The Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Associations is an umbrella organisation supporting the interests of its nine affiliated Associations. Through professional development and advocacy initiatives, F.A.P.S.A. seeks to enrich and expand philosophy education in primary and secondary schools in Australasia.

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11 August 2017

FAPSA receives Templeton Grant to fund Philosothon Project

The Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Associations (FAPSA) is delighted to announce that it has been awarded a substantial grant from the Templeton Religion Trust to fund a philosophy in schools project over the next three years.

The Philosothon project was conceived by Mr Matthew Wills, a teacher of philosophy from Hale school in Western Australia. A Philosothon is a competition that sees students engaging in a Community of Inquiry, seeking to investigate a complex ethical or philosophical problem in a collaborative manner. Unlike debates, the views of students are not necessarily pitted one against the other, and students may change their mind or refine their thinking on issues as the dialogue unfolds. In this way, Philosothons promote critical and creative thinking and collaboration skills.

The funded project has been awarded $281,656.00 AUD to further develop Philosothons in Australasia. It will grow existing Philosothons and support the establishment of new ones, particularly in remote schools and at schools catering for students from low socio-economic backgrounds. The success of the grant application has been “the culmination of a lot of hard work, patience and persistence by a lot of people”, said Mr Wills.

Sir John Templeton was a US-based Philanthropist who sought to encourage learning, and believed in the centrality of spiritual life. Wishing to fund research that assisted understanding the deepest and most perplexing questions facing humankind, he created the John Templeton Foundation in the late 1980s and later established affiliated organisations, such as The Templeton World Charity Foundation and the Templeton Religion Trust, which deal with non-US based projects predominantly in universities around the world.

Following the news of the successful application, the Chairperson of FAPSA, philosopher Dr Laura D’Olimpio, said, “This grant is a significant vote of confidence in the role philosophy can play in the lives of young people. It enables us to further encourage schools to teach philosophical thinking skills to students using a fun and effective pedagogy that will equip them with lifelong skills such as problem-solving, respectful communication and moral decision making”.

FAPSA is an umbrella organisation which seeks to enrich and expand philosophy education in primary and secondary schools in Australasia. It supports the interests of its nine affiliated Associations through professional development and advocacy initiatives and holds a biennial conference. The official journal is Journal of Philosophy in Schools ISSN 2204-2482.

Contact: For information, interviews or photo opportunities please contact the project co-ordinator Mr Matthew Wills on (e) matwills59@hotmail.com |  Ph: +61 (0)400 029 660 | Further details about Philosothons can be found on the FAPSA Website:  http://fapsa.org.au/