. The book draws on the history of philosophy in succinct terms and relates this to contemporary school contexts, while including an array of activities, exercises and discussion points as stimuli for teachers to adapt and apply across diverse subject areas, throughout all stages of school.

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Sophia’s Question & Teacher Resource Book

Philip Cam (Hale & Iremonger, 2011) Sophia’s Question is a philosophical novel that is a stimulus for thought on topics such as freedom, fairness, and friendship—topics which are supplemented by accessible introductions to intellectual tools such as open questions, good reasons, careful distinctions and proficient reasoning—all woven into the fabric of the novel to support deep and careful examination of the issues and ideas that arise. There is a separate Teacher Resource Bookthat helps teachers to develop an inquiring classroom community, in which students use questioning, justification, conceptual exploration and reasoning to explore these issues and ideas together.

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Discussions in Science

By Tim Sprod, Chair of the Association for Philosophy in Tasmanian Schools, past Chair of the Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Associations, and past Secretary of the International Council of Philosophical Inquiry with Children.
Aimed at science teachers of children ages 10-14, this book contains 18 stories that can be used to initiate a community of inquiry, and extensive support material for teachers in running that community. Issues raised include concepts central to science, the philosophy and methodologies of science, ethical puzzles surrounding scientific research, and links between the lives of students and scientific matters. Published by ACER. For further information, download the flyer.

Chill Out

Chill Out!

Written and produced in collaboration between the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, South Australia Department of Education and Children’s Services, Australian Institute of Criminology, Australian Broadcasting Commission and Office of Film and Literature Classification as a Garth Boomer Scholarship project.

Chill Out! is a multimedia resource which draws upon segments from the ‘Lift Off’ series to explore a range of social issues. It has been designed for students from P/K to Year 4. Within each unit, teachers can select from a range of options which they feel are a logical sequence of activities and requirements for their class or individual students. As a cross-curricula resource, it will enable teachers to extend and incorporate exploration of social skills into the curriculum areas of English, SOSE and HPE. Chill Out! consists of Teacher’s Guide, Video (DVD) anthology and online component (Topic 4).

(Australian Children’s Television Foundation)

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